Importing or exporting? Prepare for Brexit, prepare to STEP UP

After another week of Westminster turmoil, no matter where we stand on the politics, all of us in the import and export business need to make sure we’re best placed to face whatever Brexit is finally agreed.

For businesses large and small, IES is hard at work putting strategies and systems in place to give them the best chance to prosper in the post-Brexit landscape. I thought it would be useful for the readers of this blog if I distilled our advice down to a simple thought, and it’s this: importers and exports need to STEP UP.

STEP UP means reviewing and optimising these six areas of your import and export work.

Security
Training
EDI
Proactivity

Update
Proof

Security:
Are your goods, data and suppliers as secure as they could be? Map and understand your supply chain. Review and risk assessment, log escalate and resolve issues and resolution.

Training
Inform and educate all your import and export team. Have documented plans for succession, absences and stand in.

EDI
Review and implement Electronic Data Interchange, data management, KPIs, records and audits with your appointed Agents, 3Pl’s or representatives. Focus on error reduction and increase workflow efficiency.

Proactivity
Do you have your fingers crossed hoping that an HMRC visit/audit/check won’t result in a tax demand with fines and penalties for non-compliance? By being proactive and finding your own mistakes and volunteering these will significantly reduce the associated fines and build your relationship. It will pay dividends as you become a trusted trader with HMRC.

Update
Review your trading terms, for instance Inco terms, settlement terms, payment terms and MOQ’s. Update where necessary. Review the cost, the classification and the origin of your imported and exported products. Why not consider applying for money saving customs simplifications & authorisations for trade or quality?

Proof
Ensure all import and export documentation is fully auditable and retrievable. Map your processes and maintain a robust audit trail. If HMRC call will you be able to show them everything they ask for?

We’ve been using STEP Up for a few months now and it’s proving a useful tool. If you do try it out, please let me know how it works for you.
As always, we can help with all stages of planning.