CustomsNow™ clients have made the decision to keep certain trade compliance functions in-house using our robust, easy-to-use software solutions. Obviously, there are pros and cons to evaluate when deciding whether to handle internally or to outsource all or part of trade compliance functions. In that regard, American Shipper has published a helpful report, It’s Not My Problem: How Companies Should View Their Trade Compliance Responsibility in Outsourced Arrangements.*
The report focuses on two critical elements that underlie an outsourced compliance relationship:
- How importers and exporters should invest in technology to aid their relationship with outsourced providers and develop expertise.
- Measuring the maturity curve to determine whether some or all outsourced functions should be taken back in-house.
The key takeaways are listed in the report’s “Outsourced Decision Checklist”:
1. Examine your internal expertise, bandwidth, company culture, and budget when determining if outsourcing global trade management is right for your company. Do a cost benefit analysis of whether outsourced arrangements will truly yield reduced risk and increased efficiency.
2. Determine whether you’re best served outsourcing to a service provider (i.e. broker/forwarder), third party, or to a GTM solution provider. If you determine you need a GTM solution, then decide whether that solution can be managed in-house of if you need it to be managed by a solution provider or a third party.
3. Prepare adequately for outsourcing compliance functions. That means being honest and fixing broken internal processes and preparing internal resources for change.
4. Your job is not done when some or all of your compliance processes are outsourced. You must manage your provider, measuring their performance through audits and reporting, and regularly checking that they are compatible with your business. You are also responsible for knowing your company, the business culture, risk and challenges, along with the activities that are on the future road-map that will impact your outsourced arrangements. These are not items your provider can be expected to manage for you.
5. Systematically ensure that you have not outgrown your service provider. It may be that after a period of time, a company that has outsourced some or all of its compliance processes is ready to take some of that work back in-house.
6. Invest in GTM technology even as your outsourced relationship grows—it may be that technology will allow you to eventually wean yourself off the reliance on outside providers. It will also make you think critically about your current compliance function and, at a minimum, allow you to automate processes that are handled manually or not at all.
Contact us at CustomsNow™ and we can help in your evaluation whether to keep or bring any of your trade compliance functions in-house.
(*registration required to download full report)