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  July 14th, 2021 | Written by

If Trade Compliance Was a Soccer Team…

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The Olympics, Gold Cup, Copa América, Euro 2020: most soccer fans will have a team or two to cheer for this summer. For those, as well as for those who prefer trade compliance over soccer (so, basically everybody in global trade), here the definitive Summer of 2021 Global Trade Intelligence starting lineup (in a traditional 4-3-3 system). Pretty sure we’d beat those ERP, CRM, and (despite the overlap) TMS teams at the Software World Cup.

Goalkeeper: Export Compliance. A non-plussed, stabile, robust lock on the door is needed to stop penalties (yes, a global trade pun!) and set the standard for the team. Thoroughly, prepared for set plays (like license determination) and deflections (like transshipped exports). Nothing falls through the cracks; errors can be fatal for a compliance program.

Right Back: Origin. You want reliability in your backs plus, ideally, one that can also make progress forward and save some duties. Origin is both: the solid paperwork to verify your claims and the forward approach to benefit from the preferential rates where possible. A sometimes aggressive yet always reliable origin program can bring significant benefit to the company.

Center Back: Restricted Party Screening (RPS). It’s simple: your center back doesn’t let any opponent slip through and that’s the same for your Restricted Party Screening solution. Nothing gets through or there will be consequences. RPS sets the tone and, with a solid RPS application, everyone feels more secure doing their part.

Center Back: Brokerage. Another solution that stands or falls with reliability. Your brokerage application must be strong, solid, reliable, scalable. It bends but doesn’t burst. It’s steady when needed but can accelerate if there’s a lot to do. With just that, there is a perfect center foundation for some solid compliance work.

Left Back: Import Compliance. Completing the back four of compliance, the left-back may be where you used to stick the weak link, but no more. This includes document, permit, license requirements. Import compliance programs (think OGA/PGA requirements but also VAT registrations, packaging requirements) are gaining momentum. Ecommerce plays a role in all this as well. As for the right-back position, it is nice to have a left-back that can also create opportunities, for example, by anticipating B2C compliance requirement changes (like changes to VAT exemptions or licensing exceptions).

Right Midfield: Objectives and Key Results/Key Performance Indicators (OKRs/KPIs). The barometer is of course in midfield—making sure holes are filled, needs are met, focusing on where there is a little shortfall or supporting where things are moving along. OKR/KPI reviews keep everything balanced and ensure that attention is paid to areas where improvements can be made and that strengths are praised and leveraged.

Center Midfield: Classification. The center of it all. The core challenge according to multiple surveys, classification is the ongoing challenge of getting it right all the time and with ever-changing HS codes (hello 2022 WCO Updates!). Only a number 10, central player can figure it all out (the greats co-function as parts master as well). And, when they do, it’s a joy for the whole team. Without classification, there’s no offense or defense—only loose ends.

Left Midfield: Duty Deferral and Saving Programs. The left midfielder is creative (with that subtle left foot), somewhat looking for that through ball but still solid when it comes to defending completed work. Welcome to duty-saving options. Foreign Trade Zones, processing reliefs, drawbacks: you name it, the left midfielder has them all in the pocket and is ready to launch.

Right Forward: Valuation. Better get it correct (must be able to defend when questions are asked) but not impossible to get really creative with it. Think First Sale, non-transaction value-based valuation, the excitement when working with the transfer pricing teammate. The six valuation methods are like the six ways the right-winger can leave the opponent behind.

Center Forward: Supply Chain Resilience (SC Resilience). Arguably, if it were a 5-3-2 system, SC Resilience would be a wingback—new and fancy but still doesn’t always have a spot. But, in a 4-3-3 system, it’s great to have something fresh and sometimes unpredictable to make a good impression. SC Resilience encompasses all the exciting elements a forward-thinking operation needs: anticipating the market and logistics flow, staying ahead of the competition, and surging towards new goals.

Left Forward: Visibility. The left-wing position is made for volatile players. Sometimes everything works, sometimes nothing. The same way it sometimes feels with supply chain visibility—one day the dashboard is packed with useful information and the next there are huge gaps, but the collaboration with SC Resilience, in particular, helps to build expectations.

On the Bench: Implementations, integrations, audit support (reporting), and disaster recovery plans. What to do with the coach? For being the best trade compliance expert I have met and loads of other reasons, I’ll take Ruud Tusveld as the coach—even though he used to play goalie.

Trade compliance for the win!