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About the Author

Scott Byrnes
Vice President of Marketing
Amber Road


Scott Byrnes is Vice President of Marketing for Amber Road. He has spent the past 20 years in various sales and marketing roles with software companies and professional services firms. Prior to Amber Road, Scott held the position of Executive Vice President at The Walker Group, a strategic marketing consultancy based in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Scott was Vice President of Marketing for HandySoft, a provider of BPM software. Scott spent four years at Vastera, a global trade management software and managed services provider. During his tenure with the company, Vastera completed a successful IPO. Prior to Vastera, Scott spent nearly five years at Manugistics, where he held a variety of leadership positions in both services and sales. He began his career with Andersen Consulting, now Accenture. Scott holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Richmond, where he graduated cum laude.

For more information, please visit www.amberroad.com.


Supply Chain Comment

By Scott Byrnes, Vice President of Marketing, Amber Road

September 19, 2013



Getting It Right: Key Pieces to Successful Global Trade Management

Survey of the Landscape and Issues Facing Supply Chain Professionals as they Manage Their Global Trade


Even as companies go global, supply chain challenges remain. Large, complex and sometimes unpredictable trading networks can adversely affect revenues and the ability to compete for new customers in new markets.

Byrnes Says:

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Truly successful global trade management depends on visibility and compliance.
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Recently Amber Road commissioned SCM World to conduct a survey of the landscape and issues facing supply chain professionals as they manage their global trade.

We were motivated to commission the research because of fundamental changes we saw in the global trade management market. First, over the past few years we have seen a more savvy buying community; supply chain professionals now appear to have a much deeper understanding of the nuances surrounding global trade. Second, we have also seen more senior-level executives getting involved in evaluations. Whereas five years ago we interacted with directors of trade compliance and logistics, we are seeing more VPs and SVPs of supply chain not only showing up in meetings, but driving GTM projects. Finally, buyers are taking a more strategic approach to global trade. Rather than automating a single function for a select geography—exports for the United States only, for example—companies are now interested in automating the end-to-end process of moving goods globally. That includes import management, export management, global transportation, foreign supplier management, free trade agreements, supply chain visibility, etc., and they want to automate GTM for every country they do business in around the world.

Of course, that is a major shift in a market and one that we wanted to validate through a third party. Is this a universal market shift, or are we only seeing a small segment of the market actively looking to make a buying decision?

Fortunately, SCM World’s research results bear out what we have been seeing in the market. Global trade is clearly a critical part of most companies’ business and supply chain strategies and is a key strategy for growing profits and business value.

Consider the demographics of the survey respondents:

 
  • Three-quarters  of  the  companies  surveyed  conduct  trade  across  more  than  10  countries,  with  almost  half (48 percent) trading across more than 50 countries.
  • Over 41 percent of the companies surveyed import more than half of their products from international suppliers.
  • More than a third (35 percent) of the companies realize more than half their sales from customers located in foreign markets. Further, over the next five years, two-thirds expect their total share of international sales to grow by more than 10 percent, while more than a quarter (28 percent) expect growth of more than 25  percent.

Survey respondents were concerned about a number of global trade issues:


 
  • Almost half (48 percent) of survey respondents say that an inability to control global transportation costs and the lack of visibility of global shipments moving through the global supply chain are among their top five business challenges.
  • For 80 percent, shipments delayed by customs or customs problems materially impact customer service. Nearly 90 percent say unpredictable lead times on international shipments materially impacts customer service.
  • Over half (58) percent say they experience significant costs due to their  inability  to  take  advantage  of  preferential  duty  programs  or  free  trade agreements and corrected will only increase.
  • Global trade regulations are a top concern of 57 percent of respondents.

Luckily, there are ways to address these issues, which fall under two broad categories: visibility and compliance. Centralizing and automating operations play a key role in improving both visibility and compliance. With these tools and tactics, a company can identify problems before they occur and address them in real time; mitigate risk; improve operational speed and accuracy; lower costs; improve customer service; lower inventory levels; shorten cycle times; develop more accurate lead times; and decrease transportation costs.

Specifically, the right visibility program can enable you to:

 
  • Track goods as they move through a global supply chain
  • Collaborate with suppliers in a consistent and timely manner
  • Manage international transportation costs, which are typically three to five times higher than a domestic move
  • Decrease supply chain constraints
  • Increase lead time predictability of international shipments

In addition, companies face persistent and costly problems complying with the dynamic, country-specific trade regulations. Not only can noncompliance be costly, with fines and bottlenecks at customs, it can also damage your brand’s reputation, not to mention potentially expose you to jail time or revoked trading privileges. Noncompliance also constrains strategy.

Some specific ways companies can improve their bottom line by developing and using a compliance program that includes accurate, real-time access to complete trade information:  


 
  • Reduce problems and delays with customs
  • Take advantage of preferential duty programs and free trade agreements
  • Comply with global trade regulations



Final Thoughts


What did survey results show? Truly successful global trade management depends on visibility and compliance. Companies not only need to automate their systems and manage their operations in a control tower system of some kind, they need accurate and up-to-date content to comply with the ever growing number of global trade rules and regulations.


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