December 2007 | How-To | Ten Tips

Selecting a Global Trade Management Provider

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Language barriers, distance and time differences, security issues, and customs rules make global sourcing difficult to manage. Selecting the right global trade management (GTM) solution can help. Here's some advice from Graham Napier, CEO of TradeBeam Technologies.

1. Look for immediate value. Identify a GTM provider with solutions that deliver immediate impact in core areas. Begin with quick-win implementations in areas such as compliance or order collaboration. This will set the stage for a broad rollout.

2. Create a vision for extending GTM solutions across departments and functions. Make sure the GTM provider is not just a specialist in one area, but can address all core areas. Take advantage of GTM's ability to deliver value by integrating the financial and physical supply chains.

3. Ask the provider for high-quality global trade content in key areas. Ask providers if they have their own content in areas such as denied party lists, duties, and taxes. If they use a reputable provider, can they validate the quality of data? Make sure the content provider has quality coverage in your key areas of need, rather than broad coverage of content you don't use.

4. Search for a provider with an established network of third-party message integrations. Electronic messaging is required for integrating with trading partners. Your GTM provider must have a scalable solution that can address all messaging formats and be deployed and updated quickly.

5. Check for rapid on-boarding. You want the ability to bring on large communities of buyers, suppliers and related trading partners quickly and easily. A quality GTM solution must have a simple user interface and a methodology for continuous on-boarding and training.

6. Develop a global rollout strategy and choose a solution with a deployment model to support it. Software as a Service (SaaS) enables quick rollouts across geographies and functions without training and managing distributed teams or maintaining multiple versions of systems. SaaS also enables the outsourcing of message integration management and keeps pace with daily content changes.

7. Strong reporting and business intelligence is key. Select Key Performance Indicators, and make sure the solution provides the right scope, format, and frequency of reporting data. Many companies derive value from GTM solutions primarily through their reporting and alert capabilities.

8. Assess the expertise of the professional services, managed services, and global trade content personnel. Quality GTM applications require experienced, knowledgeable personnel qualified to address your issues.

9. Test the system to make sure users can configure the application on the fly. Make certain the system is not hard-coded for specific transaction types that require cumbersome processes for updates over time. Determine what aspects of the solution will require updating, and put in place a convenient process for accommodating user updates.

10. Look for manageability. A best-of-breed GTM solution must have a configurable way to validate that data coming into the system is reliable and accurate.

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