How much of your business is export? How many sites in your organisation are involved in export? Where are your best export administration staff located? How do you share shipping information between sites?
Acquisitions and takeovers have led to an increased number of organisations which operate from multiple sites. Often each site trades as a totally autonomous company shipping their products to their customers with their own ways of working and expertise built up from years of doing the job. Frequently within this scenario, a separate instance of the group business system, or maybe a completely different business system, is used by each site, with other systems used to manage the different working practices in each organisation. Exporting is often carried out from more than one of these sites and export administration is done differently at each site.
In another scenario the organisation operates from multiple sites each of which has a different function and centres of expertise. Maybe manufacturing is carried out at one site, sending their goods to distribution warehouses located in various parts of the country and perhaps administration is carried out from another central Head Office location. Again maybe more than one site is exporting, but probably export administration is done from head office where the staff are experienced in producing export documents, obtaining Certificates of Origin, and getting customs clearance, with a skilled shipping team who understand the needs of the business.
So how do you share this information, make sure documents which need to travel with the goods are at the right location, keep customers informed, and keep track of what has been shipped to whom, and when? How do you know about the special agreement you have with each customer for number and type of export documents required, which freight forwarder they want you to use, that export admin have got the necessary customs clearance, or that the certified documents needed for this shipment are ready? How do export admin know that the goods have actually gone, and will arrive at the docks in time to be on the ship they have booked?
Whichever scenario best describes your business, if export is a large part of your business, then getting information to the right place at the right time will be issues which you are dealing with on a daily basis. Manual processes involved can cause delays and have a direct affect on your business’s bottom line.
A central export administration system can enable you to share information with anyone at any time without you being constantly on the phone or sending emails. Ideally data which already exists in your business system is used as the basis for creating the export information needed. Profiles for individual customers can help automate the administration process and only the last minute shipping information needs to be keyed into the system. Once the data is created then your other sites can pick up the transport documents, data can be sent to the Chambers of Commerce to obtain certified documents, and you can enable your customers to collect their documents even if your office is closed.
If a centralised system driven by the group business system sounds right for you, but you don’t want other sites to see your shipping data, then individual accounts be set up for each site providing discrete access for each company.
This level of automation and integration can provide major benefits not only in the time and cost of creating and distributing information, but when key staff are on holiday or sick, other members of the team can take over and there need be no delay in getting your goods moving.
GTA Net has been providing group organisations with this kind of automation for the past 15 years. It can interface with any business system and is used in a wide range of industry sectors by major companies and groups throughout the UK. You can check out our customers and partners on our website to find out how these major companies have benefited from using GTA Net in their organisations.