Integration Point, a provider of real time global trade management solutions, and CEVA Logistics, a supply chain management company, have formed a partnership to provide CEVA Logistic customers with an on-demand workflow solution for importer security filings (ISF), more commonly known as 10+2.

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In the current global economy and political environment, there are two main concerns facing importers, exporters and the vendors who support them. The first is managing cost. The second is remaining competitive.

In global trade terms, savings can be accomplished by managing inventories more carefully, reducing the time of transport, ensuring proper customs paperwork and minimizing tariffs. These opportunities require smart planning by the importer or exporter. They need comprehensive, up-to-date information and easy-to-use tools to make quick, accurate decisions as well as to increase visibility into their supply chain. Information must come from numerous third-party sources and be compiled in a comprehensive manner. The collaboration of the various trade participants and effective tools that support the multiple languages of global trade are critical areas in which I expect to see accelerated progress in 2009.

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If your job is selling consumer electronics components or finished goods, you are likely struggling to close deals amid the most difficult business environment in decades. But take heart. You could be managing your company's supply chain.

Consumer electronics exporters and importers—as well as those in other industries—face a year of compliance and security changes that the International Compliance Professionals Association calls the "most significant" since the 1993 passage of the Customs Modernization Act. At the same time, compliance professionals are being forced to manage with scarcer resources from their cash-strapped companies, knowing all the while that fines, penalties, shipment delays, or forfeitures that may have been routinely dealt with in good economic times will not be blithely ignored in a downturn.

All of this comes at a time when the industry already faces critical time-to-market issues because of its products' high value and risk of obsolescence, and must also cope with precise and particular tariff classifications. "A slight difference in classification can mean a huge difference in the duties that are paid," says Melissa Irmen, vice president, products and strategy for Integration Point Inc., a Charlotte, N.C.-based trade compliance software developer. Integration Point offers a Web-enabled product called "Global Classification" that allows a supplier in, say, Singapore to populate the site with product information for a colleague in the United States to review and determine the appropriate classification, according to Irmen.

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Recently Integration Point offered 5 supply chain risk factors that every organization participating in global trade should watch for. Those suggestions were published in Industry Week. Below is a quick excerpt, for the complete list visit Industry Week.

  • Country of origin: Knowing the location of your supplier's production facilities is important in recognizing their susceptibility to security threats. Countries that are more vulnerable to threats could affect the security of the supplier's plants and could cause delays in your supply chain or compromise the products you receive.
  • Shipment and delivery accuracy: Ensuring that a supplier can deliver supplies consistently and on time is key to assessing the risk they pose to your supply chain.
  • Physical Security: Assessing the physical security is very important, especially in countries where terrorism is on the rise. Inquiring about areas such as the materials used to construct the building, existence of a guard gate.
  • Internal Processes: Soliciting information about a supplier's internal processes provides visibility into not only the security, but also the controls put in place during the manufacturing process.
  • Social and environmental responsibilities: Requesting information on the removal of chemicals used during the manufacturing process, or if the supplier abides by the no child labor law are only two of the important questions in this area.

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Credit 10+2 for driving the Global Trade Management (GTM) growth that many analysts are predicting for 2009. And while many savvy global shippers are turning to it to manage import compliance, a surprising number still aren't sure how they're going to handle the new data demands.

Epson Portland, Inc., is a company that hopes to avoid those "huge problems" when 2009 wraps up and shippers are forced to comply with 10+2 or risk fines and penalties. Based in Portland, Ore., the company manufactures ink cartridges for Epson computer printers, imports from various international locations, and ships to sister companies worldwide. Already using a GTM from Integration Point, the company was beta testing the vendor's on-demand 10+2 solution at press time.

The solution takes electronic data from any supply chain partner able to send it, maps it to the requested data elements, and then provides the filer with a tool to fill in the blanks, if there are any. Using the solution, Epson Portland—which is ultimately responsible for the filing—can either handle the process itself or trust a third-party filer with the task.

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