Universities who share research materials and ship samples need export compliance controls. However, compliance alone is not enough. In the latest Precision Report we look at integrated shipping solutions for universities and how they drive efficiencies across research chains and educational institutions.

If the imprisonment of John Reece Roth taught American universities anything it’s this: US authorities can and will prosecute academics who are careless with export compliance.

Trade compliance is increasingly important for universities and other centers of higher learning. Many American universities have connections with institutions abroad. These help them attract foreign academics as well as graduate students. These relationships are fruitful, but they are not without risk — particularly for academics working on export-controlled research. Sensitive research — and certainly anything with a military application — is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents. Universities must obtain a license from the government before they can allow foreign academics or students to work on any export-controlled projects.

Universities are in an analogous position in the European Union. EU laws regarding dual-use and arms export controls have expanded in recent years. As a result, they now cover a wide range of goods, technologies and activities, including certain areas of academic research. Universities and academics can unwittingly violate export controls by sending research materials to foreign peers or even by publishing their research on the internet.

Universities Have Similar Shipping Needs to Life Science Companies

Large research institutes share a number of parallels with life science companies. Their supply chains are very complex. The items they ship are often delicate and temperature-sensitive, they may have half-lives or living cells, and are frequently classified as hazardous. This makes the shipping, post dock visibility, and trade compliance all necessary for university shippers.

However, unlike commercial life science companies, universities traditionally do not have mature supply chains. In many cases, their compliance teams are small and they struggle trying to reconcile disparate data. It is fair to say that the supply chain at many educational institutions is an afterthought.

Furthermore, most universities have little to no control over their shipping spend. Nor do they have enforceable rules in place to govern shipping behavior. Scientists are not professional shippers and important compliance checks are often overlooked. Last, but not least, visibility across their transportation network is lacking.

Integrated Shipping Solutions for Universities: The Benefits

International collaboration between academics is increasing. However, we are also living at a time of heightened security concerns around sensitive technology and research. All of this means that a comprehensive trade compliance solution is crucial for universities. However, export compliance alone does not cover all of a university’s shipping requirements. While it is possible to use separate systems for export control and transportation execution, this adds complexity to the process and creates separate data silos. Universities, like any enterprise, require visibility across all their shipment activities. They also need to standardize shipping procedures, control costs, audit and reconcile their shipping invoices, and drive efficiencies across research chains and the institution as a whole. A comprehensive global trade and transportation solution should be campus-wide. It should also offer universities the following benefits:

  1. Integrated export compliance and transportation execution
  2. Campus-wide, standardized desktop shipping that is easy to use
  3. Improved research-chain visibility
  4. Automated trade documents and electronic customs reporting
  5. A global multi carrier network with ongoing compliance
  6. Tracking of inbound and outbound shipments, delivery exception alerts and proof of delivery
  7. The ability to control shipping costs, audit and reconcile carrier invoices and aggregate transportation costs across the institution
  8. Drive improved analysis and decision-making by maintaining a single source for all shipment transaction data
  9. Improve productivity in research-chain through efficiency gains

1. Integrate Export Compliance & Transportation Execution

Alternating between an export compliance system and carrier interfaces is time consuming and subject to keystroke errors. An integrated global trade compliance and transportation execution solution vets every shipment to ensure it can proceed. This includes denied party list screening for international research partners, determining end use and validating the country of destination. In addition, your solution should ensure that any special documentation or actions are included. This allows you to perform due diligence, as well as creates an electronic audit trail to ensure you have audit-ready records. Integrated shipping solutions for universities will ensure that all your shipments are compliant with export controls and enforce best practices across the institution.

2. Standardize Shipping Procedures

Manually switching between carriers looking for the best rates, transit times and service levels is a drain on resources. In addition, you must ensure that each parcel is compliant with that carrier’s specific requirements. Not doing so leads to delays and lost packages. This can be a distinct worry for universities — their parcels are often time-sensitive, require special handling or contain hazardous materials. Carriers also penalize you with additional costs for non-compliant packages or labels.

Furthermore, universities who send international shipments must comply with a variety of ever changing shipping requirements. This means you need knowledge of import tariffs, packaging specifications, customs rules and compliance regulations. Standardized procedures help universities mitigate these risks by allowing you to seamlessly switch between carriers, automating carrier compliant labeling, generating the appropriate shipping documents for global destinations and managing denied party screening — all while adhering to your specific shipping rules.

However, it is not enough to set standardized procedures. Simplifying the individual user experience is also crucial. A desktop shipping solution that provides an intuitive “walk-up” user interface ensures campus-wide adoption and allows you to successfully implement controls across your institution.

3. Improve Research Chain Visibility

In the United States export control laws regulate the release of goods and technologies that affect US national security or foreign policy interests. Similarly, EU regulations strictly control the movements of dual-use goods and a wide range of technologies. As colleges and universities enroll international students, send professors abroad to research or study, hire international faculty, and offer distance learning courses as well as develop advanced technologies on campus, compliance with export control laws is crucial.

Importantly, export control laws do not just affect the physical shipment of an article or technology abroad. Under “deemed export” regulations, an institution can export technology to a foreign country simply by disclosing sensitive information to foreign nationals. However, exceptions to these laws exist for fundamental research, so universities should be familiar with their obligations under the law.

