Supply chain problems are nothing new to importers. Before the invention of the container, an importer could expect to lose some of their goods due to pilfering by dock workers or other people that would touch the products along the way to their end destination. Shipments would be loaded and unloaded multiple times, increasing the chance shipments would not be complete upon arrival.
Things have changed a great deal since the invention of the container, which provides security for shipments and allows importers to ship more types of goods to the United States from all over the world. Today, frozen shrimp are sent from Vietnam in refrigerated containers and chemicals are sent in sealed tanks from India. Just fifty years ago, none of this was possible.
However, importers still face issues. From Customs' holds on perishable goods to untrustworthy suppliers, today importers have the ability to use technology to overcome many of these challenges. Instead of goods walking out of a container, companies now provide seal technology to lock in goods. Some importers are even utilizing RFID tags and GPS chips to track shipments along the way.
The most advanced importers are going beyond U.S. Customs' online interface to track imports. While the government's system allows importers to view their own Customs entries in great detail, using AMS data tools, like Zepol’s TradeIQ
, lets them see their competitors' and suppliers' entries as well. This provides them with invaluable real time intelligence into their markets.
The key to using any import technology is to be able to prove a return on investment to stake holders within your organization. Some of the time, it is very easy to do, for example winning a judgment against a counterfeiter or disreputable supplier, but it can also be difficult to show a dollar value on the intelligence that was gained and what part that played into either a cost savings or revenue generating project. It is our goal here at Zepol
to ensure our customers are able to find this return, but also exceed their expectations.