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Compliance Training: Like a Birthday at Work but You Don't Have to Sing

Posted by Michael Bellezza

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8/20/14 12:00 PM

18-training-081914Over the last two weeks, requests for training seminars and workshops have really accelerated.  It might be our charming speakers, the nice weather, or perhaps, unbeknownst to me of course, that they are serving sangria at lunch.  Regardless of the reason I thought I would touch on some of the unsung benefits of HTS Classification training. 

If you are in compliance, at some point in your career you have asked an engineer for the type of screw in a machine.  Maybe you asked what it was made out of, or the head type, and they looked at you quizzically and likely ignored your request.  They may have given you the look that said… “Those regulatory people must be fun at parties...”  (We are, but only because the Tariff drives us to drink).  For those lucky people with apparel classification, we need to know the thread count… really we do. 

No matter what company you go to, getting the required information to classify is always difficult as you ultimately need help from the engineers or the buyers.  However, if you can get them in a room and explain to them how the tariff works, how the GRIs function, and why you are asking these seemingly draconian questions, I promise you that the next time you ask an innocent yet important question like “Does that umbrella have a telescopic shaft?” they will not roll their eyes.  In fact, they just might appreciate that the difference in duty is 8.2% and get excited.  The next time you ask an engineer what a specific actuator does, maybe he’ll understand that it can go 8412, 8483, 8501, 8505, or 8803.  We find wearing a pocket protector and making slide-rule jokes helps, but we encourage you to find your own way to fit in. 

Ultimately, Compliance is in everyone’s interest and, in one way or another, makes its way into everyone’s sandbox from logistics to legal.  We spend countless hours helping customers with Prior Disclosures because they either didn’t understand general use provisions and classified everything as “parts of; other; other; other; other” or worse, they simply stopped trying because they couldn’t get the support and information they needed.  Big companies get fines in the millions. 

A general understanding and appreciation of how the cogs that make your company run actually work will always generate efficiencies… there is always an “ah ha” moment where the light goes on simply because you are all in a room together talking through your process. And it can be fun.  Just bring a dynamic speaker (we rent these), and if all else fails, bring cupcakes.    

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Written by Michael Bellezza

Before joining Tradewin in 2010 as Principal of the US Consulting Practice, Michael had worked for Expeditors for 8 years in a wide variety of management positions including Customs Brokerage Operations, Import & Export Compliance, Freight Forwarding, and Supply Chain Analytics. Michael is responsible for all aspects of Tradewin's global consulting practices in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. He has a talent for bringing common sense solutions to complex regulatory scenarios. He specializes in building compliance programs, providing educational seminars and workshops, advising risk mitigation, and implementing duty reduction programs. Michael is a U.S. Licensed Customs Broker. He is IATA/FIATA certified and is a member of the International Compliance Professionals Association. He is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in Economics.