Your shipping solution therefore must be robust in trade compliance and be able to handle the complex areas of the research chain. Universities, like life sciences companies, move an array of highly diverse contents such as living cells, common or experimental drugs and solvents, test specimens and data. As global trade becomes more and more controlled and restricted, universities must constantly improve their shipping processes and have greater visibility into the movements of goods across their research chains. This allows them to ensure compliance against an ocean of changing regulations.

4. Automate Trade Documents & Electronic Customs Reporting

A complete shipping solution should include automated documentation production and electronic customs reporting. Without the correct documentation your shipments will be delayed in customs, resulting in financial penalties or samples being destroyed. A best-in-class automated solution will ensure that all of the documents required to complete a shipment are prepared correctly and presented at the right time in the right format. This must include all international, regulatory and multilingual documentation, as well as the correct documents for shipping dangerous goods or hazardous materials.

5. Multi Carrier Integration and Compliance

Your campus-wide transportation solution should include access to a global multi carrier shipping network. Multi carrier shipping provides more shipping options, service levels and competitive rates. With a comprehensive multi carrier software solution, you can seamlessly switch between carriers while maintaining campus-wide shipping procedures. A flexible multi carrier strategy must offer you access to a network of global carriers with a wide range of capabilities, services and modes of transportation. The system should also allow you to integrate preferred carriers. Furthermore, your solution provider should ensure ongoing compliance to any carrier regulation changes.

6. Track Inbound and Outbound Shipments, Manage By Exception & Capture Proof of Delivery

When you send or receive biologics, hazardous goods or high value research materials, shipment visibility and tracking is crucial. You need visibility for shipments from pick-up to the final delivery. A central portal to track all shipments is also necessary — no matter how many different carrier services you use.

Delivery exception management allows you to harmonizing shipping statuses and provides visibility as your packages travel across the carrier network. It also alerts you to exceptions so that you can proactively resolve delays. This way you do not waste resources tracking shipments that are on target for on-time delivery. Finally, having a single location for proof of delivery data helps you to streamline invoicing and auditing, as well as supports compliance initiatives.

7. Control Costs, Streamline Invoice Auditing & Reconciliation

Many universities ship parcels on an ad hoc basis. As a result, they have a poor understanding of their parcel spend. There are a number of reasons for this. Different schools and administrative units may have their own procedures. In addition, the parcel shipping data is often fragmented across a number of carrier systems. Furthermore, many universities do not track intercampus shipping costs and simply pay carrier invoices as they arrive. This can result in excessively high charges.

In the US, and around much of the world, transportation costs are rising. The growth of e-commerce and driver shortages have squeezed capacity. At the same time, dimensional pricing and accessorial charges can significantly increase costs. Controlling parcel shipping costs is crucial.

Universities can also realize significant savings by leveraging freight bill auditing software.This will allow you to audit all of your transportation invoices, regardless of carrier, mode, geography, language or currency. This also gives you insight into your transportation operations and spending with in-depth reporting.

Better management of carrier charges, errors, and post-shipment fees is critical to driving greater negotiation power with the school’s preferred carriers. All of these improvements represents an enormous savings potential.

8. Drive Improved Decision-Making

A single source for all shipping data allows universities to access and analyze this business intelligence for strategic decision-making throughout the institution. Proper shipping, tracking and invoice data gives you a significant advantage. It provides insights into critical key performance indicators such as on time versus late deliveries and contract versus billed rates. Your solution needs to be able to consolidate and harmonize data from disparate sources. Your data should be easy to access without complex database queries and programming resources. It should also be easy to understand, visualize and filter.

9. Improve Reach-Chain Productivity Through Efficiency Gains

By adopting campus-wide, standardized procedures, administrative personnel will be able to allocate shipments to the correct grant, research group or college as needed. Instead of researchers and students shipping on an ad hoc basis, an easy to use desktop shipping system will ship parcels using the university’s rules for rates, transit times and service levels. In this way, the university can minimize shipping spend and avoid unnecessary charges. Greater costs savings are also realized by automatically auditing freight bills as well as visibility and insights across all shipment data. All inbound and outbound shipments can be easily traced from one portal, and the appropriate personnel alerts should problems arise in-transit.

An integrated export compliance and transportation solution ensures that every shipment meets export controls and international regulations. It also streamlines shipping, offers shipment visibility, manages shipping budgets, supports research-chain productivity and drives efficiencies across the institution. By integrating export compliance and transportation, the university gains control over all aspects of shipping, across every college, department, research group and administrative unit.

About Precision Software – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution

Precision Software, a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade management, transportation execution and multi carrier shipping software solutions from a single, integrated platform. Preeminent industry leaders in every region of the world rely on our global support centers to leverage thousands of carriers and manage millions of shipping transactions every day. The PRECISION solution’s open architecture allows for easy integration with leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and existing legacy solutions. An ISO-certified company, Precision Software assists companies around the world to minimize shipping costs, optimize first mile and last mile deliveries, avoid compliance delays and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic trading environments. Precision Software’s customers span multiple industries including banking and finance, life sciences, high technology, retail, industrial, automotive, higher education and public sector as well as logistics providers. For more information about Precision Software, visit www.precisionsoftware.com or email info@precisionsoftware.com.