To celebrate International Customs Day, we wanted to provide you with our Top 5 Trade Lessons for 2022!
- Be Resilient | At the end of 2020, I believed that 2021 would be the year of Supply Chain Resiliency. Year after year of turmoil from Brexit, trade wars, and the pandemic has taught us that the single-sourcing model and "just in time" inventories, that are thinner than those old paper bills of lading, might be a thing of the past. Remember that retooling supply chains and ensuring that your trade compliance programs are incorporated into them takes some time. New Free Trade Agreements, Drawback programs, and export controls, among other issues, must be considered. Much of the work that began in 2021 will spill over into 2022.
- Be Flexible | I think many in the trade learned to embrace flexibility. I don't mean that half the industry is now doing yoga in their bedrooms during conference calls, though that may be the case. I mean that many of our supply chains simply have not worked in the traditional sense in so long that one has merely to learn to roll with the punches. We have seen incredible space constraints, chip shortages, lockdowns, regulatory barriers, WFH, then to the office and back to WFH, as well as worker shortages. However, we persevered. We changed our habits, our buying patterns, and our priorities. Procurement strategies adapted, origins changed. Some of us can now touch our toes.
- Be Empathetic | This may be up for debate in some circles, but along with our newly found flexibility, I think many of us learned to be more empathetic, certainly on the service side. I can speak from experience that everyone is trying extremely hard under these challenging circumstances. There are moments of frustration and, certainly, delays, but also an undercurrent that we are all in this together.
- Be Creative | "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" is an old proverb that has proven to be true. As the challenges of the last few years assailed us, many had to get very creative. We saw companies charter bulk vessels, reroute cargo networks around bottlenecks, and put a lot more investment into near-sourcing entire factories. These changes created new regulatory challenges that needed to be understood and overcome, from valuation to classification to Free Trade Zones. We looked to build new systems and utilize new technologies. I think this will change our supply chain DNA in some significant ways. As we go into 2022, there is a lot of exciting new tech in the supply chain world like the Internet of Things, BlockChain, and Machine Learning, all of which will slowly start to change the way we do business in the coming years. Keep an eye on my favorite, 3D printing… the Customs implications of it are pretty interesting.
- Be Knowledgeable | Human Capital has proven to be even more valuable in today's world. The pandemic will surely end, but there will forever be more challenges on the horizon. Whether it be geopolitical risks or something as sudden as an underwater volcano, trade will continue to be challenged, and those challenges will be met with resilient, flexible, empathetic, and creative professionals.
So for everyone in the industry, Happy International Customs Day from your friends at Tradewin. We're here to help.