We recently had a visit by Management Dynamics. The update was exciting, since it emphasized once again that being a real player in Supply Chain is about the network. Defacto, Supply Chains is a network of trading partners whose relationships and interactions are incredibly complex, dynamic and varied. Complexity rules!
Content Is King!
Nowhere does that complexity issue dominate more than in Global Trade Management (GTM). In order to solve users’ challenges, software providers develop software. Users provide the data. But in GTM the data comes from thousands of external sources, i.e. government, trade groups, etc.So the ‘solution has to be more.’
Not only are there a plethora of changing regs that end-users have to be aware of,but those changes often force them to change orders or other shipping documents, duties, etc.On a more strategic level, they may actually force them to change their physical supply chain network (as well as potential third parties who provide services in these locations).Even in large firms, there is no staff equipped with the breadth of knowledge necessary to internalize all this information and then make the changes to their forms, fees, etc.
Thus, Management Dynamics has a large team of full-time, in-country trade analysts around the globe, as well as an even larger team of people that are hunting, searching and inputting all that ever-changing trade regulation and related content from many sources. The trade analysts figure out the impact of these changes, many of which data or rules engines alone might misinterpret.Often these analysts need to consult experts in the field, in government, etc., to truly understand the impact of the new regulations.They can then tailor their feeds and forms, as well as inform their customers as to the impacts and time lines when regs take effect, etc.
So, serving up content is the way to go in this market!
Conquer Confusion – the Network Connection
The last two years have seen increased concerns from both shippers and customers on what is required at any given moment.Risks, imagined or real, are the catalyst to new regulations and trade agreements. Changes in the balance of trade, politics, attitudes, etc. that are happening across the globe all find their way into the Supply Chain!
Most companies are not equipped to deal with these. And large and small companies are now huge importers of as many goods as you can image. And government agencies are not ‘cross footing’ and providing a simple seamless set of compliance instructions. Consumer Protection Safety Act, The Lacey Act, Food Safety Act, FDA changes, ROHS/WEEE, EU market requirements, dynamically changing trade agreements, quota changes, industry-specific compliance requests and standards are all among the many challenges. And each connection between shippers and their customers builds yet another set of document and data requirements.
Building upon the experience of those who have walked through this forest before, the companies that connect with the network of existing protocols and knowledge, lower their risk of breaching standards or breaking the law.
Power to See
Often, though, companies don’t seem to be driven by these issues. Unpleasant events are what happen to someone else. They are driven, though, by the benefits of visibility and the power it brings to their operations.Making informed choices about what is actually happening in the Supply Chain, across the network of trading partners, can bring tangible cost savings to firms that can cycle time and thus inventory and other carrying costs, and avoid charge backs and late fees, because they are now armed with the knowledge of what happened in the chain.
Whether Risk avoidance or cost containment, it seems like a GTM solution is a must have in your Supply Chain portfolio!
To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.