When it comes to export compliance, creating export documents, or, really, anything in the exporting realm, it’s definitely possible to do the work manually. If you’re conscientious, thorough and pay attention to the universe surrounding what you’re trying to do—including changes in export regulations and general news—you certainly can do anything manually.
If you have some way to automate your processes by using a system you trust that has proven itself to be effective, it can make your work more accurate, precise, consistent and reproducible—no matter who is carrying out the tasks.
And that’s what export compliance software can do for you. Here are three standout reasons why it’s a big deal.
Most export compliance decisions are not black-and-white answers. In fact, there’s rarely a 100% match when it comes to compliance. Export compliance software helps you quickly make decisions when you’re faced with gray areas by providing both the likelihood of a match—whether it’s 100%, 80%, or 60%—and supporting information that makes the reasoning behind that match easier to understand.
This is useful for restricted party screenings, when you’re looking up product classification, and for determining if a license is required for your products. Our article How Does Restricted Party Screening Software Work? gives you an in-depth look at how this process works and why export compliance software is a better alternative to manually checking hundreds of lists for every export.
Software gives your entire team a repeatable process.
Preparation is the key to export compliance. Specifically, once you've identified the steps you need to take in order to ensure compliance at your company, you need to establish a formal process so you have a system in place for every single export transaction. Practically, that means creating a repeatable, documentable system every person in your company can use for every transaction. We call this an Export Management and Compliance Program (EMCP), and it is a crucial component of your exporting business.
Why? Because if you haven’t written down your company’s export procedures and you’re not documenting that they’re being followed, chances are that something is slipping through the cracks. Those things could cost your company money and make it liable for stiff fines and harsh penalties for unauthorized exports.
Once you’ve created your EMCP, your company has to actually do the work. If you’re the person who normally handles compliance, this may not be a big thing to you—you know what’s expected and what you need to provide, so you simply get it done. But what happens when you’re out of the office and one of your colleagues does the work?
When you have an EMCP and export compliance software working together, you don’t have to worry that your process will break down—anyone in the company can follow the process you’ve put into place and use your company’s export compliance software, and you can rest assured that the results will be the same.
Software captures the effort your team puts into export compliance.
The third part of what makes export compliance software a big deal is that it gives you an audit trail: Your whole team is able to document everything that’s done for each transaction, and everyone on the team can see it.
This is useful for internal and external audits and, should the situation ever arise, for enforcement agencies that want to see the paper trail for all of your goods. Export compliance software gives you a complete, unified look at your whole company’s compliance procedures from beginning to end and presents it in a way that everyone sees the same thing. It captures the effort you’re putting into your export compliance and shows that you’re serious about staying on the right side of regulations.
Here’s a concrete example: With export compliance software, you can quickly demonstrate to auditors or an enforcement agency that you’re doing a restricted party screening for every shipment or you’re checking your products every time an HTS code changes, for example. All of these steps are recorded, and you can document it quickly to the Office of Export Enforcement.
Put It All Together with Export Compliance Software
Export compliance software like Shipping Solutions helps you make more informed decisions about who you’re shipping to, gives your team a repeatable process anyone can follow, and provides an audit trail that shows you’re doing your due diligence.
It’s not only the easier way to a successful exporter, it’s the best way.
Shipping Solutions' Export Compliance Module leverages technology to help you stay compliant while completing your export paperwork quickly and more accurately. Download a free trial to see how Shipping Solutions software will help you ensure compliance.