Realizing Global Trade Management Potential

As the global trade engine kicks back into gear, new demands for electronic notifications and the need for better, more efficient trade compliance are buoying the global trade management market. Are you prepared to harness your organization’s global opportunities?

By Bridget McCrea · February 24, 2011

Applications run the gamut
Today’s GTM applications offer a range of functionalities that are anything but stagnant. In fact, this supply chain software sector is constantly morphing to meet the needs of the global trade environment, which is both unpredictable and dynamic.

At a high level, ARC’s Banker says GTM solutions automate a variety of trade activities that include performing restricted party screenings and embargo checks; assigning export and import licenses; creating and filing trade documents; and communicating electronically with Customs authorities.

GTM software can also facilitate product classification; manage Customs processes and transit procedures; facilitate restitution handling; and determine preferential trade eligibility. Such systems are offered up in both purchase-and-install and software-as-a-service (SaaS) or “cloud” formats, the latter of which is gaining traction among those shippers who want to get their GTMs up and running quickly, and with lower upfront investments and less stress on their internal IT teams.

“We’re seeing a pretty high average adoption rate of cloud-based applications in the GTM space,” says McNeill, who sees the geographically dispersed nature of the global supply chain as a key driver of this trend.

Additionally, he says because global partners are accustomed to sharing trade information through electronic means like EDI, the move to an SaaS-based GTM is a natural transition for them.

“The cloud-based GTM is the final evolution,” says McNeill. “In fact, the trend is so strong that we expect GTM to drive a 25 percent increase in SaaS supply chain management applications by 2013.” In terms of functionality, McNeill expects most applications to continue focusing on logistics, compliance, and finance—the latter of which is an area that’s ripe for improvement.

“Finance is the untapped area of GTM right now, with more functionality being developed around the support of financial processes and how to link that directly to the supply chain,” says McNeill. A company that wants to extend credit to an overseas customer, for example, would benefit from a GTM that allows for the examination of purchase orders and commercial invoices before such decisions are made. “With SaaS growing, those functions could become even easier for shippers to handle with their GTMs in the near future.”

The popularity of cloud-based GTMs is also pushing more vendors into the space, says McNeill, who expects that trend to continue well into 2011. The business-to-business vendors that were already transmitting trade and Customs information to and from business partners, for example, are jumping into the fray thanks to SaaS’ lower barriers to entry. “We’ve talked to about 12 different vendors who have told us that they’re getting into the cloud-based supply chain management arena, which includes GTM,” says McNeill. “I really think we’re going to see that explode this year.”

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea
Bridget McCrea is a Contributing Editor for Logistics Management based in Clearwater, Fla. She has covered the transportation and supply chain space since 1996, and has covered all aspects of the industry for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. She can be reached at [email protected]

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