There is no doubt the world in which we do business is changing. Globalization is increasing both the opportunity for businesses and the complexity of commerce on a large stage. With that increased opportunity comes international competition and pressures to be bigger, better and faster on a global scale. Unfortunately, the trend toward world markets also introduces complicating factors for businesses such as the influence of volatile international politics and the growing threat of criminal activity and terrorism around the world. So how can your company continue to meet the demands of our ever-changing global economy and avoid compliance pitfalls?
Establish a compliance program
The first step in avoiding compliance pitfalls is to establish a compliance program. While compliance itself is the standard of enforcement, there is significant difference in the penalty between cases of “willful” non-compliance and “negligent” non-compliance. Due diligence in crafting and maintaining a trade compliance program will go a long way to ensure any missteps fall into the latter category. When crafting your program, we recommend paying particular attention to parcel shipments. Parcels, as opposed to production shipments, are often handled by less trained office staff or floor personnel increasing the risk of compliance mistakes, especially if checks are done manually.
Once you have established a trade compliance program, we recommend systematizing its processes. Reduce or eliminate manual compliance checks that require human diligence or regulatory interpretation. There are item and material codes that can be easily matched to regulation, license and corporate policy databases to automatically check compliance requirements throughout material movement – from shipment planning, to manifesting, to customs clearance.
Invest in the right technology
Putting those automated compliance checks in-line with standard logistical workflows becomes a far easier task when you have the right technology in place. Use trade compliance software to automate the process as domestic or export shipments are created. Similarly, a good transportation management software platform can automatically build and maintain an audit trail for all important shipping and compliance documentation associated with your operations. Electronic storage and retrieval of this information will be more efficient, and far more accurate, than rows of filing cabinets or manual data entry into a separate database. Lastly, consider syncing your transportation management and compliance data with other key business systems to provide better business intelligence for decision-making. If you have to be compliant, you might as well get something in return.
If you need help with your trade compliance program, we have some additional resources available to get you started. When you are ready to discuss your program with one of our expert consultants or explore the tools and technology we offer to implement a robust trade compliance system, feel free to contact us.
Call us today at (312) 239-1630 to schedule a demo today.