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Balancing Compliance and Business Profitability

Ron Lackey, CEO, CUSTOMS Info
Ron Lackey, CEO, CUSTOMS Info

Ron Lackey, CEO, CUSTOMS Info

An entrepreneur at heart, Ron has over 14 years experience managing, marketing and selling technology solutions. Ron has been responsible for CUSTOMS Info Gloabl Data Mining's expansion into ERP content arena focusing R&D resources on database driven international trade content, producing double digit growth every year since 2004.

Market Pain Points Addressed

Compliance is a notoriously tough challenge. Compliance professionals today must balance between staying in compliance and keeping a business operating and profitable. They must help their entire company understand the consequences of non-compliance without a “sky is falling” message. They must set up a consistent, ongoing program that includes standard operating procedures, educating colleagues and incorporating new technologies to help automate what they can, ultimately saving money and increasing compliance. We work hard to help our clients stay out of trouble with a variety of products and services like online subscriptions, item compliance software and classification support services.

The vision of CUSTOMS Info

In a perfect world, international traders would have every duty, tax, rule, and regulation needed for a transaction at their fingertips, in their native language. Every product shipped would have all required documentation and information attached to it to ensure speedy cross border transactions. No one is there today, but that’s our goal. We have been collecting trade data and delivering it through web subscriptions, through our Item Compliance SaaS product and through our services for 10 years now and we estimate we have about 5% of all of the trade content available globally. There is much work to be done over the next 5-10 years. Our differentiator is that we are not a trade management system. We are not transactional in nature is, we don’t print shipping documents or file with customs agencies. Therefore, we bolt our products and services onto existing infrastructures and platforms. We enhance both existing and new trade compliance technologies.

Illustrious Clientele

Anyone importing or exporting. Our customer base is very horizontal and includes manufacturing, energy, pharma, agribusiness and food, retail, logistics and ecommerce to name a few.

Customer Value Proposition

Historically, from a compliance perspective, we help our customers stay out of trouble with government entities, foreign and domestic. The work needs to get done regardless; our value proposition is can we provide you a product or service for less than you could do it internally? What’s changing our industry is the quick growth of trade agreements between countries around the globe and industry’s grasp and implementation of those agreements. It enhances our value proposition and adds a new dimension: adding profit to a company’s bottom line. It’s very realistic that a billion dollar company could save tens of millions of dollars per annum by utilizing these trade agreements. But there is real work involved and we help clients automate this work as much as possible.

Solution That Has Benefited Customers

Our duty, tax and trade agreement data helps clients understand the savings of using a certain trade agreement, helping them evaluate sourcing options globally. The baseline however, simply understands the cross border costs. Understanding the “total landed cost” of a transaction is critical to making solid business decisions.

Our item compliance software can increase classification speed tenfold. Classification is a legal, human decision. Our product drastically increases the speed at which humans can make those decisions based upon product categories and automating the decisions that we can while maintaining accuracy.

From a services perspective, we continue to see traditional brick and mortar retailers moving to an international ecommerce model. These companies typically don’t have the data, people or expertise to classify 50,000 products to 100 different country tariffs around the globe. We fix this problem and decrease our client’s time to market.

Competitive Landscape

There are many vendors in the global trade management (GTM) space. From ERP sized systems down to small start up options. I don’t think the market needs another GTM product. What I do think the market needs is technology and tools that makes their existing systems and infrastructure better. We will never be transactional – meaning we won’t file with governments or print shipping documents. That distinction is the key as it makes us an attractive partner for GTM vendors who know we will never compete with them. We often win in competitive situations because we are one of the few vendors in the marketplace who offers global data, software and services, all three components are often required to create a solution that works for the customer.

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