Global Supply Chain

Simplifying Global Trade...Really???...Really!!!

Ned Blinick

Co-Founder, 3rdwave

Most software solution providers talk about how their solutions simplify the activity they are designed for, or, the problem they are designed to solve. When a claim becomes common place it loses its meaning and impact and this is what has happened to simplicity. So in order to really understand whether a solution truly simplifies the activity for which it is designed it is important to define what simplicity means.We define simplicity against 3 criteria: Usability, Acquisition, and Implementation. Ideally, a software solution that claims to simplify an activity or problem will be simple on all 3 criteria, but at a minimum 2 criteria - Usability and Implementation. So let's be specific when we are discussing Simplifying GTM - Global Trade Management.

  1. Usability - for a GTM solution to be simple, it must support the user in doing their work more efficiently and effectively. Operators and managers in GTM are most often too thinly stretched in carrying out their daily tasks. Much of their time is spent doing manual tasks that can be easily automated and result in a significant uptick in productivity. To deliver this productivity enhancement, the GTM solution must provide focused process control so that the user can continue to work without interruption while reducing manual data input and directly accessing the information needed to respond to the job at hand. Simplicity is being able to capture all the required GTM details in one spot and have it available on demand, anywhere, anytime.
  2. Managing the lifecycle of a product from Purchase Order to Receipt (Imports), or Sales Order through Shipment (Exports) is very complex and time-consuming. Managing it without proper tools results in inefficiencies in manpower, financial and physical resources. GTM simplicity means:
  3. Capturing the status of orders at the supplier to ensure order preparedness, and managing the disparate service providers to ensure delivery execution requires visibility across the entire import supply chain.
  4. Providing visibility and track and trace into all shipments, regardless of mode or service provider, from booking to delivery.
  5. Managing customs and government agencies completely whether trough a customs broker, freight forwarder, or as a self-filer.
  6. A comprehensive total landed cost capability to provide cost accuracy and supplier and service provider invoice auditing.
  7. Product life cycle provenance visibility
  8. User defined reporting and KPI control
  9. Controlling internal processes and information while managing internal stakeholders, customers, suppliers, external service providers, and Customs and PGAs require exceptional ability and competence. What we hear most often is that controlling processes is a real challenge and too frequently not, or poorly, automated and therefore GTM is not well managed. Eliminating this complexity by providing the user the ability to respond to requests for information in real-time, execute their daily routines with minimal manual intervention, and have visibility into their external providers (3PLs, carriers, customs brokers and freight forwarders) so that they can measure the performance and audit the work is the measure of simplicity.
  10. Acquisition - acquiring a GTM solution is often low on an organization's IT priority list. Being able to justify a GTM solution should not be difficult. That means that against different measures - cost, contracts, and guarantees - obstacles should be removed. Simplifying the acquisition process should mean:
  11. cost is flexible and scalable. License fees should be minimal, user fees scalable and based on use type, transaction fees are optional and based on usage.
  12. there should be an immediate return on investment. This requires that their be no significant upfront fees.
  13. implementation should be guaranteed. Until the solution goes live, the organization should not be committed to spending for the solution.
  14. no long term contracts. The solution provider should earn your loyalty every day.
  15. Implementation - lifting the burden from the users is a hugely important component of simplifying and successfully delivering a GTM solution. Users are already busy and the last thing they need is to double up on their work during the implementation of a solution. To simplify the implementation your solution provider should have a solution that is:
  16. targeted to GTM to support the needs of the user
  17. highly configurable so that only the functions needed are provided to the user
  18. supported by workflow so that the solution guides the user through the processes and ensures speed and accuracy
  19. is light on IT requirements
  20. quick to implement

To simplify global trade, a solution must be robust and provide all the necessary functional support to allow the user to do their work efficiently and seamlessly. Simplifying global trade management requires a solution that supports the user with workflow, documentation, reporting, speed and accuracy, with minimal manual effort. Lastly, acquisition and the implementation of the solution should be simple.Simplicity means there should be no reasons against acquiring a global trade management solution.About 3rdwave:

3rdwave simplifies global trade through automation. 3rdwave is a GTM platform that delivers total global supply chain visibility, minimizes manual data entry, streamlines business process, and provides contextual information enabling its users to make informed decisions to reduce global supply chain risk. It's a cloud-based platform that requires minimal IT resources for quick implementation. 3rdwave ensures that companies meet the highest levels of GTM execution and Trade Compliance conformance.

Ned Blinick is Chief Product Officer of He has been involved in global trade for too many decades and he loves making the global supply chain simpler for everyone. If you would like to engage with Ned he would really enjoy the opportunity of communicating with you or your boss. He can be reached at (416) 510 8800 ext 234 or at