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Customs and foreign trade - combination of software and consulting

International trade and customs regulations are complex. Thorsten Thelitz, Head of the PwC Customer Service Center, explains why users should value individual advice.
E-3 Magazine
July 23, 2020
Interview: Inconsistent data simply costs money
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

With a digital customs and foreign trade system like SAP GTS, companies can automate their customs and foreign trade processes. Why should customers spend extra money on external support?

Thorsten Thelitz: SAP GTS maps customs and foreign trade law processes. Nevertheless, we observe a great need for content-related consulting at many companies, as the associated laws and regulations are constantly changing.

Because this is the case, we keep all the necessary competencies on hand to provide comprehensive consulting services. Users of SAP GTS should make sure that they are well positioned in terms of the required competencies. Or they should look for a suitable service provider.

What can such a service do?

Thelitz: A digital solution such as SAP GTS can check lists and agreements automatically, but these must be entered into the system as quickly as possible beforehand.

However, the content is published in various places and the data usually also has to be prepared by corresponding providers. Users should therefore make sure that their provider relieves them of the burden of handling this data, including uploading.

It is also important to maintain an emergency contact for system failures. Because experience shows that questions about the system arise unannounced.

Customs and foreign trade - combination of software and consulting

You offer such services at PwC. What specific topics and issues do your advisors support clients with?

Thelitz: Especially for user problems as well as current information about foreign trade, customs clearance and customs procedures. We also answer questions on import and export, customs law and customs auditing or export control.

We can draw on a worldwide network of international experts and thus find solutions. We record customer inquiries via a ticket system and process them within clearly defined response times.

Through the system, we can also ensure that the request is always handled by the consultant with the best possible expertise.

That sounds quite expensive. Isn't it cheaper for a company to build up these competencies itself?

Thelitz: Building up this level of expertise is certainly not impossible, but it is very time-consuming and ultimately incurs more costs than finding a solution via an external provider.

After all, smooth customs and foreign trade processes require specialists from a wide range of fields: Customs and foreign trade specialists, SAP experts for GTS and SAP Basis consultants.

All these specialists are expensive and difficult to find on the labor market. In addition, the effort is not worthwhile for every company, because many only need these skills selectively - or even as vacation replacements. That's why we recommend that customers rely on a combination of software and consulting.

Thank you very much for the interview.

More information about SAP GTS:

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