Great journeys require a guide: Someone who knows the lay of the land, can steer through rough waters, and deal with unexpected obstacles—all while moving the voyage forward. The same is true in global trade. The enormous possibilities opened by global trade are matched only by the unprecedented logistical complexities it has created.
There is a technological solution to this complexity, but to get the most out of that solution requires very specific types of knowledge. Few businesses possess the wide view needed to implement SAP Global Trade Software (GTS) in a way that ensures success. As a result, many expensive implementations fall short of expectations, and fail to provide the proper value.
Having a partner with a comprehensive understanding of GTS capabilities and the ability to keep you compliant with all relevant rules and regulations is invaluable. It saves you time and money, and protects your reputation.
To be a successful SAP GTS configuration guide means combining the vast intricacies of global trade with the nuts and bolts of your unique business. Focusing solely on one or the other is how companies fall short. The best SAP GTS configuration guide will handle both, and make your journey a success.
What Your SAP GTS Configuration Guide Should Know
When you are in the day-to-day weeds of running your business, it can be hard to see the full picture of international trade. Although you have your finger on the pulse of your organization’s needs, navigating the constantly-shifting global regulatory environment requires special skills.
Understanding global trade helps reduce risks and operational costs while increasing efficiency in any (or all) of the following areas.
- Import/Export management
- Embargo screening
- SPL/DPL screening
- Customs management and procedures, including bonded warehouse requirements, self-filling practices, and printing trade documentation
- Risk management to stay current and in compliance with free trade agreements, foreign trade zones, and letters of credit
- Legal and license management
- Product classification and end-use
That list only hints at the complexity of moving goods from Point A to Point B (and to Points C, D, and E so that they can get to X,Y, and Z on time). To make this work, there is also the need to understand and implement constantly changing regulations across a complex network of regulating and governing bodies.
Some of these governing bodies include the US Department of Commerce and all Partnering Government Agencies, and US Customs. Any importer or exporter needs to follow guidelines like the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Schedule B, and ECCN designations on the Commerce Control List.
This is complex enough, and is made more complex by the need communicate effectively with customers in multiple countries—perhaps with multiple business units in each. To stay on top of it all, you need to know all the reporting agencies involved, and be able to configure your software to communicate the relevant information with business partners wherever you trade.
A Guide That Focuses on Your Business Operations
Imagine an explorer whose typical guide knows many things about a beautiful-but-treacherous landscape—except whether to lead the explorer into or out of it, or how navigate the pitfalls and dead ends. All their knowledge is essentially irrelevant. That’s what it is like if your SAP GTS configuration guide doesn’t fully understand your business. There won’t be a successful goal-oriented implementation.
The global trade world is expansive, is dangerous, is filled with risk, is dynamic. You need a guide who is not typical, ordinary, run-of-the-mill. You need a guide who has experience in multiple types industries, working with niche companies, analyzing specific and nuanced requirements, and a substantial track record of successful implementations. Your GTS implementation journey can be a dangerous trek through a wilderness fraught with risk, non-compliance, or missing requirements; you need a guide that can lead you out of that heart of darkness, and into the light. What is needed for a successful implementation? The first thing is an in-depth knowledge of your specific international trade needs, including a global perspective of your impacted import and export requirements. That’s followed by advanced insight into risk identification. Ask some questions like:
- Where are you vulnerable?
- What particular stops on your journey leave you open to regulatory oversight?
- Are you importing/exporting any controlled materials, and how does that change your requirements from one port to the next?
- Who are your suppliers, customers, partners,and anyone else involved in the transaction?
- Do you have or do business in multiple countries?
Answering these questions like these and more will help you understand the intricacies of your business. Only when you understand your business fully, can you configure your SAP GTS in the most efficient and profitable way.
A good guide will ask you questions that will make you think about your business in a new perspective. A good guide will add insight from past experiences. A good guide will configure your SAP GTS system with flexibility, adaptability, and forethought to accommodate change in the industry. There are many variables from the business side, the regulatory-compliance side, and the real world logistic side, such as dealing with the challenges of multiple vendors.. A good guide will be able to design an approach for you to understand all theses variables, to see the big picture, and to make logica and prudent decisions.. That’s because there will be a lot of variables, There are no out-of-the-box solutions for your unique business needs. Your SAP GTS has to be configured with your exact requirements in mind, with the knowledge that those requirements could change nearly instantly.
Your guide also needs to understand that there are other system environments in which your SAP GTS communicates with. The variables that define and control your process execution can be in constant flux, and your entire system will have to adjust to account for new variables. Being static, or being locked into a so-called out-of-the-box solution can leave you floundering, exposed to risk, running the processes manually, or worse- noncompliant.
To account for these variables, you’ll need an accurate assessment of roadblocks, obstacles, and checkpoints in your business—and a plan for overcoming them. That’s the only way to streamline operations, reduce risk, and increase efficiency.
An SAP GTS Configuration Guide That Understands Your Needs
The key to a successful SAP GTS configuration is knowing your unique business needs. Your guide must translate your business requirements into a system that can adapt to changing regulations, business requirements, and compliance needs. There are three primary factors that will help ensure long-term success.
- Understanding the benefits of automation for your specific business. Automating GTS helps you reduce the risk of human error by streamlining classifications, managing denied party screening, and communicating with customs. Your guide needs to know where to implement automation, and what kind of automation to implement.
- Planning Globally is essential. Taking in account of your company’s global footprint helps you devise strategies that are robust and adaptable to global changes. Mapping out your business from 30,000 feet allows you to see your company’s variables like global and domestic vendors and customers, import and export requirements, countries and authorities involved, and the compliance-risk inherent in your business.
- Leading you toward self-sufficiency. A good guide imparts knowledge. Your SAP GTS configuration guide should provide detailed documentation of the integration. There should be a written history of WHAT was done and WHY. Then, the training must be thorough and comprehensive; there should be no questions, and if there are, there should be answers. Your IT team, business team, and users should have the knowledge they need to continue a successful compliance program. Your people should feel confident in their system, should be adept in their roles, and should be in high morale.
The world might be less wild and more known than it was in previous eras of discovery, but it is far more complex. Having the right SAP GTS configuration guide lets you use technology to master that complexity and stay on the right side of regulations. Having a SAP GTS partner that understands your business and guides you for sustainable success is the only proven way to steer through rough waters.
Pinary, Inc. has over 20 years of experience in navigating technological and regulatory global trade waters. Expertise in SAP Global Trade Services have led to our 100% implementation success rate. We’re proud to be a US-based workforce, with the diversity of skills any organization needs to deliver success to the client. Contact us today.