Republished from Amber Road’s Blog
As the global trade space begins to rev up for 2014, many industry leaders are looking ahead to the trends, challenges and strategies they see playing the biggest role in the year to come. In our Executive Outlook series, we asked some of Amber Road's top thought leaders about their perspective of the supply chain, compliance, and beyond, and we will post their answers every week. Our first interview is with Anthony Hardenburgh, Vice President of Global Trade Content at Amber Road.
What do you believe to be the key challenges facing your customers and their supply chains in the year ahead, and how are you working with them to meet those challenges?
An important change I see in 2014 is the increasing awareness organizations have for the role Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) play within their global supply chains. FTAs have been a driving force behind increased international trade during recent years. For many of these years, FTAs were the sole concern of trade compliance specialists, but I have been seeing a shift recently with more supply chain executives focused on FTAs. While company executives are concerned with resulting cost savings and improved sourcing decisions, challenges exists in effectively administering an FTA program. These challenges include the collection of FTA information, maintenance of regulatory requirements and the manually intensive nature of FTA programs. Companies that master their FTA programs directly impact supply chain performance with reduced landed costs, enhanced sourcing decisions and improved cycle times.
One client I would like to highlight is an office furniture manufacturer that ships a significant amount of goods within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region. This client realized they needed a way to automate the process of qualifying goods for preferential treatment for exporting from both the US and Canada to take full advantage of the NAFTA preferential trade program. By implementing the Amber Road solution, this manufacturer automated the NAFTA qualification and ensured that the company met all export compliance regulations. They also achieved a duty and tax savings of $1.2 million and are now capable of receiving timely updates on changes in export regulations, preferential duty requirements and denied party lists. All of this focus on FTA programs has improved their supply chain performance by lowering total landed costs and improving sourcing decisions.
In your opinion, how can supply chain, as a function, better align with a company's broader strategy?
My experience with multinational companies highlights the continued focus companies seek to make more informed supply chain decisions for their cross-border movement of goods. Specifically, in the case of FTAs, manufacturers must place more attention on minimizing duties, gaining a complete view of total landed costs, and reducing cycle times.
A global corporation's engagement with current FTA regimes through proper channeling of resources, investments, production and sales can positively impact sales and improve supply chain performance. This also requires a complete understanding of the regulatory environment governing new trade regimes and an ability to determine eligibility of an FTA through supply chain visibility and product information retention.
A company that masters these procedures either by implementation of automated trade solutions or by other means is poised to benefit from the use of such agreements and the introduction of future agreements currently under negotiation. Moreover, the companies that take full advantage of FTAs will be able to shave off landed costs, improve cycle times and transform their supply chain performance.
As Vice President of Global Trade Content, Anthony Hardenburgh maintains the backbone of data, Global Knowledge®, that makes Amber Road’s global trade management (GTM) software the leader in the industry. Anthony has positioned himself as one of the top experts on hot topics such as regulatory controls, free trade agreements, and duty minimization, and his leadership of the industry’s most comprehensive regulatory database has advanced not only Amber Road but the entire global trade space.