As a result of major advancements in both policy and technology over several decades, international trade and foreign investment have become central to overall economic growth. Governments have successfully negotiated international agreements that are responsible for reducing many long-standing barriers to trade and foreign investment, ultimately promoting the flow of goods and services between nations. Due to the elimination of many different barriers to trade and investment, large corporations have established foreign factories as well as production and marketing activities with foreign partners, essentially creating a true borderless economy. In addition to foreign policies, emerging technologies have also played a key role in the globalization of the world’s economy by making it easier than ever to communicate with people across the world. Specifically, advancements in information technologies have provided many with access to a variety of tools for gathering information to help identify and pursue various economic opportunities. Consequently, globalization has made it attractive for businesses to establish importing and exporting operations. Exporting represents a major component of the overall health of a nation’s economy, where countries are rich with unique skills and resources. Importing is also important as domestic businesses often look internationally for resources that are either a) not readily available domestically or b) inexpensive elsewhere, that will help to drive down their cost of goods sold and increase profit margins.
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With more opportunities and less stringent barriers to trade, many distribution companies are turning to import/export software systems to provide specific functionality that enables the efficient distribution of products internationally. One advantage that has become a top-of-mind factor for importing and exporting companies is their ability to track landed costs. Landed costs represent an overall picture of the costs associated with getting inventory from a supplier to a destination. In addition to the supplier price per unit of inventory, landed costs will also include duty, brokerage, freight, insurance, storage, etc. By accounting for landed costs, companies will be able to accumulate their true inventory costs. Therefore, they can confidently make more informed purchasing and pricing decisions while maintaining target margins, with the key cost factors listed above already factored into the equation. Another vital aspect of import/export software systems that businesses are finding increasingly important is automated customs processes. Experienced import/export software vendors with knowledge in this field should be able to effectively streamline the process of dealing with customs documents. One example is a system that can automatically generate a customs declaration form for a coinciding purchase order, an important consideration for any importing and exporting business. And multi-currency functionality is another feature that a strong ERP software system can provide. A multi-currency system will allow a company to specify different prices for each item depending on a customer’s currency as well as automatically account for differences in exchange rates between transaction and settlement dates.
With less extensive barriers to international trade, companies are finding worthwhile opportunities both domestically and internationally to sell their products. As different companies continue to explore these opportunities, more will begin to turn to import/export software to manage their distribution specific processes as well as to increase efficiencies in all facets of the business.