Today’s guest post is from Matt Gersper, founder and president of Global Data Mining, who will be hosting a webinar on Trade Optimization on Thursday, July 15, 2010 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, EDT.
New government regulations and ineffective supply chains are costing U.S. businesses millions of dollars in unnecessary fees and expenses, destroying company profits and eroding global competitiveness. Understanding risk factors associated with international business transactions can help companies estimate the financial impact these risks may have on their business and provide a framework for fixing the problems and restoring lost profits.
Draining the Supply Chain
For financial executives, the impact of supply chain risks, trade policies and regulations is a major concern. A recent study concluded international trade effectiveness and “hanging on” to the company’s hard-earned cash are top concerns for CFOs in 2010.
There are four main risk factors adding unnecessary costs to international transactions every day:
- Government regulations
- Delays in the supply chain
- Inadequate internal and external controls
- Inaccurate or obsolete information
A study by APQC and Global Data Mining revealed a typical U.S. bound international supply chain performs perfectly less than 10 percent of the time, internal controls for cross-border transactions are 200-times worse than a company’s accounting controls, and a McKinsey study estimates cross-border volume will be increasing seven-fold in the next 15 years. These conditions create chaos in many supply chains and cause delayed shipments while adding millions of dollars of unnecessary costs and creating unknown risks for companies.
Stop the Bleeding
Optimizing global trade effectiveness and improving supply chain speed can inject trillions of dollars into the national economy this decade. That translates into billions of dollars for states and millions of dollars annually for U.S. businesses.
It is time for business executives to quantify unnecessary trade costs, understand the significant financial opportunities available by optimizing global trade business processes, and take action to return these costs to the company’s bottom line.
According to an AberdeenGroup study of 233 enterprises, “A $1 billion company that imports a third of its goods can free between $10 million and $40 million in cash by better controlling its basic global trade processes“. The specific areas recommended for improvement are: trade agreement management, sourcing opportunities, foreign trade zone utilization, and supply chain finance strategies.
Independent analysis by Global Data Mining of more than $178 billion in U.S. imports has consistently supported the conclusions reached by the AberdeenGroup. Applying the Aberdeen metrics to the $1.9 trillion in annual U.S. imports would create an annual cash infusion into U.S. businesses of between $58 and $232 billion. Imagine the impact this would have on U.S. jobs and in strengthening the economy. In comparison, the total funds for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 awarded in 2009 was only $183 billion. And only $54 billion was actually paid out.
The new Importer Security Filing regulation, commonly referred to as 10+2, gives the U.S. government additional powers to confiscate a company’s cash . Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) recent publication, “Trade Strategy for Fiscal Years 2009-2013,” should be a wakeup call for every CFO. Astonishingly, the CBP report lists “Enforce U.S. Trade Laws and Collect Accurate Revenue” as its number two strategic goal ahead of “Advance National and Economic Security.”
In Q3-10, CBP will begin to issue fines for non-compliance and there will likely be more frequent holds on shipments for non-compliance. An important study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimates the ISF regulation will create a permanent 2.8 day delay in supply chain speed. If the entire nation suffers the 2.8 day delay, it would be the equivalent of a $27 billion to $43 billion tax on U.S businesses, using the Purdue University Study cost model for supply chain delays.
“To put the cost in perspective, it is virtually the equivalent of doubling the import tariffs that manufacturers now pay to bring products and components into the United States“.
John Engler, president National Association of Manufacturers
To make matters worse, a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that supply chain disruptions destroy shareholder value and corporate profitability. The study showed the market is quick to punish companies that report supply chain disruptions. On average, affected companies’ share prices dropped nine percent below the benchmark group during the two-day announcement period.
Poor controls, government interference and regulations, supply chain disruptions and bad information negatively impact the bottom line. Companies cannot effectively compete on the global stage with outrageous supply chain costs, fines and market-based penalties of this magnitude. Financial executives must stop the money drain by identifying hidden and unnecessary costs and then take action to optimize business processes and return those costs to the company’s bottom-line.
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