Research, analytics and business trends centering on global supply chain management consistently point to the value of effective global trade planning and execution. High performing global supply chains typically exhibit many common traits, most notably:
Employ smart-sourcing practices and strategies. Taking into account total landed costs of goods, allowing for sourcing flexibility, and leveraging available trading bloc agreements and emerging market sources expands the options an importer has in terms of supply partners and the associated relationship of cost / quality / availability of goods. Leading supply chain practitioners consider global sourcing options as early as product design and specification stages to achieve the highest quality at the lowest landed cost, including selection of the most trade-advantageous countries of origin, managing transportation and trade-related costs in the import valuation of goods, and consideration of the applicability of strategic programs such as when and where goods are finished and first imported into the country of sale.
Utilize technology to optimize trade planning and execution. The prominence of global trade technology pacts in 2015 reinforces the critical role these technologies play in managing worldwide supply chain performance; the acquisition of ecVision by Amber Road, Descartes’ acquisitions of MK Data and CustomsInfo (the latter in 2014), and Infor’s purchase of GT Nexus all attest to the growing demand by global enterprises for technologies and tools that help achieve more seamless flows of goods among trading partners, across borders, and through import / export countries’ regulatory agencies. A study by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium says 52 percent of responding companies implemented trade software and tools in order to better control total landed costs while 67 percent of respondents employ global trade and logistics software and tools to improve the coordination of enterprise transportation, customer service and operations planning with enterprise trade management. Complying with U.S. and global trade agency security requirements was the most-cited reason (74 percent of respondents) for utilizing supply chain trade technologies to meet regulatory requirements and protect brand and company reputation.
Surpass the basics of regulatory compliance. Leading global supply chain owners understand the importance of protecting their right to easily move goods across international borders. High on the list of must-have proficiencies within a global supply chain trade strategy are accurate commodity HS classifications and product valuations, adherence to mandatory import / export security filing protocols, broad use of import / export administrative efficiency improvement programs available in most top tier trading countries, and optimal use of available preferential trade programs. In addition to preserving import and export rights, those companies who excel in meeting regulatory requirements capture parallel commercial value in reduced duties, lower regulatory agency / entry costs, and improved end-to-end transportation performance.
In the coming business quarters expect to see increased focus on trade security and more rigorous regulatory compliance by commercial trading partners as well as at global regulatory enforcement agencies. Strengthened strategies will include smart sourcing policies and practices, the use of needs-based technologies to improve strategic and tactical decision-making, and heightened adherence to regulatory demands that will together yield new benefits to all parties along the global supply chain.
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