3. Automated links. Links enable electronic communication among SCPs as well as between SCPs and government agencies (such as Customs and the Census Bureau), brokers, carriers, banks, freight forwarders and so on. Automated links facilitate communication and allow validation of all business processes.
4. Shared information. Sharing product databases, participant profiles and templates — augmented by simplified data entry and collection procedures — reduces data redundancy and increases the integrity of the information.
5. Global visibility module. This tool is the most important of all, giving users the ability to predict supply chain bottlenecks and solve them before unwanted delays, which often translate to increased costs, occur.
The Overall Solution
An automated solution brings together not only compliance and execution but also helps the importer or exporter tighten all other supply chain links. At the same time, the visibility of the Web adds clarity in today's increasingly fast-paced trade environment.
An automated solution's method of delivery is less important. However, owning the GTM system offers better integration and automation capabilities. It also is less costly over the long run, especially when the volume of transactions a company performs is great. On the other hand, ASP and SaaS solutions offer lower start-up costs and eliminate everyday system support issues such as backup and server hardware maintenance. These offerings can be a source of concern should the vendor go out of business, however, as the question of what your company will do without access to a system that's become a core component of your company, not to mention the repository of all your data, becomes primary.
There is no substitute for a quality GTM system. It alone has the power to provide importers and exporters the competitive advantage they need in today's global marketplace, if the anatomy is right.
About the Author: Leon Turetsky, CEO of QuestaWeb, Inc., (www.questaweb.com ) possesses extensive executive, product management and data processing expertise. He has designed and implemented automated systems for major corporations across multiple verticals including transportation, banking and brokerage.