Strengthening Supply Chain Transparency in a Conflict Ridden World

by tanujar 29. July 2014 06:16

While many companies still face uncertainty over Conflict Minerals reporting, some are re-focusing their efforts on supply chain transparency.  Since the new SEC Conflict Minerals Rule, organizations are also now taking a closer look at how to best manage supplier information in order to meet SEC expectations now and in the future.

One reason for this greater focus on transparency for companies across the board: a ‘domino effect,’ of sorts, from the Conflict Minerals Rule, and other reporting requirements.  For instance, while privately held companies aren’t required to report to the SEC on the Conflict Minerals Rule, they are still affected since their customers, who are public, now require them to trace back their supply chain.

The Conflict Minerals Rule affects about 6,000 public companies – each of which must identify if their products contain 3TG minerals, including tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold – and perform reasonable country of origin inquiry to verify that materials were not obtained from the conflict laden Democratic Republic of the Congo based on responses from their suppliers.  About 250,000 suppliers work with U.S. based publicly-held companies that are required to file. As a result, suppliers from privately-held companies now also have to obtain information and be held accountable from their publicly-held buyers.

For those companies that do need to file, the depth and global reach of international supply chains can make it difficult to get responses and to verify the information, including identifying the right person at each supplier and assessing if he/she has sufficient knowledge to understand the requirements.

Further deepening the problem is the enormous amount of time spent checking back on supplier responses, verifying and managing information to comply with the new rule. While companies were expected to spend about 480 hours, on average, to complete a conflict minerals report, many – particularly those that supply other businesses – say they have spent far more, according to SEC reports.  

Meanwhile, companies that have used technology to aid in this complex process have cut down their costs and time to streamline processes, track information, and do additional due diligence research to authenticate results of inquiries.

By implementing advanced technologies, companies can create and maintain best practices in the supply chain, allowing them to stay a step ahead of the ever-changing landscape of national and international trade regulations.

Increasingly, when it comes to supply chain accountability, more and more companies will be held to higher standards, whether from government regulation or public sentiment, to know more about the practices of companies with which people regularly do business. The better prepared companies are for present and future regulations – such as the Conflict Minerals Rule – the better for business transparency. As today’s regulatory environment continues to rapidly change, companies and organizations will continue to seek robust trade management systems to help lower risks and boost business.

Sri Ramadas, SVP- Projects & Services for Netwin Solutions, has 20 years of IT experience in business development, account management, project management and product implementation management. His company is online at www.gtkonnect.com.

 

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Netwin Solutions Earns ‘SDCE 100’ Award from Supply & Demand Chain Executive

by tanujar 28. May 2014 07:25

At Netwin Solutions, we are pleased to be recognized for excellence in supply chain technology, assisting customers with increased efficiency and ROI, with a 2nd annual SDCE 100 Award from Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

Recipients of this award also produced measurable gains in ROI through cost-cutting, and increased efficiency, whether in warehouse, transportation, procurement sourcing or any other category in the end-to-end supply chain.

As the demand for international goods builds, facilitating the flow of trade into the global supply chain has become more critical and challenging than ever before. Through Netwin’s technology solutions, the company is committed to working with clients to make the process seamless and easier to manage.

Check out Netwin Solutions’ GTKonnect in the June issue of SDCE, online at

http://www.sdcexec.com/article/11466387/best-projects-that-navigate-the-complex-waters-of-todays-complex-supply-chain

For more information, please contact sales@netwinsolutions.com

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Netwin CEO Selected Among Top Pros to Know

by tanujar 29. April 2014 08:27

Netwin would like to congratulate president and CEO Anand Raghavendran for being selected as a winner of Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Pros to Know Award.

The Pros to Know Awards recognize supply chain executives at manufacturing and non-manufacturing enterprises who are leading initiatives to help prepare their companies’ supply chains for the significant challenges of today’s business climate. This year’s list includes individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies or academia, who have helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large prepare to meet these challenges.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive received more than 300 entries for this year’s awards.

