June 2001 

Getting it together...

Now it's easy to integrate export documentation into a company's current operations

One of the most popular features of Shipping Solutions® 2000 is its new Integration Utility that makes it easy to link the software with your company's accounting, order-entry or ERP system.

Integration provides important benefits to you and your company:

  • It eliminates repetitive data entry. All the information you currently capture in your accounting system can be sent directly to Shipping Solutions 2000 and your export forms.

  • It reduces the chances for mistakes. Every time you retype information, there's a chance you'll type it wrong. Even small typos can slow down an export shipment or cause delays in getting paid.

  • It eliminates the need to maintain identical databases. By linking Shipping Solutions 2000 to your accounting system, you only have to update and maintain one customer list and one product catalog.

  • It safeguards your company. Most accounting and ERP systems have numerous security checks to protect against fraud. By integrating your export documents with such a system, you provide the same security for your international orders.

The Integration Utility was designed to be easy to use. If your accounting system allows you to export data in a comma-delimited format, you should have no difficulty linking it with Shipping Solutions 2000.

Before importing your shipments into Shipping Solutions 2000, you simply run the Integration Utility's two-step setup wizard:

  1. Locate and link the files from your accounting system to the Shipping Solutions 2000 database.

  2. Map the fields from your accounting system to the appropriate fields in Shipping Solutions 2000. Mapping is the process where you tell the software which of your fields should be placed into the equivalent Shipping Solutions fields.

Once this mapping process is complete, the configuration will saved. You won't have to run the setup process again unless you change your file structure or location.

From this point forward, you simply click on the "Import" button within Shipping Solutions 2000 and the program will pull one or more shipments from your accounting system into the software. Depending on how much export-specific data is available in your accounting system, you may have to fill in a few additional fields within Shipping Solutions, and then you are ready to print your export forms.

Visit our web site for a more complete description of the integration process or call Bob Hale, our integration specialist, at 1-888-890-7447.

  Planning the growth of your export department can save time, money and trouble

It's not surprising that exports have become such an important part of the U.S. economy, and companies of all sizes are looking at international markets as a way to expand their businesses. What is surprising is the number of companies that are failing to integrate their export departments with the rest of their business operations.

It's not at all unusual for even large corporations to treat their export departments as a poor stepchild—at best, ignored; at worst, barely tolerated.  These export departments get hand-me-down equipment, are expected to be up and running with little training or staff development, and are required to create their own accounting, order-entry and shipping processes because the requirements of international transactions don't fit within the scope of the company's "normal" business systems.

It's not difficult to see how this can happen. The number of international attendees at trade shows in all industries has been steadily rising for many years. Add to that the ease with which anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world can now find a company's web page. Companies that may never have considered exporting are now receiving requests for quotes and orders from customers around the world.

A company is exposing itself to many dangers when it allows its export department to grow in an independent, haphazard fashion rather than planning the growth and integrating it with existing business systems.

At the very least, duplication of existing systems wastes time and money. Many export departments must reenter data already entered into their companies' accounting or ERP systems to create customs invoices and other export documents. This duplicative data entry also increases the chances for error or fraud.

A poor understanding of the export process can lead to poorly negotiated sales contracts. In international sales, INCOTERMS guide the transaction rather than the Uniform Commercial Code used in domestic sales. And if salespeople don't understand the additional costs and fees associated with an international transaction, profits may end up going to freight forwarders and steamship lines rather than to companies' bottom lines.

Under-trained or poorly trained export staff can result in sales and export shipments that violate U.S. law. Such violations can result in heavy fines, bans on exporting, and even jail time for violators. Visit the Bureau of Export Administration's web site for a list of companies sanctioned for export violations.

Exporting is a great way for a company to grow its business, especially at a time of an economic slowdown in the United States. But the export process should not be taken lightly.

If your company is currently exporting or is about to begin exporting, take a step back and review the entire process.

  1. Does the export staff have the equipment and training necessary to be successful?
  2. Has your company integrated the export process into your current business operations to ensure efficiency and protect against errors and fraud?
  3. Have you aligned yourself with a freight forwarder or international logistics specialist that can answer your questions and help you be successful?

Once you've answered "yes" to all three questions, you've helped position your company to be successful in the international marketplace.

Additional Resources:

Important International Trade Links

 Bureau of Export Administration (BXA)
 Federal Maritime Commission
 NAFTA Customs Website
 U.S. Census Bureau
 U.S. Customs Service
 U.S. Department of Agriculture
 U.S. Department of Treasury

 

General Information


  Do you have questions about the import-export process?  Join the import-export mailing list, post your questions, and get answers from hundreds of international trade professionals from around the world.

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IBT Featured Book:
Uniform Commercial Codes vs. INCOTERMS 2000

New exporters often mistakenly believe that the same trade terms they use within the United States will also work internationally. This mistake can prove costly.

The Uniform Commercial Codes vs. INCOTERMS 2000 book introduces the differences between the trade terms commonly used in U.S. Domestic Trade under the Uniform Commercial Code Article 2, and those used in International Trade developed by the International Chamber of Commerce called INCOTERMS 2000.

It also provides a common-sense explanation of the domestic and international terms and explains the distinct differences between the usage and application of the two types of terms.  

This book puts in plain language why the domestic terms commonly used, such as FOB Origin, Freight Collect, do not work to the seller’s advantage in international sales.  Learn how INCOTERMS 2000 can benefit you and your company when developing international business contracts and agreements.

Don't take a chance on using the wrong trade terms. Call International Business Training today at 1-800-641-0920 and order your copy of the Uniform Commercial Codes vs. INCOTERMS 2000 book today!.

International Business Training Books & Self-Study Courses
Whether you're thinking about expanding your business internationally, you've just made your first international transaction, or you're a seasoned international trader, International Business Training (IBT) can help you gain the knowledge you need to thrive in the growing global economy.

Check out our expanded list of titles that will help your company increase profits, limit your liabilities and cut unwanted expense.

 Alternate Financing  
 Audit & Compliance: Customs
   Modernization Act  
 Drawback Made Easy  
 Exploring International Trade Options
 Export Documentation & Shipping
 Export Letters of Credit & Drafts
 Export Marketing and Sales
 Export Order Processing
 Export Sales Agents & Distributors
 Exporting to Canada: Documentation
   and Procedures  
 FreightDesk Manual
 The IBT Guide to INCOTERMS 2000
 Import Procedures & Documentation
 Int'l Small Business Logistics  
 Mexico Procedures and
   Documentation  
 NAFTA Documentation & Procedures
 Textiles & Wearing Apparel:
   Documentation & Procedures  
 Uniform Commercial Codes vs.
   INCOTERMS 2000  

For more information about any of our export books or self-study courses, just click on any of the titles above, visit our web page at www.i-b-t.net, or call International Business Training at 1-800-641-0920.

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