The sprint to digitization
GTM Study

The sprint to digitization

Our ground-breaking study with Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University finds a vast majority of companies in global trade are quickly moving toward digitization.

Global Trade Management Study 2018

Calling digitization a trend could actually be an understatement. Forbes magazine predicts it will create a wave in industry so global, so overwhelming, and so disrupting, that companies unprepared for the changes it brings ‘’will quickly fall to the bottom of the pack.’’

''Clear the track for Digital Customs Management,'' our far-reaching survey of 435 experts in global trade management, shows that many in the industry are moving at a pace that shows no interest in the back of the pack.

The study found that:

  • Participants identify export management and  controls as the most important areas for digitization.
  • More than 35 percent of respondents' companies have already implemented at least one project to digitize customs.
  • And that a lack of expertise and financial resources are the primary obstacles to digitization at many companies.

“I expect digitization to help us more effectively process large volumes of data while checking compliance requirements – automatically completing ATLAS customs declarations for several hundred items while simultaneously screening against sanctions lists and checking product lists, for example,” said one respondent.

The Global Trade Management Study from AEB and Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Stuttgart found that nearly 75 percent of those polled said digitization of the customs area at their company was either a high or medium priority.

That finding grows as the respondent’s position at the company goes up the ladder.  

‘’Respondents in management assign a much higher priority to the digitization of customs than regular employees,’’ the study’s authors write.

In the study,  Dr. Ulrich Lison, a member of the Executive Board of AEB and a global trade expert, lays out six recommendations for how to digitize customs. These include:

  • Using cloud-based platforms to enable faster and more efficient integration if projects are realized together with external partners, like suppliers, customers, and vendors.
  • Going digital first. That means all plans (processes, implementations, etc. the first question asked must always be whether and how it can be done electronically.