You have approached IT personnel at your company with a request to make changes to existing exports/imports documents that are currently being generated from your ERP system. We all know – patterns of global trade change very often, as do the trade regulations supporting them. Your customers become more demanding and ask you make changes to commercial invoices, packaging lists, declarations, any other shipment documents. Your IT department is reluctant to make the requested changes on a certain form, due to the complexity and level of effort involved in making even minor changes to the multiple versions of your forms. Due to unique customer requests on the content of specific shipping documents, IT personnel is required to maintain distinct versions of a single document, and any changes or improvements to the forms need to be coded into each version.
Trade compliance departments are often constrained – how to keep current with country- and customer-specific requirements, while minimizing IT costs and maximizing IT responsiveness. You can choose to have a single global form to make IT happy and make changes easier, but not be responsive to the true requirements of your supply chain. This can impact how fast your company product moves through your supply chain, increase your (known and unknown) filing errors, increase inspections and hurt customer satisfaction. It may also force your brokers and logistics partners to “translate” your forms to local requirements, at your cost and with no control over what may get lost in translation.
Or you can have a different form for each requirement. Though this will avoid the above issues, having to maintain a large number of form versions will end up increasing IT cost, reducing forms consistency and slowing down the speed at which you can respond to changes.
After consideration of both options, your company might still be looking at a better solution allowing it to eliminate limitations of the options discussed above. In order to help companies meet their global objectives in producing compliant and accurate trade documentation, EntryPoint has introduced a solution called FlexForm. The major benefit of this solution is embedded into its name – flexibility in meeting global and local requirements. Rather than creating new forms to satisfy region-, country- and customer-specific requirements, FlexForm allows your organization to localize each global form by identifying key criteria for each shipping scenario. Whether it is adding an EAR destination control statement on US export form, changing a label from ‘Ultimate Consignee’ to ‘Ship-to,’ adding currency to the total value for Russian customs purposes or meeting customer-specific requirement in Brazil – all can be supported with no IT involvement, through an easy-to-use GTS transaction.
In contrast to other form management solutions, where a form change could take anywhere from a couple weeks to three months, FlexForm allows a change to be made in the same day. These form changes are done by compliance or logistics (super) users, aligning the attributes of each form with the business scenario in which it will be used. And since the solution is embedded into SAP GTS as a unique transaction, it ensures that even though this is easy to use, you can still apply the required security and workflow to ensure it’s done in a methodical manner.
In one statement, FlexForm is the solution that can accommodate ALL requirements on ONE form and at the same time represent ONE form in ALL business scenarios. If you’re one of our current (or recently deployed) clients, you know all about this solution. If you’re not and see value in this kind of solution, let us know (no sales person will call you…as we don’t have any).