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When it comes to import/export or trade compliance issues, supply management professionals often find themselves navigating choppy waters as they balance the job of moving products swiftly through the supply chain with the responsibility of helping keep the country secure.
Federal trade compliance regulations have increased dramatically over the past several years, prompting many companies to establish an import/export compliance department or appoint a compliance manager/director who reports to supply management, finance or legal. "Global trade is transforming from a back-office function to the focus area of strategic corporatewide initiatives," says Mark S. Baxa, director, Global Trade & Compliance, for Monsanto Company in St. Louis. He adds that it is important for executive leadership to decide exactly how global trade compliance fits into the company because it is "the steel thread that winds throughout the organization."
No matter how trade compliance is managed, experts say that steel thread will be closely woven into the operations of the supply management organization. "I can't think of one aspect of the supply chain process that doesn't have a compliance component to it. You can't separate compliance management from supply chain processes because so many compliance responsibilities are embedded in the international supply chain," explains Rennie Alston, chief operating officer, American River International Ltd. in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
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