According to Aberdeen Group’s Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) research, more than 88% of companies reported they are currently shipping across borders. In addition, our study revealed that 82% are “considering nearshoring or reshoring at this time” to reduce tariff and landed cost, in addition to facilitating quicker delivery for growing omni-channel volumes.

We also discovered that top performers are delivering superior metrics, in part, because they are experts in addressing customer-centric needs in today’s device-connected, omni-channel era. Best-in-Class companies are already reaping the benefits that re-shoring and Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) can deliver. They also realize the best way to take advantage of these opportunities is to create a Strategic Prescriptive Sourcing Optimization Program.

In this article, we want to understand the specific automation and collaboration features now available within global trade management (GTM) solutions. We start by defining the Automation Leaders as those with some to high levels of cross-functional automation and compare them to Automation Followers, those with mostly manual process automation.


From the metrics listed in Table 1, Automation Leaders demonstrate better performance and superior Metrics/ROI across several categories. In addition to the key ROI metrics in Table 1, the Automation Leaders are 2.5 times as likely to report an improvement in the overall effectiveness of the trade compliance functions vs prior year (for example, reduced supply chain risk and/or costs, increased staff productivity/effectiveness, or improved trade relations with government or trading partners). These gaps in performance are significant, particularly in today’s global market where supporting omni-channel same- and next-day delivery flows is critical.

Now we look at specific capabilities of the top performers, the Automation Leaders, those that are the most highly automated.


From the figure above, we see that there is a stark disparity gap between the automation maturity level of the Leaders and Followers, and the corresponding degree of data intensity and complexity for descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive optimization. For processes that are more data intense and complex, “mostly manual” levels of automation are simply insufficient to adequately compete. Additionally, tight interaction and integration to the systems of record for product hierarchies and costs, as well as BOM and inventory segmentation by origin-destination class are base requirements.

For a closer look at the new GTM capabilities available to supply chain organizations today, read the full report.

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