Any enterprise starting an international trade initiative faces a business reality: There are a lot of rules and regulations that affect international trade. If your organization is expanding shipments abroad, you’ll need proper processes and controls to ensure international trade compliance. Getting those processes and controls right takes expertise and experience.
Many enterprises venturing into international trade build on the ERP foundation they’ve already established to run their business. Complementing an ERP system with global trade services (GTS) functionality is a very logical approach. And although you have ERP system expertise in-house, a successful GTS implementation requires both technical skills and knowledge to ensure compliance with relevant regulations. That includes the expertise of a licensed customs broker (LCB*). Unfortunately, few organizations have one on their staff.
International Trade Compliance: Some LCBs > Others
As part of your international trade initiative, you may have started working with a licensed customs broker to support your supply chain. Many companies provide these services. However, with respect to your GTS implementation, working with an external broker has limitations that may jeopardize your success. Consider that an external LCB:
- Doesn’t possess a detailed understanding of your international trade initiative;
- May not focus on your international trade compliance risk and streamlining as a primary focus;
- Isn’t available in-house to answer questions; and
- Most likely, lacks significant hands-on experience in implementing SAP GTS.
A better approach: Work with a GTS implementation team that includes an experienced LCB.
The Value of an LCB on Your GTS Implementation Team
An experienced LCB on a GTS implementation team brings both global trade compliance consulting experience and best practices knowledge to the project. In contrast to working with an outside LCB service, an LCB on the GTS implementation team invests the time to understand your unique international trade requirements in great detail and as a result:
- Is available in-house to answer questions and provide guidance without delay;
- Advises on import/export strategies you may not be aware of, saving you time, money, and extra steps—and increasing process efficiency;
- Anticipates, resolves, and/or mitigates project delays;
- Implements streamlined processes to help alleviate your team’s daily workload, like product classification using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and sanctioned party lists (SPL) screenings;
- Translates international trade compliance rules and regulations into system requirements, strengthening your compliance program and reducing the threat of fines, penalties, and sanctions that hurt revenue and reputation; and
- Identifies areas of risk such as potential causes of shipping delays, incorrect valuations (that lead to fines), and document inconsistencies; and recommends methods to avoid these problems.
An LCB on your GTS implementation team is involved in your project from start to finish, investing the time to get to know you, what you need, and what you are looking for, before implementing appropriate GTS functionality to support compliant trade processes, and helping you strengthen your company’s compliance with automation.
The Value of an Experienced GTS Implementation Team
A successful GTS implementation takes not only an LCB with global trade compliance consulting experience, but a team with years of experience focused on GTS implementations. Sure, some consultants claim implementation skills for every SAP module, but it’s impossible to specialize in everything.
An implementation team with a GTS focus has made project requirements gathering into a science. This systematic approach identifies variables and unknowns in advance, letting you avoid surprises and delays. Each implementation is unique, and you should get detailed documentation of the integration, functionality, and unique aspects for your project guide administrators and users once the GTS system is in place. You’ll get extensive hands-on testing before the final sign-off, to make sure it meets your specific international trade compliance needs.
*Not just any LCB. Make sure you work with LCBs specializing in global trade.