Even manufacturers that rely on brokers will need to streamline and automate their internal processes in order to take cost and complexity out of 10+2 compliance. But, though automation is the end goal, most manufacturers start off with a manual, spreadsheet-driven process.

"Many of our customers started early on feeling their way through their supply chains to understand where the data was," Melissa Irmen, vice president of product & strategy at Integration Point, Inc. says. "They would start with a manual process of collecting e-mails, invoices, faxes - wherever they could find the data - then key it into the system."

Many manufacturers then begin to automate gradually, finding trade lanes that have advance shipment notices (ASN) and other commercially available data in electronic form and combining that with data in their classification database, Irmen says. Eventually, they include those elements in their electronic data feeds, modifying programs that communicate with suppliers or brokers to incorporate those additional data elements so that they can be fully automated.

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