Training: The Hidden Value-Add
Any business involved in import and export activities falls within the scope of all laws and regulations applicable to those activities. These laws and regulations are far-reaching and can be highly complex.
As a transportation and logistics professional, not only are you accountable for your company's internal compliance with these laws and regulations, but you are also accountable for supporting your customers' compliance initiatives. Offering trade compliance knowledge to your customers, whether conversationally or via tools, is a tremendous value-add to helping them achieve their reasonable care goals.
Zero In on Topics
To identify the training topics most valuable to your organization, consider those that are important to your customer base. On the tactical side, they include managing classification, license applications, and decrementation; free trade agreement compliance; partner government agency compliance; policy and procedure documentation; auditing; and record-keeping.
On the strategic side, training topics should include processing and setting mitigating plans to cope with new tariffs, USMCA changes, Brexit, and retaliatory tariffs.
So where to start? Here is our phased approach to conducting the most impactful internal training:
1. Map training topics to their respective audiences. You may want awareness training for the entire company, followed by export awareness training specific to the shipping and operations team. If you have employees filing exports on behalf of customers, it is important they understand both the regulations and how to best obtain the requisite information from customers.
Present training as a solution to a business problem—your audience is bound to retain more knowledge and more likely to leverage it within their daily operations.
2. Identify departments to be trained and their stakeholders. Provide tailored training to audiences within the most high-risk areas of your organizations. Departments that generally intersect with trade compliance regulations, whether at your company or your customers', include product management, sales, finance, legal, supply chain/shipping and receiving, and engineering.
Identify a stakeholder within each department to contribute to the mapping process. The dialogue with each stakeholder defines the topics as well as which roles and functions should attend training.
3. Document and measure the training. Training logs document audience participation and track the different modules rolling out within the various audiences. You also can measure training effectiveness with brief quizzes throughout or at the end of the course and post-training surveys to see how information is received.
The bottom line is that providing topical training to each department within your organization offers a serious return on investment for everyone's time involved. Your company will develop better processes and procedures and, in turn, your customers benefit from a knowledgeable partner.
With proper training, your employees become educated allies to your customers, serving as an additional safety net to their compliance program. If you're short on bandwidth, outsource this function. It is paramount to protecting your internal organization as well as ensuring customer satisfaction.