“I am honored to be included in this highly respected group of industry leaders,” said Raghavendran, a 20-year industry veteran.  “Organizations today face an extraordinary amount of pressure in this changing global trade environment. It is vital to work closely with industry partners and colleagues to create solutions to address the many challenges posed by a constantly evolving supply chain and regulatory environment.”

Raghavendran, a well-known and respected leader in the global trade management industry, has a keen knowledge of U.S. Customs, compliance, and data management.  He has orchestrated large and complicated implementations for global companies such as Mitsubishi, UTI worldwide, Mattel and DHL. Raghavendran is currently responsible for managing Netwin’s growth strategy and product direction, and was the main driver behind the company’s award-winning GTKonnect platform.

 

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Compliance: An Added Cost or Opportunity for Your Company to Save?

by tanujar 29. April 2014 08:24

Does your organization view compliance as a cost saver or a cost center?  You might be surprised to learn that a shift in perception and how you think about compliance can make a big difference to your company’s bottom line.  Netwin’s Sri Ramadas debates the topic in Supply & Demand Chain Executive

When it comes to the supply chain and moving goods from point A to point B, some companies view compliance as more of a headache and a cost center, while others see it as an opportunity to create efficiency and savings. 

The cost of poor compliance management or inactivity can be high, from upfront expenses like duties and fines, to goods being held, and other harder to define costs, like a company’s lost reputation, time-to-market and business opportunities.

While expense may be the main factor behind putting off compliance, delaying this important component in the global supply chain is like cutting the budget or delaying preventative maintenance on necessary equipment. If not proactively attended to, it could lead to more costly expenses down the line.

Just because a company has not been through an exam or audited does not mean it will not be in the near future.  As with being audited by the IRS, it may not happen or it may be a random occurrence at the least opportune time.  When it does happen it can impact a company’s bottom line and disrupt business overall.  It is then that many companies are most vigilant to take actions to prevent it from happening again.

Check out these steps companies can take to move from inertia to immersion when it comes to global trade compliance: http://www.sdcexec.com/article/11319773/do-it-wrong-and-the-cost-can-be-high-in-expenses-reputation-and-lost-business

 

 

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GTKonnect Launches Conflict Minerals Compliance Software

by tanujar 24. April 2014 08:26

Netwin Solutions is happy to introduce its new GTKonnect module to help companies comply with the SEC Conflict Minerals Rule filing. The goal of the filing (Dodd–Frank Section 1502) is to provide transparency into corporate practices and reduce funding to groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries believed to be involved in human rights abuses and financing of regional conflicts.

U.S. companies must show reasonable care in sourcing minerals – such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold (or “3TG”) – for products, or source them from other non-conflict regions, with the ruling that goes into effect May 31. Thousands of products that contain the minerals in question are subject to this new rule, ranging from cell phones and laptop computers to watches, apparel, golf clubs and hearing aids.  Roughly 275,000 private companies that are part of the issuers’ supply chains are expected to be affected by the new ruling, which will take considerable time and determining which products include these “conflict” minerals. Companies will also have to spend a lot of time communicating with their suppliers to perform reasonable country of origin inquiry.

GTKonnect’s new module significantly helps companies simplify the process for analyzing the origin of minerals used in their products and to report if they have originated in “conflict” countries.  

The new GTKonnect software streamlines the process by automating origin inquiries, risk assessment and reporting for public companies. The module also allows import managers to maintain parts-suppliers data at the level required to manage conflict minerals compliance, which may be different from a company’s standard Bills of Material.  For additional features and more information on the new GTKonnect Conflict Minerals software, please click here.


 

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The Future of Global Trade: Technology & Collaboration

by sramadas 29. January 2014 19:44

In this rapidly changing and competitive global landscape, companies must continue to embrace and capitalize on next-generation technologies that can enhance their supply chain.

