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Analysis

Customs and global trade management benchmarking survey report

Untapped potential in international trade and customs

The management of customs and global trade compliance represents a vital function for businesses that import and export goods around the world. To keep pace with an evolving global trade regulatory landscape in an era of increasingly complex supply chain operations, companies require strong global trade compliance processes.

Challenges and opportunities facing customs and international trade compliance managers

This Customs and global trade management benchmarking survey report examines how companies of different sizes in various industries have managed their import and export compliance requirements and have approached potential duty and efficiency savings considerations. The data and information presented herein were gathered from the following three sources:

  • Quantitative data obtained via an online survey of 121 customs and global trade management professionals that explored specific questions pertaining to import and export management, including inter alia:
    • Staffing, resource management, and organizational structure,
    • The role and impact of global trade management automation, and
    • The pursuit and management of duty and other cost-saving programs.
  • Qualitative information gathered during a benchmarking results workshop from a diverse group of customs and global trade professionals from various industries who have been engaged in the day-to-day management of import and export compliance for their organizations, and
  • The observations of Deloitte’s customs and global trade specialists experienced in working with global companies across industries in the development of their customs and global trade management programs.

The examination of these three sources of data and information in this Customs and global trade management benchmarking survey report offers a multidimensional view of the challenges and opportunities facing customs and global trade managers today. The results also provide a baseline for future, targeted follow-on surveys to be conducted by Deloitte that will seek deeper insights into the specific global trade management trends highlighted in this report.

Compelling findings from the survey

Some specific takeaways from Deloitte’s Customs and global trade management benchmarking survey report include:

  • Trade compliance functions across industries are often understaffed and underfunded, potentially creating regulatory noncompliance risks that may result in fines, penalties, and other liabilities.
  • Although organizational reporting lines vary widely by industry and company size, the greatest number of customs and global trade compliance functions tended to report up through two primary functional areas: supply chain/logistics and legal/regulatory compliance. Interestingly, however, over 75 percent of respondents believed that their function would be more effective if it were to report into a different functional area within their organization.
  • Mid-career salaries of trade compliance personnel were fairly standard across industries, with larger companies tending to pay more.
  • Automated global trade management systems were being used by 54 percent of respondents to establish an enterprise-wide, single source of trade data that supports compliance management and improvements, while capturing cost savings.
  • Three categories of programs—free trade agreements/trade preference programs; duty drawback; and bonded warehouses/free trade zones/free trade areas—were viewed as providing companies with the greatest potential for duty savings. However, understaffing, and an absence of easily retrievable data and reporting capabilities, often prevent companies from taking full advantage of these possible opportunities.
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