Using Descartes’ Import and Export Data to Help U.S. Companies Expand Globally

Good data and strong analytics can galvanize companies into action, and Descartes Datamyne is a unique tool that provides access to micro level details, such as the company name of international buyers or importers. This is a huge advantage to our clients, and it’s truly an evolutionary step to be able to provide this level of global market data
- Heather Andrea Ranck, International Trade Specialist, Office Director and Global Rural Team Leader, U.S. Commercial Service 

To better prepare U.S. exporters to succeed in international markets, the U.S. Commercial Service (CS), the lead trade promotion agency of the U.S. government, and a business unit of the International Trade Administration (ITA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, is using the Descartes Datamyne™ global trade data solution to produce in-depth market research. By easily manipulating import and export trade data from over 50 countries down to transactional-level information related to foreign buyers/importers, U.S. CS trade professionals can show companies the international opportunities available to them in a very tangible and data-driven way.

The Challenge: Gain Greater Supply Chain Visibility

The Fargo-based office of the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) is a rural export assistance center focused on helping companies located in North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota be more successful with export opportunities. Keeping up with the growing demand to produce timely, high quality, actionable international market research on a client-by-client basis was becoming more challenging for the one-person CS North Dakota office and its rotating team of 2-3 interns who are crucial to research efforts.

Many companies seeking to export would rather see granular data than macroeconomic data to make business decisions, and most databases ITA had access to aggregated data on a state or national level, without the associated names of traders that makes the trade more “real” to others contemplating a market. To better prepare its clients for success, CS North Dakota wanted a cloud-based technology solution with access to searchable worldwide trade data that could be manipulated down to a more granular level to create more meaningful market research.

The Solution: Cloud-based, Automated Load Tracking

“Our mission is to be a premier resource and key partner for American companies competing globally,” explains Heather Andrea Ranck, International Trade Specialist, Office Director and Global Rural Team Leader, U.S. Commercial Service. “Research is a key catalyst to success, especially for rural companies who are further away from information clusters, and the service we can now provide using Descartes Datamyne puts businesses closer to advanced and innovative market research.”

To be effective, clients need more than just an ad hoc data dump. Reports need to present an informed analysis of accurate and up-to-date global trade information based the ability to take customizable deep dives into comprehensive data sets.

Using Descartes Datamyne, Ranck and her team of interns are focused on highly targeted export plans based on research activities such as prospecting for clients; discovering where and what clients are exporting (by city, region, state or zip code); analyzing top markets by HS code (e.g., top markets and top buyers in a country); getting company-level contact information for lists of buyers; recruiting for trade missions by finding exporter and importer names by HS code, keyword, region, etc.; and more.

With this type of enhanced research, clients have intelligence not only on the potential buyers for a product, but also on who those buyers are currently conducting business with for the same product. This provides tremendous insight in competitive analysis. “Having an awareness of key players actively trading in a market gives enormous insight into the underlying trends and opportunities to U.S. companies,” emphasizes Ranck.

In addition, the reports allow CS clients to evaluate international opportunities and partners from a distance and in advance of any travel. This lowers the risk of the lost time and dollars associated with, in one client’s words, “a wild goose chase.”

“Descartes Datamyne is an amazing tool. It helps us to help our clients see new opportunities and make them tangible,” says Ranck. “We have so many more success stories since implementing the solution—and we’re seeing more ‘repeat clients’ who return as their business evolves. This calls attention to the value of the research we provide, and to the type of partner we strive to be for companies looking to expand beyond our borders.”  

The Results

Faster Development of Export Plans

With the easy-to-use, intuitive Descartes Datamyne system, in a matter of weeks not months, CS can research global trade data from 50+ countries to produce actionable recommended growth plans that are tailored to a clients’ unique market requirements. 

More Accurate Market Insights

With import-export information aggregated from global customs authorities and trade ministries, CS reports offer granular (e.g., names of foreign buyers) and quantitative (e.g., who is exporting what from a given state, BOL-level detail) data that facilitates business outreach.

Scalable Best Practices

Using Descartes Datamyne, CS has honed its methodology to identify and evaluate international partners, craft market entry strategies and develop other export-related guidance to help more clients grow their businesses, create jobs, and, in turn, boost their local economies.

Greater Export Success

Export plans are timelier, more accurate, much more extensive, and better tailored to specific opportunities. With in-depth reports that identify detailed lists of buyers, competitors and potential partners, CS clients are better positioned to convert research into solid business.