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About the Author

J. Anthony Hardenburgh
Vice President, Global Trade Content
Amber Road

J. Anthony Hardenburgh brings over 12 years of international trade experience to Amber Road where he manages a global team of international trade professionals who monitor and maintain the company’s vast amount of trade compliance content. Prior to joining Amber Road, Anthony served as Vice President of Global Trade Content for JPMorgan Chase Vastera. During his six years with the company he managed a global team of trade professionals responsible for supporting both its software and managed services operations. Previously, Anthony served as a Director for From2, a global trade management company located in Miami, FL. Prior to From2, Anthony served as an International Trade Specialist for the US Department of Commerce. As an International Trade Specialist he was responsible for counseling small to medium size exporters on exporting their goods and services. Anthony has a Bachelor in International Business from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and an MBA from Marymount University. 

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Supply Chain Comment

By J. Anthony Hardenburgh, Vice President, Global Trade Content, Amber Road

October 24, 2013

Building a Strategic Export Program

Recommendations to Avoid Vulnerabilities like Unseen Costs or Export Violations

With increasing trade regulations and worldwide enforcement comes increasing costs and complexity. In today’s world, most shippers agree that developing an export management system is a strategic investment. Below are a few steps you can take to avoid vulnerabilities like unseen costs or export violations, which can result in hefty fines or even jail time. 

Hardenburgh Says:

Most shippers agree that developing an export management system is a strategic investment.
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  1. Create cross-functional, collaborative teams. Developing an integrated view of exporting and the global supply chain is a key part of a strategic export program. Exporting, logistics, legal and finance departments should share information regarding business processes and controls. Other business divisions like customer relationship management, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory management can be affected by exporting’s operations as well. Areas such as product classification, licensing, controlled technologies, sanctions, and government reporting all encounter business ramifications beyond a company’s export department. All relevant parties should be involved early and significantly in discussions about new products, new markets, or new acquisitions, as well as the potential costs for exporting violations.


  2. Develop and work a strategic plan. Each quarter and year, measure compliance results for internal operations and service providers, to show progress and commitment to your strategic plan.  A well-documented plan allows you to compare disruptions quickly in relation to the original plan.

  3. Audit operations. Trade compliance actions must be understood within a broader compliance framework. Use these updates to identify gaps in your program, and create a system with business process triggers that enable you to respond quickly and efficiently to potential problem events as they occur. With accurate planning and measurement, you’ll also know the severity of the impact of these events on customers and partners, and be able to address them on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, this information can be used for further business process improvement.

  4. Communicate with senior management. C-level executives should be aware of your strategic plan, as well as how it improves efficiency, mitigates risk, and increases revenue or decreases expenses for the company. If you don’t have export controls in place, highlight potential compliance risks and resultant penalties as well . Additionally, you should be able to show how your strategic plan fits in with the company’s overall strategic vision and goals.

  5. Monitor export compliance trends and export control reform announcements. U.S. Federal agencies such as the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and other agencies often release information regarding changes and clarifications regarding export law. Other international agencies and countries also have their own regulatory controls, including the World Trade Organization and the European Union. Non-governmental publications are also important resources for keeping up to date with the law.

  6. Give feedback to government agencies. Responding to issuance of a proposed rule or request for industry opinion is a great way to ensure that new laws won’t adversely affect your operations. Work with trade associations’ export committees to formulate commentary, or join industry working groups formed by government agencies.

  7. Prepare and manage reform changes. Once changes occur, companies must analyze how these changes affect their operations and then take action to ensure compliance with the law.

  8. Centralize operations. Trade compliance management centralized at the enterprise level provides visibility and control over everything related to the global movement of goods, allowing you to access one aggregated, real-time source of the end-to-end supply chain – a single source of truth. It also allows you to more easily share operational data and metrics across the enterprise, to move beyond tactical decision making to continuous improvement, and to act on information when changes, roadblocks or opportunities occur.

  9. Automate. Adding automation tools can help coordinate parties and synchronize efforts. Use global trade management tools to improve efficiency as well as manage complexity, lower costs, improve revenues, improve trade planning and mitigate risk.  Look for flexible systems and processes that meet your unique needs and that can take paper-based transactions and turn them into an electronic data flow.

Final Thoughts

Exporting on a global scale does not happen in a vacuum. By developing and utilizing a strategic export program, you’ll be able to not only avoid potential issues but also improve revenues and align exporting with your company’s overall vision.


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