ALBIS: Perfect plasticity in export management and compliance
Case study

ALBIS: Perfect plasticity in export management and compliance

Increased speed and security with export management and compliance screening from AEB for ALBIS PLASTIC GmbH, a leader in the distribution and compounding of thermoplastics in Europe.

Pressure on business from customs deadlines

Businesses engaged in global trade must submit the proper export declarations to customs authorities – but they must also keep a record of such declarations for ten years. The same applies to the process of screening recipients against applicable restricted party lists. German exporters need to communicate with ATLAS, the software of the German customs office, in order to submit their customs declarations in the proper format.

ALBIS PLASTIC had to act quickly to satisfy the new requirements for the upgrade to ATLAS 2.1 – which included reporting the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) – before the deadline of February 1, 2013. For help meeting this challenge, the Hamburg-based global enterprise turned to a new solutions provider: AEB.

Moving a diverse product portfolio safely across the globe

ALBIS PLASTIC GmbH is one of Europe’s leading distributors and compounders of technical plastics, offering the plastics processing industry the portfolios of well-known plastics manufacturers complemented by a diverse product line of its own compounds. The company serves a core market that includes the automotive, healthcare, electronics, and packaging industries. ALBIS is known as a specialist in the field of lighting technology for its various applications of plastics with light-diffusing, light-guiding, and light-blocking properties.

The ALBIS Group has about 1,100 employees and generates global revenues of some € 800 million. Based in Hamburg, Germany, the company also has 17 subsidiaries in countries throughout Europe, North Africa, East Asia, and North America. ALBIS produces its innovative plastics for the global market from its German sites in Hamburg and Zülpich, its UK site in Manchester, and as of summer 2013 also from its Chinese site in Changshu.

The software solutions previously used by ALBIS in Hamburg to manage exports and compliance screening required extensive manual maintenance of the restricted party lists and regularly resulted in delays until patches could be manually installed. Those solutions had to be updated to comply with the new ATLAS version implemented by the customs office. And so despite a service warranty on the old solution, Jens Rebenstorf, Vice President of the Supply Chain Management Business Unit at ALBIS PLASTIC, joined his IT department in looking for alternatives. They ultimately decided unanimously to forgo the update and migrate to an AEB solution from the Customs Management portfolio, which is certified by the German customs office and accessible directly from anywhere in SAP®.

Exports from Germany made easy

Between 500 and 750 shipments go out daily, many outside the EU – especially to Switzerland, Hong Kong, China, the United States, Mexico, and Russia. “Communication with the customs office now works smoothly and is much faster than before,” notes Oliver Bock, who is responsible for export management at ALBIS PLASTIC. “The work with AEB’s Export Filing has proceeded without incident.” Bock’s only contact with AEB Support has been in the form of proactive alerts whenever AEB learns of delays at the coordinating ATLAS office. He’s never needed to call support.

Compliance: reliable screening of address data

The situation is the same when it comes to compliance. The mandate here is crystal-clear: Under European Council Regulations 881/2002 and 2580/2001 and their amendments, all businesses are responsible for screening against restricted party lists and documenting their compliance. Violations can lead to harsh penalties ranging from fines and the loss of authorizations to the threat of imprisonment of at least two years for those responsible. To avoid such penalties, businesses must not only screen against restricted party lists at the appropriate time but also be able to subsequently demonstrate this compliance.

Which data needs to be screened, and how often?

ALBIS PLASTIC opted to screen all its customers and vendors daily with AEB’s Compliance Screening. This means automatically checking some 55,000 addresses against EU and US restricted party lists. Jörg Parschat, Head of IT Applications, is especially happy with AEB’s continuous updates to restricted party lists. AEB not only makes IT’s job easy, says Parschat, it also provides excellent documentation. “We used to run address checks before, but transferring the addresses was a labor-intensive task. Now, all that has changed.”

ALBIS PLASTIC wanted to ensure that all its customs transactions were securely archived, not only its compliance checks. The AEB solution ensures that ATLAS messages, PDF documents, logbooks, and export declaration data are retained in a long-term archive for at least ten years. “Only after our consultation with AEB did we realize how much we needed to archive. That’s the reason we kept the data in our old system well protected,” Parschat explains. “Now, I hardly need any of my IT resources for the AEB product.”

Migration: powerful solution and fast support

ALBIS awarded the contract to AEB in 2012 and immediately began with the two-phase installation: first Export Filing and then Compliance Screening – both directly in SAP®. The implementation was “straightforward and smooth” – that was the common consensus of the project managers at AEB and ALBIS PLASTIC. “The IT department at ALBIS PLASTIC did very good work right from the outset,” said AEB project manager Sebastian Meggers, praising his counter-parts for the reliable testing that is so critical in such projects.

ALBIS knows something about testing. “We’ve been burned before, so we always conduct thorough testing,” Parschat says with a smile. “Our go-live was stress-free. Only once did I have to refer to AEB Support, and half an hour later, everything was okay,” he adds. Parschat is convinced that ALBIS PLASTIC is better equipped for the future when it comes to customs and compliance. The users and management share the optimism of the IT Applications department.

Supply Chain Manager Jens Rebenstorf sums it up: “Cost savings and a permanent guarantee that the restricted party lists will be up to date without any need for us to maintain and organize the data in house: that’s one positive result of the migration. I am fully behind the AEB product – it is easy to use, and our users are delighted!”