Choice is valued by every business. Everyone wants to be able to choose between vendors and services. It just makes sense; there might be better options out there, and it can be tricky and dangerous. You just might fall into a trap.
Choice can also be a double-edged sword. It can be easy to make short-term decisions that seem to make sense but have long-term impact with unforeseen consequences.
There are many choices for implementing a trade software. Usually, you look at the dominant players offering their software solutions. They come with all the main functionalities and nuances that you need or may need or even may never need. This causes you to think, “What do I need right now?” “Will I need such a comprehensive software solution?” This is where the little voice from budgeting whispers, “We don’t need a complete solution. We just need a quick-fix. And, if we need more, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.” This is the first hurdle when it comes to using SAP Global Trade Services (GTS). Any SAP implementation is a big commitment, and GTS is the top of the line solution that requires sound understanding and commitment.
It can be very tempting to look for alternatives. There are many niche products in the global trade software market. Some of these products are great, and have great value for performing very specific functions. The problem is that none of them offer a comprehensive global trade solution, which leaves you scrambling to piece together a compatible system. Niche products can be great, but they don’t always scale up along with your business, and end up costing more to piecemeal other “quick-fixes” when that “bridge” does come sooner than you planned. Let’s take a quick look at why.
Reliable and Well-Constructed Software Pays Off
One of the big objections to employing any large comprehensive solution is the up-front cost. That’s understandable. Many businesses work with tight margins, making large purchases seem tough to justify.
How does that compare with the cost of employing niche or smaller-scale GTS programs? Many of these are very well-constructed and reliable. However, if you have problems, smaller software publishers won’t have the same level of support as larger ones. A software glitch can create a lot of problems, and the longer it takes to fix, the more widespread the problem becomes. The financial, legal, and reputational consequences grow as well. You can have corrupted data, and your shipping movement can be slowed down or halted.
It adds up to a loss of time and resources spent on fixes and system replacements—all while you’re bringing in less revenue. Between that and the potential fines and fees that can come with faulty license management, your cash flow is going in reverse. This doesn’t save you money. What does save money over time is a reliable, well-constructed solution implemented expertly, with a support system in case anything goes wrong.
The Need for Comprehensive GTS Solutions
It’s not just glitches that can hurt you. Even well-constructed small-scale solutions bring their own challenges, because they don’t take into account the totality of your goals.
Your business almost certainly has Enterprise Resource Planning software. It is important to the future of your industry that you tie your risk management to your enterprise planning, which means, ideally, your import/export software communicates with your ERP software.
If it doesn’t, you are relying on manually transmitting information, most likely through spreadsheets and manual processes. That greatly increases the risk of human error, which can have rippling effects on your profits. You expose yourself to fines, loss of license, and potentially legal liability.
The other option is to use middleware to communicate between ERP and import/export software. That’s another cost, and another bridge. Every bridge increases risk of corruption of data or information communication failure.
Another problem is that any updates to individual software components are, by definition, not system-wide. Two systems that communicated with each other might no longer be compatible. Any updates from any of your vendors could require an organizational reshuffling. Every time.
Therefore, with a comprehensive solution like SAP GTS, your sensitive trade data can be stored in one system of record and can be used throughout the ERP system without any modification. Changes are universal, and there are no communication gaps. There are no extra costs or risks, no middleware products, no downtime for upgrades, no manual intervention between systems, and no disparity of data across multiple software solutions.
SAP GTS Decreases Risk
Profits can’t be increased unless risk is decreased. Risk comes from ungoverned spaces. It comes from communication gaps. It comes from the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. It comes from data being siloed in different systems.
That’s why a comprehensive system works. Non-comprehensive software exposes you in several ways:
- More than one software requires
- Inter-communication between systems
- More gaps in your system leads to more risk and cost, i.e. intensive field mapping, integration and regression testing
- More layers of accountability, meaning more potential slips;
- Different users for different software functionalities
- Increased risk of: data entry error, miscommunication, process breakdown, ownership and responsibility
- Less system-wide automation,
- creating more human error;
- Disparity of Data
- Isolated Data unable to be utilized
- Redundancy of Data and work
- More people, more steps, more software, more gaps, more points of error equals more risk for your business.
You want your operations to be a straight line. Non-comprehensive solutions add a multitude of zig-zagging branches and dead ends.
The Virtue of Stability
Everyone likes the start-up. Everyone roots for the disruptor. We certainly do: New business pushes everyone to work harder and to innovate more. But there are problems with relying on vendors that don’t have a long track record of stability.
The biggest is that, by the very nature of the market, smaller companies are more likely to go out of business, either because they couldn’t deliver or the market was just too tough. That means there is no more support for your niche software. It means your stuck with a static software that stopped operating. It means having to change, yet again, with all those attendant costs.
That’s not the case with SAP. It will be here. They’ll keep upgrading GTS and innovating with the passion of a start-up. Rest assured that with the strength of the world’s leader in ERP software they will continue to support and develop their GTS solution.
SAP GTS Implementation by the Experts
SAP GTS is a big commitment. You don’t want to go into it lightly. But you also need to be able to use SAP GTS to its fullest potential.
That’s why it is so important to work with SAP GTS implementation experts who truly understand the software and know how to make it work best for your business. You want a partner who aligns your import/export needs with your overall business goals, and empowers you to run your system moving forward. GTS is your global trade Lamborgini. You don’t want to drive in first gear forever. Get an expert partner who can help you unlock the full potential of your investment. Learn and discover the all the possibilities of your new GTS system. And, with an experienced and creative partner you can even develop clean, streamlined, durable and reliable specific solutions for your company and industry.
The best GTS. The best implementation partners. The best total solution. If you want a healthier bottom line and long-term stability, there’s really no alternative.