What should good GTM software offer to businesses?

Global trade management (GTM) software should be an essential asset for any business involved in world trade. Having a single solution to centralize critical import, export and supply chain activities streamlines everyday business activities, makes sure firms are in compliance with local and international rules and regulations, and provides complete transparency throughout the supply chain.

But what should these software tools include, and how do they ensure importers and exporters can effectively navigate a complex global environment?

The benefits of GTM software

GTM software offers a range of advantages to businesses. Firstly, it allows them to greatly streamline their operations and ensure consistency throughout the organization. In turn, this leads to major efficiency gains that free up the time of employees and results in much reduced costs.

It also makes it much easier to retain compliance with customs regimes around the world. Having a single solution that can guarantee classifications are assigned correctly and all required information is automatically sent to the relevant authorities reduces the risk of paperwork delays impacting shipments and cuts down on errors such as inaccurate, incomplete or duplicated information being submitted.

Elements any GTM software should include

A comprehensive GTM software solution should provide companies with several critical elements, all of which work together to minimize compliance risk and reduce expenses for importers and exporters. These include the following:


Classification tools ensure that firms are always able to apply the correct codes to their goods, regardless of where in the world they are shipping to and from. This should include both Harmonized System numbers and any country-specific codes that may be required in order to track goods.

This is essential if firms are to pay the correct duties on imports, maintain compliance with licensing or quota requirements and keep full visibility throughout their supply chain. Any errors in assigning classifications can lead to major delays in shipping being cleared by customs or result in financial penalties, which can be avoided with the right technology solutions.

Customs filing

Automated customs filing solutions are another key component of effective GTM software. These should be able to adapt to the unique requirements of any given country or territory, as well as take into account any specific customs regimes, free trade zones, duty drawbacks, processing trade and other relief from duties. Being able to do this from one place also removes the need for a complex system of country-specific solutions, which may each have their own requirements and be hard to integrate effectively.

The ability to connect directly with electronic filing solutions for customs around the world provides direct data exchange with both authorities and brokers. This greatly expedites the filing of essential documentation, as well as boosting transparency by automatically creating a fully auditable trail of activities held in a single central location.

Export control management

Ensuring compliance with export control requirements is another vital part of international trade, as the consequences for businesses that fail to meet their responsibilities can be severe. However, this is no easy task, as there are thousands of restricted lists around the world that shipments will need to be checked against, and these are constantly evolving as new names and restrictions are added and lifted.

Export bans, limitations on dual-use items, controlled party lists and sanctions all need to be taken into account. This can quickly become overwhelming, so the ability to manage this automatically through GTM software is essential in ensuring firms remain compliant.

Origin calculation

Determining rules of origin is among the most complex parts of international trade, particularly for manufactured goods that include large numbers of individually-sourced components. However, ensuring you're providing the right information is critical if firms are to take full advantage of free trade agreements and other international trade rules.

As well as making it easy to identify which items may be eligible for tax relief under FTAs, this also helps firms maintain control of suppliers around the globe, automatically handle required paperwork and ensure all components are fully traceable.

Data analytics

There's more to an effective solution than compliance, however. Advanced data analytics are also a must for importers and exporters. This can provide critical insight into patterns, emerging trends, opportunities and potential problems in your supply chain. Having this available on-demand, in an easy-to-understand, visual format is therefore essential.

What to look for in a GTM provider

A good GTM software solution should be able to integrate effectively with other critical applications, including supply chain management software, enterprise resource planning tools and other mission-critical infrastructure.

The ability to connect directly with digital customs portals around the world is another must-have. Many countries have strict requirements for connectivity, so tools that comply with as wide a variety of solutions as possible reduce the need to invest in multiple dedicated systems. In addition, comprehensive analytics and reporting tools are vital in boosting transparency and auditability.

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