Global Supply Chain

Global Trade Compliance - Affordability

Ned Blinick

Co-Founder, 3rdwave

I just attended the AAEI conference and heard a refrain that I have heard now since "forever"...or so it seems:

Trade Compliance solutions are too expensive, too time consuming to implement and require too many IT resources that can not be justified. I understand that this is a generally accepted impression but I have to say that this is no longer a universal truth.

At the risk of being self-serving, there are many companies that deliver a global trade compliance capability that is very affordable, even for small importers and exporters - and 3rdwave is one of them. It is easy to implement - it can be implemented in a matter of weeks - and, it requires very little IT support throughout its lifecycle. The dirty little secret is that the functionality within these applications is that they often have better functionality than the bigger players.Oh, one other important point - it can be acquired with very limited risk to your organization.When we went about designing this iteration of 3rdwave, we looked long and hard at what we wanted to deliver to our clients. The bottom line was we wanted to deliver a solution that would make trade compliance much more simple to execute, be very user friendly, be very affordable, and be able to be implemented with minimal IT resources.To do this we looked at the needs of people executing trade compliance, the technology that was available to develop and deliver solutions (the Internet), and how people actually relate to the system.What trade compliance people need:Functionality - without getting into the specifics, all trade compliance solutions need to be able to deliver the functionality that people need to do their trade compliance job. Without the functionality the software provider is not in the game. It means a central repository - no spreadsheets - to allow them to manage their product masters for CBP and PGAs. It means having an account master and the ability to ensure that they are screened adequately so that they are business compliant. It means supporting the preparation of documentation and files to support either an import or export filing. It means supporting documentation management. It means providing visibility into the status of files so that they can be managed effectively and within the constraints imposed by CBP and the PGAs. It means having the supporting capability to allow the compliance professional to do their job.However, given that every trade compliance application has the functionality required, what is the biggest reason that we hear from companies for not having really great trade compliance solutions? Cost and IT resources. OK, that is 2 reasons.IT resources are always a challenge. They are usually committed to large, high visibility projects that take higher priority than either GTM or Trade Compliance. They are usually fully booked doing enterprise stuff - ERP replacement or extensions; finance; inventory optimization; management reporting; etc. - and need to be booked well in advance. In order to get their attention and on-going support requires major planning and justification. Both are difficult to achieve.So 3rdwave is designed to really use minimal IT resources. It is a cloud based solution. It is hosted on our very secure site in a location of your choosing. This means that from a network, hardware and maintenance perspective we do all the support and IT doesn't need to be involved. The only things that we really need IT for is to set up the initial gateways for data to flow into and out of the enterprise systems. To do this, 3rdwave provides simple templates and APIs so that it really doesn't require much initial IT time and even less on and on-going basis.Cost - and the approval process are usually the other major hurdle. Most GTM and Trade Compliance solutions are expensive to acquire and maintain. This requires that in order to acquire them there needs to be major management consideration and buy-in. These are often in conflict with other major budget challenges and frankly don't rate high on the management and budget agendas.3rdwave GTM and Trade Compliance solutions are really easy to acquire. We have done a lot to eliminate the risk associated with acquiring our solutions and have scaled the pricing of the solutions so that they are easy on any company's budget. In fact, for a very little amount of money down (really this is a "skin in the game" down payment) any company can get 3rdwave with virtually no implementation risk. The total cost of implementation is usually very affordable and it can be rolled into the very affordable monthly subscription. And a final point - there is no long term commitment contracts.We want every importer or exporter to be able to achieve best-in-class global supply chain capability and we have designed 3rdwave to be easy to acquire and easy to use. If you would like more information or to schedule a demo, please shoot us an email at or visit us at