Winning global trade strategies will demand flexibility, diversity, scalability, real-time collaboration and automation. The key word for future of supply chains in 2014 is “one”—one central platform/repository to collaborate and share information online and across the organization and its channels.  Having one centralized, web-based technology platform enables importers and their partners to input, store and share data that is consumed across several functionalities, including imports and exports, and to also take advantage of, and manage, programs such as Foreign Trade Zones, free trade agreements, corporate responsibility initiatives and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

For more information on how technology can recharge your supply chain and bottom line, check out our article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 

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C-TPAT | FTZ

Smooth Transition into the Trusted Trader Program

by sramadas 24. October 2013 15:05

 American manufacturers are gearing up for the much-anticipated federal Trusted Trader Program, which is expected to improve the security, efficiency, performance and compliance of their global supply chains. The pilot program, launched in September by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is designed to enable the federal agency to manage supply chain security and compliance by unifying the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Importer Self- Assessment (ISA) initiatives.

The expansion of the Trusted Trader Program would no doubt speed the flow of legitimate shipments, and is just another positive step in protecting and facilitating international trade and enabling modern business practices. While the final outcome of the Trusted Trader Program is unknown, the more prepared you are for this transformational program, the better off your company is.

Check out this article, in Supply & Demand Chain Executive, from Sri Ramadas of Netwin Solutions for more.

 

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C-TPAT

Toy Manufacturer Saves Time, Money, and Gains “Trusted Trader Status”

by krishnak 10. September 2013 20:32

Leading Toy Manufacturer Saves Time, Money, and Gains “Trusted Trader Status” With GTKonnect Software to Simplify Imports

How does a leading, internationally-known toy manufacturer manage over 13,000 import shipments of over 100,000 line items per year, along with 5,000 exports filings and around 10,000 ISF (Importers Security Filing) filings per year, with a team of only three people?  AND make it look easy? 

It’s all about having the right processes, procedures and software in place.  “As self-filers, we save close to $1.3 million per year on service costs taking processes in house versus going out of house through a broker,” says the import/exporter. “On NAFTA alone, we save $1.4 million.  Brokers usually have a team of 10-12 people on an account, and they typically do ten lines for free…our [shipments] have thousands of lines. We also estimate that we experience a savings of two hours per day, including Saturday and Sunday for ISF, with our automated systems.”

“The reason we can do this in house and save money with a small team is because Netwin’s system to file entries is so wonderful.  It has checks and balances in place, versus having us key in all of the information, and audits with what carriers do. When we pull an entry up, all of the info is there, and it ties into our proprietary systems.”

The company started with GTKonnect’s Imports system for clearances and customs filings, with notifications in case of any issues. It has since added GTKonnect’s Parts system, designed to maintain product information and assign U.S. customs tariffs to identify parts (The tariffs help determine the duty rates owed on entries and other reporting requirements).

The Parts System, from Netwin Solution’s/GTKonnect is the ‘brains’ of their system.  This system includes ‘arteries’ that run into the company’s proprietary ERP system, as well as the other systems from Netwin’s GTKonnect line.

The company has also since adopted GTKonnect’s ISF System for Importers Security filing or 10 + 2 (a security initiative from customs wherein the importer has to provide information on 10 data elements 24 hours prior to their shipment leaving the origin. The carrier who transports the shipment is required to provide information on two data elements making it 10+2)

Using the GTKonnect software has made the company 100 percent compliant and given it a good relationship with customs.  It has also gained the title of “Trusted Trader” due to the company’s clean format on customs forms, which is made possible through the GTKonnect software.

 

 

 

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Imports

SDCE Global Ports

by sramadas 10. September 2013 20:00

Netwin Systems COO Discusses Global Trade Challenges in Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine

Anand Raghavendran, COO of Netwin Solutions, discussed some of the challenges that companies face when shipping from global ports with Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s editor Barry Hochfeld. What are the difficulties that companies encounter when shipping from international ports?   From duties, taxes, delays, etc., what should your company be aware of?

National and Port Specific Regulations

Port regulations require that any company moving cargo from a port has to comply with all the laws pertaining to that geography and nation. Companies should be aware of permits and clearance needs for that region, as well as specific documentation that has to be created to comply with all the export needs for that port.

Political and Labor Conditions

Changes to political establishments and labor disputes generally cause disruption to cargo movements, and companies have to be wary of such conditions.

