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23 November 2018

Positioning global trade to embrace the changes to come

In our last blog we explored with Paul Lloyd-Smith how a changing regulatory environment can impact organisations and how SAP’s Global Trade Services (GTS) solution can help.

We discussed the risks and opportunities surrounding the uncertainty that Brexit brings, combined with the already complex and ever-changing, global operating environment. Companies that can adapt quickly to minimise risk will be able to gain a competitive edge over their rivals.

SAP GTS centralises global trade management, automating and streamlining trade processes, while ensuring regulatory compliance - which could give companies a real competitive edge. Organisations already running SAP GTS before the final Brexit deal is determined, will ensure their business is able to do just that - through SAP GTS’s ability to deal with high levels of complexity, aided by its adaptability and scalability. Also, the quicker organisations are able to bring automation and streamline processes around areas such as import, export, bonded warehouses and free trade zones, the quicker they will recognise this competitive edge. 

The SAP GTS system has the ability to operate within many international regulations and trade procedures and can be easily configured to adopt new regulations. When Brexit negotiations are completed, it is a relatively straightforward process to configure the results into the system and become compliant with the new environment.

Further to this adaptability and scalability, GTS is a solution that can be integrated not only with SAP’s other enterprise solutions, but also with other technologies that a business may use to facilitate their management of their end-to-end supply chain.

A particular advantage of SAP GTS in this area (post Brexit), is the ability to also connect with the IT systems of customs offices. This will help to reduce delays in clearing customs and reduce the financial burden of document processing. It would also enable a customs department to reduce the technological burden and streamline their trade processes. This automation and simplification will in-turn free-up resources within a customs department.

The UK is already moving towards a customs process that heavily relies on technology, and so adopting a more technological approach can only improve a company's continued readiness to adapt to change. 

As well as minimising the risks of new or adapted regulations, utilising a solution that incorporates all elements of global trade into one solution set, will ensure businesses have the confidence to adapt their supply chain, with the assurance that regulations are being followed. As we highlighted previously, opportunities will be available for those who embrace the changing environment and adapt their sourcing strategies accordingly.


SAP GTS comprises four modules, covering all global trade activities:

Compliance Management: Ensuring compliance with any international trade regulations ensuring embargoes, sanctioned party lists, and import/export license requirements are met.

Customs Management: Managing the full customs process, coordinating with customs authorities efficiently and sending the required declarations throughout the entire supply chain.

Risk Management: Minimising the financial risk associated with international supply chains through effective utilisation of preference processing, letters of credit and restitution.

Electronic Compliance Reporting: Ensuring the reporting of required statistical data for trade between EU states through Intrastat declarations.


Within these blogs, we have highlighted the risks surrounding Brexit, but also that opportunities will be there for the taking. Uncertainty is king at the moment - however with SAP GTS, customs departments may be able to use this to their advantage, taking a proactive approach in preparing and being ready for the changes to come.

Look out for our upcoming webinar in the next few months, where we will be discussing the particular challenges faced by businesses and how SAP GTS can help to overcome them.