Logistics for a Remote Company
Logistics and shipping devices across the world can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with customs regulations. For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to learn about these complex processes and how to manage them efficiently. As a Practice Manager at Doyensec, I was responsible for building processes from scratch and ensuring that our logistics operations ran smoothly.
Since 2018, I have had to navigate the intricate world of logistics and shipping, dealing with everything from international regulations to customs clearance. Along the way, I have learned valuable lessons and picked up essential skills that have helped me manage complex logistics operations with ease.
In this post, I will share my experiences and insights on managing shipping devices across the world, dealing with customs, and building efficient logistics processes. Whether you’re new to logistics or looking to improve your existing operations, my learnings and experiences will prove useful.
At Doyensec, when we hire a new employee, our HR specialist takes care of all the necessary paperwork, while I focus on logistics. This includes creating a welcome package and shipping all the necessary devices to the employee’s location. While onboarding employees from the United States and European Union is relatively easy, dealing with customs regulations in other countries can be quite challenging.
For instance, shipping devices from/to countries such as the UK (post Brexit), Turkey, or Argentina can be quite complicated. We need to be aware of the customs regulations in these countries to ensure that our devices are not bounced back or charged with exorbitant custom fees.
Navigating customs regulations in different countries can be a daunting task. Still, we’ve learned that conducting thorough research beforehand and ensuring that our devices comply with the necessary regulations can help avoid any unnecessary delays or fees. At Doyensec, we believe that providing our employees with the necessary tools and equipment to perform their job is essential, and we strive to make this process as seamless as possible, regardless of where the employee is located.
Testing Hardware Management
At Doyensec, dealing with testing hardware is a crucial aspect of our operations. We use a variety of testing equipment for our work. This means that we often have to navigate customs regulations, including the payment of customs fees, to ensure that our laptops, Yubikeys and mobile devices arrive on time.
To avoid delays in conducting security audits, we often choose to pay additional fees, including VAT and customs charges, to ensure that we receive hardware promptly. We understand that time is of the essence, and we prioritize meeting our clients’ needs, even if it means spending more money to ensure items required for testing are not held up at customs.
In addition to paying customs fees, we also make sure to keep all necessary documentation for each piece of hardware that we manage. This documentation helps us to speed up further processes and ensures that we can quickly identify and locate each and every piece of hardware when needed.
The hardware we most frequently deal with are laptops, though we also occasionally receive YubiKeys as well. Fortunately, YubiKeys generally do not cause any problems at customs (low market value), and we can usually receive them without any significant issues.
Over time, we’ve learned that different shipping companies have different approaches to customs regulations. To ensure that we can deliver quality service to our clients, we prefer to use companies that we know will treat us fairly and deliver hardware on time. We have almost always had a positive experience with DHL as our preferred shipping provider. DHL’s automated custom processes and documentation have been particularly helpful in ensuring smooth and efficient shipping of Doyensec’s hardware and documents across the world. DHL’s reliability and efficiency have been critical in allowing Doyensec to focus on its core business, which is finding bugs for our fantastic clients.
We have a preference for avoiding local post office services when it comes to shipping our hardware or documents. While local post office services may be slightly cheaper, they often come with more problems. Packages may get stuck somewhere during the delivery process, and it can be difficult to follow up with customer service to resolve the issue. This can lead to delayed deliveries, frustrated customers, and ultimately, a negative impact on the company’s reputation. Therefore, Doyensec opts for more reliable shipping options, even if they come with a slightly higher price tag.
2022 Holiday Gifts from Japan
At Doyensec, we believe in showing appreciation for our employees and their hard work. That’s why we decided to import some gifts from Japan to distribute among our team members. However, what we did not anticipate was the range of custom fees that we would encounter while shipping these gifts to different countries.
We shipped these gifts to 7 different countries, all through the same shipping company. However, we found that custom officers had different approaches even within the same country. This resulted in a range of custom fees, ranging from 0 to 45 euros, for each package.
The interesting part was that every package had the same invoice from the Japanese manufacturer attached, but the fees still differed significantly. It was challenging to understand why this was the case, and we still don’t have a clear answer.
Overall, our experience with importing gifts from Japan highlighted the importance of being prepared for unexpected customs fees and the unpredictability of customs regulations.
Managing devices and shipping packages to team members at a globally distributed company, even with a small team, can be quite challenging. Ensuring that packages are delivered promptly and to the correct location can be very difficult, especially with tight project deadlines.
Although it would be easier to manage devices if everyone worked from the same office, at Doyensec, we value remote work and the flexibility that it provides. That’s why we have invested in developing processes and protocols to ensure that our devices are managed efficiently and securely, despite the remote working environment.
While some may argue that these challenges are reason enough to abandon remote work and return to the office, we believe that the benefits of remote work far outweigh any challenges we may face. At Doyensec, remote work allows us to hire talented individuals from all the EU and US/Canada, offering a diverse and inclusive work environment. Remote work also allows for greater flexibility and work-life balance, which can result in happier and more productive employees.
In conclusion, while managing devices in a remote work environment can be challenging, we believe that the benefits of remote work make it worthwhile. At Doyensec, we have developed strategies to manage devices efficiently, and we continue to support remote work and its many benefits.