• United States
Senior Editor

Global trade challenges

Jul 12, 20042 mins
Data Center

* Working to automate time-consuming manual processes of cross-border commerce

In this week’s Network World our Special Focus section takes a look at the handful of small software companies are angling to capitalize on the complexities of cross-border commerce and automate what are traditionally time-consuming manual processes – such as identifying shipments according to international product classification conventions, making sure trades comply with foreign import and export rules, and providing proper shipment documentation.

According to our author ( vendors with so-called global trade management wares include GT Nexus, NextLinx, Open Harbor, TradeBeam and Vastera, as well as business software giant SAP.

For the most part, the processes these vendors are working to automate involve three-ring binders full of pricing information and disparate spreadsheet applications. Not only are these manual processes time-consuming and error-prone, but they make it hard for companies to analyze the data and share it with partners such as international shipping companies and customs brokers.

In the U.S., multiple federal agencies oversee pieces of the regulatory puzzle, determining how and with whom companies may do business. Additionally, buying and selling goods overseas requires staying on top of foreign countries’ myriad trade rules and tariff structures. According to industry estimates, a single shipment can require about 35 different documents, be touched by 15 parties, and require 200 data elements to be keyed in multiple times.

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