Sam Blakeman, Product Marketing Manager, C4T
The global supply chain is becoming increasingly complex as businesses strive to meet customer demands for faster shipping and lower costs. As companies expand their operations across borders, they must comply with the customs regulations of each country. Reporting requirements and customs entry systems are in constant change, with Brexit being the latest generational shift in customs formalities. As such, it is important to understand the different options available to manage customs requirements in your supply chain.
Let’s first look at the conventional options of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers:
Companies that are just beginning to ship internationally, may find it beneficial to partner with a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is a company that is experienced in dealing with customs regulations and procedures. They can provide knowledgeable advice and assistance with the customs process and coordinate shipping and delivery.
Another traditional option is to hire a customs broker. A customs broker is a professional who is familiar with the laws and regulations of international customs and can provide advice and assistance with completing the necessary paperwork. They can also help to ensure that shipments are cleared quickly and efficiently.
These options have been the standard solution for customs formalities for many years, however, with advances in the digitalisation of the supply chain, companies are now looking to automate their customs operation as well, striving to make their data flow as efficient as their logistics flows. Traditional customs clearance options can create a break in the chain and any process improvement is only as strong as its weakest link.
But how can customs formalities become integrated into the digitised supply chain?
To achieve this companies can take advantage of technology to automate their customs formalities. Many companies are using software to automate the customs process, which reduces the paperwork and administrative burden. Software programs are designed to help companies facilitate the customs process, including tracking shipments, preparing documents, and filing the necessary paperwork. Additionally, some software programs can provide access to real-time data on customs regulations and fees and automate the process using data from commercial systems to drive the customs declaration process.
The advantage of having visibility of your customs data rather than sending it to third parties is that it enables you to gain insight into the performance and health of your clearances. This insight allows you to make informed decisions that can help to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.
Additionally, having visibility and control of your customs data can help you to identify opportunities for innovation and growth. It can provide you with the insights you need to explore new markets, and measure the success of your efforts.
The future of customs clearance is digitisation and automation. To find out how you can transform your customs operation and future-proof your supply chain, download our helpful guide to MASP (Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Electronic Customs).