Simplifying Global Trade Management Systems

Recently, Industry Week ran a piece by Melissa Irmen of Integration Point, a company I covered not too long ago in this post, that offered 10 suggestions on how to make the implementation of a new Global Trade Management (GTM) system as painless as possible. Since some of the suggestions were quite good, I’m going to summarize them for you in this post.

  • Consider SaaS
    As discussed in my e-Sourcing Wiki Paper, SaaS has a slew of advantages that traditional behind-the-firewall systems do not. Plus, in addition to being a low-cost way of getting started, it’s an operating expense.
  • Buy Only What You Need
    Find an extensible system that can be upgraded later as your needs mature. (Another reason to look at SaaS.)
  • Check References
    Ask current users of the provider about usability and weaknesses. Also, I’d include references the GTM provider doesn’t provide if you know about them!
  • Inform Your Supply Chain Partners
    Not only can they help you acquire the right data for the system, but they might be able to collaborate with you through the system.
  • Get Buy-In From Upper Management
    GTM crosses organizational boundaries. Without a mandate from upper management, it might be hard to get other teams to buy in to the system.
  • Ensure Access to Transactional Information
    Make sure all affected parties can access the information they need when they need it.
  • Insure the Solution Contains E-Document Management
    This saves time, effort, and money and insures documents are not “lost” when they are needed.
  • Evaluate Adaptability
    New GTM systems will generate a number of “false positive” alerts on the black-and-white rules of global trade embedded in the system — but some of these will not apply to your company’s particular situation. Make sure that the system can not only accept authorized overrides but that the rules can be updated to handle these situations by a system administrator.
  • Determine How You Will Stay Up To Date
    If you go SaaS, the vendor will take care of updating not only the system, but the critical data that includes free trade agreement amendments, denied party list updates, etc. But if you go installed, you will either have to update this data yourself or subscribe to a service that does it for you.
  • Check for Governmental Connectivity
    If the relevant government body can accept electronic documents, the system should support it.