This September, American Shipper hosted a webinar covering a topic that many are interested in – but there are few resources are available to address the problem. I’m not saying it was groundbreaking, but for once we were able to openly discuss what c-level executives need to hear to make trade compliance a priority.
If you missed it, you can still watch the recorded webinar online at anytime and download the slides for reference. The webinar was full of great tips to ensure success in raising the profile of your trade compliance department and securing the ever-elusive budget to implement enhancements. Here are four key takeaways that were discussed in the webinar.
What CEO’s Want and Don’t Want
The first step is to to think like an executive, talk like an executive, and walk like an executive. Getting into the mindset of your CEO is critical to be able to explain the importance of trade compliance in relation to his or her priorities.
If you conducted a survey of CEO’s top concerns, I would bet you would not see “Trade Compliance” on that list even once. Why? It’s just not on their radar when they’re trying to please shareholders, raise profits, and make headlines. That’s why it’s up to you to explain how trade compliance helps accomplish those goals, while preventing negative results like sales to bad guys and bad press.
How do global companies succeed?
Just like everyone else succeeds – they have a plan in place! To create a strategic GTM roadmap, first identify key systems objectives, such as integrating multiple systems onto one centralized platform, ensuring import and export compliance, and minimizing business continuity risk.
Then, benchmark and establish improvement objectives. A great (and free) source of benchmarks is the new AberdeenGroup Report “Global Trade Management: Strategies for Mastering Trade Compliance and Supply Chain Complexity.”
Finally, it takes 5 steps to create a roadmap:
- Develop consistent reference data
- Establish baseline visibility across the organization
- Achieve global control
- Continuously improve through business intelligence data
- Reduce future costs by planning new initiatives.
The deep effects of global trade on your company’s bottom line
One of the most surprising facts revealed during the webinar is that you may be the highest ranking person in your company who “gets” global trade. If you are a director or VP, there probably isn’t a single person above you that can manage the company’s trade activities, and even analysts and administrators are not far behind.
Leverage your knowledge to communicate the importance of global trade on your company’s profitability. Don’t emphasize penalties, however, as scare tactics don’t always work to get your way. You ultimately want your trade compliance department to be seen as a strategic initiative to cut costs in the long run rather than prevent potential fines.
Speaking to CEO’s in their language
Putting yourself in you CEO’s shoes, analyze what your corporate history has been, what the CEO has prioritized in the past, and the potential agendas of the others in the boardroom. C-level executives aren’t familiar with all the complex regulations and hundreds of acronyms we use every day when talking about trade compliance, so “translate” the key benefits of an improved trade compliance program into terms everyone understands, and no one can turn down.
For example, stating that you could “decrease the cycle clearance time” is not as impactful to an executive as being able to state, “We will achieve cost savings through decreased clearance cycle time by enhancing our trade compliance program.” The key is stating the end result: Cost savings, improved customer retention, or higher margins.
Our expert panel discusses best strategies for compliance professionals to gain executive-level cooperation and sponsorship of new compliance initiatives. This webinar, hosted by American Shipper magazine, and presented by Management Dynamics and BPE, is a must-see to help you get the attention your trade compliance department deserves from your C-level executives.