Maximizing Global Transport Management Technology - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Software for Global Trade Management can help simplify the exporting process

Thinking about going global? Well, it’s not as easy as boxing up your inventory and sending it out in the mail. Exporting can involve a ton of paperwork and require detailed financial audits to several different agencies within the U.S. federal government. Businesses must conform to laws governing international trade, licensing, and security. Non-compliance with trade laws can result in heavy fines and the revocation of global trade privileges, which can adversely impact a company’s bottom line.

“Looking at compliance … when something [new] goes into effect, they don’t care that you didn’t know about it,” says Lauri E. Elliott, president of Conceptualee, Inc., a business incubator for those focused on emerging markets.

Nearly 97% of U.S. exporters are small and medium-sized firms, and most of them are operating under the customs radar, meaning they do all of the paperwork and shipping manually, says Elliott.   As other foreign currencies outpace the dollar, demand for American goods will increase. In fact, U.S. exports rose by 16% from January to March of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 and Small business export loan authorizations increased half a billion dollars, according to the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Those who aren’t prepared to scale up their exports will be at a disadvantage. It will be harder for them to keep track of their shipments, payments, lines of credit, licenses, and customers from each country they ship to without introducing error.

Here are four steps you need to take in order to automate your global trade management system and streamline the process of generating audits, classifying tariffs, and managing import duty across multiple business locations.

Step 1) Prepare to start exporting by investing in accounting software

Consider investing in enterprise resource planning software. Although it is not a necessary element to begin shipment overseas, an ERP system will help centralize the flow of all financial documentation including sales, audits of inventory, and customer and/or supplier payables and receivables so that documents are updated in real time, redundancies are prevented, and archival information is readily available from anywhere. ERP platforms like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics can start at a flat rate of $8,000 to $25,000 for between five to 25 concurrent user licenses. Small businesses can also consider more economical solutions from Intuit’s Quickbooks, BizAutomation.com, or Salesorder.com, which when used as Software as a Service can run for as low as $30 to $250 per month for a single user licenses. Visit Top10erp.org to find an ERP system that fits within your budget, industry, and/or hardware.

Step 2) Get familiar with exporting basics

Compliance with government regulations is the most important aspect of exportation, says Shelvin D. Longmire, international business consultant, and Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship &  Enterprise Center at Morgan State University’s School of Business & Management. Exports are regulated by several federal agencies including the State Department, Commerce Department, and Treasury Department, among others. If you are interested in taking a do-it-yourself approach to exporting then you will need to become familiar with the Automated Export System, the Census Bureau’s free, web-based filing system.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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