A quiet revolution has been transforming global trade in recent years. It is a revolution of technology. Organizations have begun embracing new technologies that increase efficiency and maximize compliance. Those new technologies are now even more important, thanks to COVID.
The start of the COVID crisis ushered in economic uncertainty at levels not seen since the Second World War. Global production ground to a halt as manufacturers and logistics providers shut down. Even now, as the world recovers, things are not the same.
A single infected worker can shut down an entire container port. One or two company employees testing positive for coronavirus can idle manufacturing for weeks. In the midst of all the turmoil, compliance with global trade regulations is still required. Organizations cannot ignore the rules and blame COVID.
Doing More with Less
A chief purpose of deploying global trade technology is doing more with less. Simply put, organizations need to be more efficient. They need to be able to handle routine compliance tasks in ways that do not depend so heavily on a stable workforce. After all, management never knows from one day to the next if employees will test positive.
Customization is the key here, according to Ohio-based Vigilant Global Trade Services. The experts at Vigilant say that modern global trade technology is highly customizable. They say it is possible for organizations to pick and choose technology components and then fully integrate them via a centralized system.
When organizations have the ability to adapt technology to their particular needs, they are able to do things more efficiently. They are able to leverage technology to increase productivity with fewer labor requirements.
Automating Global Trade
Doing more with less leads organizations to the concept of automating global trade functions. For example, a lot of effort goes into classifying imports and exports. Every product has to be classified and coded. Product volume has to be reported as well. Producing all the numbers is time-consuming and subject to mistakes.
Automating classification, to the degree that it is possible, saves time and reduces errors. Likewise, every task an organization can automate is one less task to worry about. That’s why technology manufacturers are so heavily invested in coming up with automated solutions.
More automation means less reliance on human activity. Automated tasks can continue even if some staff members are out with COVID. Ultimately, this leads to fewer interruptions in the global supply chain.
Changing Global Economic Activity
As organizations have continued working hard toward full recovery, global trade has gradually increased. Indeed, the WTO’s global trade barometer recently rose to a level not seen since 2016. Economic activity around the world is much stronger now than it was at this time in 2020.
That said, data also suggest that growth is decelerating right now. Even though things are ahead of where they were in 2020, the rate of growth isn’t as fast. The WTO suggests we may have already peaked. What does that mean for implementing new technology?
If things slow down through the end of the summer and into the fall, organizations might have the opportunity to step back and take a breath. They could use a few months of slower activity to further investigate new global trade technologies.
Those choosing to upgrade their technologies could spend the winter months making plans, then go full bore with implementation in the spring. Of course, all of this is speculation. It is clear that COVID has made new global trade technology more important than ever before. But how and when that technology will be adopted is anyone’s guess.