Global Trade Regulations

Companies involved in global trade have to meet the requirements of both source and destination countries in addition to any other transship countries. Customs declarations, duties, taxes and other fee payments vary based on the countries, and can be complex and challenging to manage.

Security and Threat Conditions

Companies should be well aware of the threat level situations of each region/port and things that may affect ultimately the security of the cargo and in turn their ability to meet the market demands.

Advance Filing

Advanced filing needs should also be considered.  Most countries are mandating advanced filing of shipment details before the cargo can leave the foreign ports. Ensuring information accuracy, availability and confirming to the filing windows are critical.
 

Some Relief…

A number of positive trends are simultaneously helping to relieve many of the challenges, says Anand.  For example, with harmonized customs regulations, the harmonized system for tariff classification and world customs framework governing the customs and trade regulations has helped countries move towards a common approach to global trade regulations management. However, this does not completely alleviate the complexities and flavors specific to each country. Security initiatives such as C-TPAT (to mitigate security risks and proactively manage and control risks and threats associated with its partners and supply chains) are also being adopted by countries and being mutually recognized by others.
Specialist service providers and technology, offering a collaborative platform for a company and its partners to co-exist and share data and information, can help in streamlining the challenges related to complex regulatory filing and documentation needs specific to each country.

For more, see the full story, “Navigating the Global Trade Maze” in Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s June 18 issue:

http://www.sdcexec.com/article/10953495/international-shipping-presents-supply-chain-with-an-intricacy-and-complexity-all-its-own

 

 

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Journal of Commerce & World Trade 100

by balajib 10. September 2013 17:30

NetwinSolutions’ Anand Raghavendran in Journal of Commerce & World Trade 100

August was a busy and productive month for COO Anand Raghavendran. Beyond the amazing things he is doing for Netwin Solutions each and every day, we are happy to share with you two articles by Raghavendran that have been published in Journal of Commerce and World Trade 100.

Journal of Commerce features an article written by Raghavendran in which he discusses the need for implementing an effective and secure trade plan. Raghavendran provides tips and tools in order to plan, execute and monitor a successful global trade strategy in a time when the threat of terrorism continues to build and new alerts are consistently being issued.

Take a look at Raghavendran’s full article here to learn more about tracking every partner, potential threats and aspects of each shipment; container handling; employee background checks; and information technology security measures to make something that may seem overwhelming a step-by-step process with the proper tools in place to be successful.

Article excerpt:

First, it’s important to gather the right information and turn it into intelligence. This can be done in a variety of ways: sending questionnaires to the manufacturing plants; hiring a consultant who can work with the plants in gathering the information; or visiting the plant and gathering and auditing the information on site. Collecting certain information will help determine the areas of risk with partners and create proper actions to mitigate potential security hazards. 

Here is a sample question: Do you inspect all incoming and outgoing containers to make sure they haven’t been tampered with? If the response is “No,” then that’s a serious risk. If that’s the case, make sure you create a follow-up plan to ensure the plant fixes this loophole so the supply chain is secure.

On a different topic for World Trade 100, Raghavendran addresses the topic of whether a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) might be a good fit for your company in his article. There are many economic and logistical values for setting up an FTZ, such as enabling companies to pay lower duty rates, deferring customs duties, taxes and fees, as well as helping to save money through the consolidation of transactions.

Raghavendran takes readers through the many benefits and details of an FTZ, and different factors to consider when thinking of setting up an FTZ. Make sure to read the full article here and read the excerpt below.

Article excerpt on just one of the considerations for an FTZ:

Are you assembling goods in the United States, and could you benefit from inverted tariffs? Inverted tariffs exist when the duty rate for the overall finished good is lower than the duty rate of the component parts (the operator can pay the duties at the rate of the finished good for all imported items that constitute the finish goods). Therefore, by manufacturing finished goods within an FTZ, American importers can take advantage of the inverted tariff duty rate, which could result in substantial savings based on the commodities.

For the others, please see the full article.

Is there a global trade topic you would like to know more about?

Drop us a line at sales@netwinsolutions.com

 

 

 

 

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