Global trade continues to accelerate both in volumes and complexity.
If you don’t agree, just take a look at Alibaba and their most recent Singles Day where products were purchased from 192 countries!
To get a feel for this growth, the number of tons shipped by ocean containers has multiplied many times over, in fact almost 17 times from 102 million tons in 1980, to 1,720 Million tons in 2016!
And at the same time as this growth has been occurring, the complexity of conducting global trade and complying effectively with myriad and growing regulatory and licensing requirements has also exploded due to terrorist threats, numerous trade agreements, e-commerce, as well as the sheer growth in types and numbers of products imported and exported around the world on a daily basis.
In the early 1990’s software dubbed Global Trade Management (GTM) and Global Transportation Management Systems (GTMS) began to appear in the marketplace, with the first focused on the regulatory issues surrounding global trade and the second supporting the logistics and equipment execution required to conduct and manage global trade.
And coming from a history of global trade communications first by voluminous paper, then by fax and now by EDI, with parallel management of these activities by spreadsheets and traditional database platforms, GTM and GTMS systems provided many benefits to those who invested in them.
Fast forward to 2017 where global supply chains are now poised to become even more complex. The explosive growth of e-commerce and equally massive global players in this type of trade, means the number of e-commerce shipments moving across the globe both into the West, as well as from the West into the emerging giant consumer markets of Asia will only add to this complexity.
Most, if not all current GTM and GTMS systems are not prepared to deal with this coming complexity and in order to successfully compete will require the full business integration of all trade and execution activities at the lowest level of sku granularity with full and transparent connectivity into company Enterprise Finance Systems.
Many of these GTM and GTMS systems are built on out dated technology with different functions cobbled together based on numerous acquisitions made over time. Yesterday’s GTM and GTMS systems will need to be evolved, or in most cases likely even replaced, by ground up, purpose built systems that will deliver on all of the requirements for complete Global Commerce Management (GCM).
It’s important to ensure the latest in real time API connectivity and transparent connections to all needed input systems of both today and tomorrow as this global evolution in trade continues to manifest itself.
Full integration of the product/business data with the trade compliance and transportation/supply chain execution layers in conjunction with the overarching Enterprise Finance System is necessary in order to deliver a complete Global Commerce Management (GCM) solution as laid out in the diagram above.
Also, the importance of open and connective architecture is paramount in order to facilitate the introduction and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and even the use of Smart Contracts with Blockchain to ensure your organization is positioned to take full advantage of these emerging technologies.
The days of being able to just rely only on simple GTM and/or GTMS systems solutions will soon be over.
Time to position your company to move beyond these basic systems by implementing a fully integrated Global Commerce Management solution, and so then be prepared to compete with the best of emerging merchants on a global scale.