In June of this year, iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson announced that it is planning to move some of its production away from the US to facilities in Australia, Brazil, India, and Thailand. This is a direct response to an increasingly hostile trade environment between the United States and the European Union. Specifically, the United States introduced tariffs on metals produced in the EU and elsewhere, which prompted tariffs in response. These retaliatory tariffs, combined with the increased cost of the metal, are expected to increase annual costs for Harley Davidson by between $90 million and $ 100 million, with each new bike costing the company an average of $2,200 more to produce.
This move is indicative of the times we live in, highlighting the very real effects of politically charged policy and rhetoric on companies that do business on a global scale. While Harley Davidson may claim that they will absorb many of these additional costs, the sheer scale of the increase will inevitably have an impact on their bottom line. The larger a business is, the more they stand to lose from the unexpected costs of a volatile business climate. This will lead an increasing number of local companies to consider moving production of their goods overseas.
If you’re considering shifting some parts of your business out of the States, it may feel like moving chess pieces across a board in the dark. This is because there are so many moving parts that need to be considered for operations to be successful. If you move production of a motorbike to India, for example, who will responsible for maintaining owner’s guides and other content related to that bike? Furthermore, if some production facilities are in a country that doesn’t speak English, who is will be responsible for translating all the relevant training materials on how to make the bike? Thankfully, there are strategic moves at your disposal that can tip the odds in your favor — one of the most impactful of which is a Trusted Global Content Partner.
Aligning Global Content across international borders
When a product is manufactured outside of the US, there are a content-related issues around that product that need to be carefully planned and optimized. For example, it’s important to determine which parties will be responsible for marketing that product, producing user guides, and managing the web content related to the product. Without sufficient planning, key elements may fall through the cracks and jeopardize the success of the product. And if control over such content is lost or fragmented, it can take a significant toll on your brand’s image and reputation in the public eye.
When your company takes on international employees who aren’t necessarily proficient in English, internal communications also need to be managed carefully. Poorly translated documentation or instructions can prove extremely costly if it’s not picked up and rectified quickly. This can be especially problematic when your US head office must keep track of changes that are no longer happening on your own shop floor — but rather thousands of miles away.
A Global Content Partner can guide you through the key decisions that need to be made around your content when moving operations into unfamiliar territory. In doing so, you’ll have a vital safeguard against unexpected issues arising from miscommunication, branding errors, or Global Content oversight. If you’re interested in learning more about how a Global Content Partner can help your company get more from its content, get in touch with a member of the Rubric team today.