An SAP GTS Module Overview with PI CEO Greta Villagran

Greta Villagran, CEO and Founder of Pinary, Inc. (PI) is one of the world’s leading experts on SAP GTS implementations, having overseen them in North America, the European Union, and throughout Asia. After steering through a planetful of trade rules and regulations, she has a surprisingly positive view of them: Regulations don’t have to be a burden. With the right partner, they can help create the framework for success. While they might seem an inhibiting factor, by forming a rational and universal model for import and export, regulations help businesses thrive. It just takes a partner to make them work for your specific organization.

Greta says that is what PI does. “At PI, we focus not only on trade compliance during GTS implementations, but on the entire process from beginning to end, while closing the loop on both import and export.”

That perspective and experience helps explain the firm’s 100% success rate over 16 years. It’s notable in an industry where compromised ERP implementations are the norm. It is difficult for many to understand the concept of 100% success in a field that overlaps several worlds: IT, Compliance, Global Trade (Export/Import). It is also daunting when it is understood that any undertaking has limitations that elude the 100% mark. So it is not a small claim for anyone to make, unless the great amount of effort, diligence, conscientiousness, experience, and innovation is fully recognized.

SAP GTS Module Overview

Global Trade and Your Business

There’s no doubt that global trade is complex. That’s where Greta’steam at PI comes in. To navigate all the compliance rules, trade regulations, and technical requirements, you need a range of experts. She says that having a team with multidisciplinary specialties is a must for GTS implementations, since GTS is not only about export/import, but involves all facets of business; “Knowledge and expertise in areas of logistics, finance, and trade compliance provides a comprehensive view. A successful GTS implementation is a synergy between these areas.”

It is easy to picture the work that these teams of experts have to do; one can quickly summon up the image of enormous books of regulations that can practically build a bridge across the oceans they govern. For an import/export business, that can be intimidating, since none of these rules were written with your specific business in mind. This is another reason why clients trust PI with the details of their global businesses: The firm specializes in customizing SAP systems for each organization’s unique needs. As Greta explains:

“We understand the client’s business, and the process is tailor-made for every client regardless of the industry or country. Not only every industry, but each business within the same industry has its uniqueness and we try to get to the bottom of that.

“The regulations may be the same, but even a small variation can make a difference, dictating which regulations apply and which do not. We want to know all our clients and the nuances of their businesses so that we can give them the end-product that their users would want.”

This is important, because while there is a lot that a business might not know about GTS, there is often just as much that they are not aware of that they don’t know.

Global Trade Knowns and Unknowns

When you’re running day-to-day operations, it can be very hard to get out of the routine, or examine anything beyond what needs to get done immediately. That’s understandable. Margins are tight, and it seems like fires need to be put out everywhere. That can be a risk, though. As Greta describes it, “Many companies frequently miss looking at their business requirements from a global point of view, as they work in silos.”

What are some of the risks of working in a silo? When it comes to SAP GTS implementation, there are several:

  • Risk of violating regulations;
  • Risk of missing reporting requirements;
  • Wasted time and capital from wasteful procedures;
  • Redundancy (companies often reinvent functionality that already exists); and
  • Not using software to its fullest potential.

Greta talked about how an outside company like PI can help.

“Having a non-partial view from the outside is a big benefit for companies. PI has experience across many industries and a multitude of countries. That global experience and knowledge helps all our clients. Sometimes minute but crucial details can be missed, so having someone from the outside can help.”

When it comes to SAP GTS implementation, an implementation partner like PI turns unknowns into knowns, and pitfalls into opportunities. One of biggest opportunities comes through automation.

Risk Mitigation Through Automation

It is fairly easy to see the primary benefits of automating processes that had to be done by hand in clunky spreadsheets and disseminated across the globe. These benefits include:

  • Streamlining business processes and classifications;
  • Managing Denied Party screenings;
  • Better communication with customers, vendors, agencies, and authorities;
  • Reduced risk of violations
  • Managing records/transactions via Audit;
  • One global system of record.

What these all come down to is the elimination of human error. But that doesn’t always make people comfortable. There are many who resist turning over process to software for a variety of reasons. In our interview, Gretalisted some of the main fears.

  • Fear of giving up control;
  • Fear of change;
  • Lack of knowledge and trust in the software; and
  • Lack of knowledge and trust in their partner.

What it comes down to, essentially, is the fear of the unknown. We know that global trade regulations can shift quickly and that circumstances can change. Can your software change with you? Can your implementation partner make the system flexible, adaptable, and amenable? Or will you be left behind. Greta told us how PI’s SAP GTS implementation helps businesses breathe easier.

“We plan for the ever-changing regulations and create a flexible system that can adapt to the changes. Knowledge transfer—explaining the design of implementation so that clients are prepared when the change comes. Lastly, we are always available for all our clients 24/7 globally.”

PI sets you up for success, and PI is there if you need them. That’s how they turn the thickets of regulation into action.

Turning Regulations into Action

We get that regulations can seem like a burden, and they often feel like it. But without them, global trade would be the Wild West, anarchic and laden with “unofficial costs”. The trick is to use software and intelligent enterprise processes to use those regulations to your benefit.

As Greta tells us, SAP GTS software is the best way to make this happen. “When implemented correctly, it is comprehensive, adaptable, and flexible. It improves efficiency. It eliminates risks, errors, and tiresome, repetitive, manual processes. It liberates the compliance team to focus on critical issues and not the mundane daily items.”

Reducing the burden of the mundane is what any team and every business needs to thrive. Partners that have expertise in every relevant field, concern for your business, and the knowledge of how to make automation work for you opens the door to a higher ROI.

PI’s CEO has seen why implementations work, and why they don’t. She knows what it takes to be successful in a challenging field.

“PI is pro-client, honest, forthright, and necessarily critical. We come with a science background and apply the same methodology, because of which we have had 100% successful go-lives. We listen to our clients’ needs from the executive level to an end user. Our mission statement is to change the IT consulting field of limited, mediocre, and sub-par delivery expectations to PI’s 100% successful implementation and client satisfaction record.”.

Pinary Inc. has a perfect 20-year record of SAP implementation successes. If you’re assessing which global trade software or which GTS functionalities are right for your organization, we’d like to be part of your success story too. Contact us today to see how we can help meet your global trade and compliance goals.


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