Managing customs operations presents international traders with numerous challenges, such as uncertainty in the trade environment and changes in global trade dynamics that can trigger shifts in import/export regulations, tariffs, and trade agreements.

Take, for instance, the recent increase in customs tariffs for apparel and footwear imports by the Colombian government or Japan's 2023 tax reform changes to its customs law. Indonesia also introduced new customs procedures for importing software and digital goods electronically.

International traders also have to balance trade protectionism and facilitation. While some countries protect their industries by limiting certain types of trade, others simplify the import and export of goods and sign major trade agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Different trade policies across countries complicate customs procedures for international traders. Ineffectively managing this complexity can result in delays, higher costs, and reputational harm.

Overcoming customs challenges

How do successful international traders across industries navigate these challenges and smoothly handle customs operations across different countries and regions?

By addressing the root issues, such as lack of visibility, standardization, and automation, successful international traders can more effectively manage ever-changing customs requirements and customs operations across different regions and countries.

They invest in advanced solutions like SAP Global Trade Services (GTS) to enhance visibility into end-to-end customs processes, standardize procedures, and eliminate error-prone manual procedures such as import and export filing.

SAP GTS is a comprehensive global trade management suite that provides various tools and functionalities, enabling businesses to:

How SAP GTS empowers international traders

Using SAP GTS, international traders can conquer customs management challenges, ensuring seamless and compliant cross-border transactions. The platform's robust features and functionalities allow businesses to quickly adapt to changing regulatory environments, streamline their customs processes, and maintain a global competitive edge.

A global leader in the food industry leveraged SAP GTS to eliminate manual and expensive import filing processes and facilitate import self-filing. Consequently, the company self-filed 90% of its import volume into Europe through Great Britain, completely eliminating broker fees and increasing regulatory confidence.

A leading global manufacturer of HVAC products also streamlined its customs operations with the help of SAP GTS without increasing its headcount. A multinational conglomerate corporation operating in various sectors, such as consumer goods, worker safety, and healthcare, used SAP GTS to enable import and export self-filing to various European countries. As a result, the company saved $100 million in Free Trade Agreement (FTA) savings, among other competitive advantages.

SAP GTS-as-a-Service: A cost-effective way to leverage SAP GTS

For businesses looking for a more flexible and scalable solution for managing their customs operations, fully managed SAP GTS solutions offer an appealing alternative.

SAP GTS-as-a-Service provides the full benefits of SAP GTS in an affordable subscription package, eliminating the need for large upfront investments. This secure, cloud-based solution accelerates the adoption of SAP GTS while reducing risk, lowering the cost of ownership, and accelerating time to value.

With SAP GTS-as-a-Service, businesses can concentrate on their core operations and swiftly adjust to changing customs requirements, maintaining a competitive edge in the global market.

The bottom line

Effectively managing customs operations is critical for international traders in today's dynamic global trade environment.

By adopting proven GTS solutions, your business can more effectively navigate the complexities of international trade, ensuring continued growth and prosperity in an increasingly interconnected global economy.

However, the success of solution adoption heavily depends on the knowledge and skills of the implementation partner, regardless of the deployment model. Therefore, it's crucial to carefully evaluate and select a partner that has a proven track record and the necessary expertise to ensure a successful integration.

Don't allow customs challenges to hinder your business. Optimize your customs operations with SAP GTS for lasting success. Contact us.