Connecting Customs with your Operational Systems

How our customs consultants build the bridge with digital interfacing

Customs and operational software are not always compatible, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together. Customs Consultant Matthias Declerck explains digital interfacing in this article.

What is a challenge you have solved with customs digital interfacing?

A client of ours wanted to outsource their customs clearance, but were concerned about how the data would stay clean if another system was involved. They have multiple warehouses and manage excise products, so any mistakes in data sharing could be a big issue for them down the line.

What we needed to do was create a digital interface that made their data useable for our declarants, and then restructure it in reverse so that their systems could receive accurate updates. In this way, the two systems can talk to each other.

This is what we do when we process end-to-end customs clearances, as the customs systems are structured differently in each country, so we are familiar with this process. Our challenge was that we needed to test and implement this whilst the data was being updated with ongoing operations.

How did you support the client with this process?

The client had someone in house who is responsible for keeping their records accurate, and we needed to keep them informed and confident with what we were doing. To do that, we had to have them involved in the whole process.

Our client is not an expert in customs and anything involving data can go very wrong very quickly. We needed to make the plan simple for them and ensure that all the action points were fully understood before taking each step.

It can take more time, but it is always better to be a little cautious than very sorry.

Now the customs digital interfacing process is complete, how has the client benefitted?

The client has seen two significant benefits since we completed this project:

Customs digital interfacing saves time

Aside from getting back the time that was being invested into the project by their people, the client is saving time going forwards. Their people do not need to enter the data two, three, or even more times per movement, as the automation takes care of this for them. That time can now be reinvested into other projects.

Customs digital interfacing reduces risk of error

The other big benefit to our client is the reduction of risk. Every time one of their people entered data manually before, there was a risk of mistake or of a step being omitted.

All it takes is an inversion of numbers, a zero to be added somewhere, or for goods to leave without being dispatched on the customs system for the client to pay too much tax, get fined, or get an audit for noncompliance. This is disastrous for a company, and it is so easy to do.

Our client is now protected against this because custom digital interfacing automates these steps. As they manage high-tax and highly regulated goods, accuracy and compliance are essential. They can now be more confident in these as there is less manual input required.

Any closing comments?

Customs digital interfacing is not always as simple as building a new system to bridge the gap. In fact, this is often impractical because it could take two years to develop that system, which also brings a high price tag and the risk of requirements changing in that time.

We often need to find that “out of the box” solution that allows us to connect the systems without taking too long to implement it, or disrupting the company’s ongoing operations.

Could you benefit from customs digital interfacing?

Customs Support provide a range of digital customs services across the EU and UK, supported by over  1700 declarants in 13 countries.

If you could benefit from outsourcing your customs to an external supplier so that you can focus on the logistics of your operation, contact one of our experts to find out more about customs digital interfacing today.