The Wall Street Journal reported this week (Paid subscription or free metered view) that an analysis of online hiring web sites as well as specialist recruiters indicates that trade and tariff experts are currently in hot demand. That should be of little surprise to multi-industry supply chain management teams.

It is also a growing opportunity for supply chain management career professionals. Global trade

Market demand reportedly is focused on areas of compliance management along with consultants who can assist in revamping global sourcing of products. A Partner at KPMG LLP indicated to the publication that specialist hires have increased 45 percent this year to an existing staff of more than 130 specialists. That same Partner indicated that clients that previously paid little in Duties are now paying millions, hence the increased need. Other consulting firms indicated to the WSJ that some U.S. manufacturers who have initiated sourcing moves away from China into areas such as India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have found additional layers of complexity requiring added assistance.

Also noted was the added challenges for small to midsized companies which many to do not have the flexibility to hire on additional trade specialist staff. In the case of one Controller, she was forced to immerse herself in information related to Harmonized Tariff Schedule from scratch in order to assess what the organization had to do.


Global Trade Management Software Implications

In a prior Supply Chain Matters blog published in late August we highlighted how Global Trade Management software has become more important in this current global business environment.

We pointed out for readers that the software is quite different in terms of needed support, in that trade and restricted party information changes constantly, as is export classifications. Thus, GTM software providers must support teams that are constantly updating various information tables within the software, and timeliness of updates are a very important consideration for individual business software users. This can be aide to both large and smaller businesses that elect not to hire permanent staff.

Behind the scenes of GTM software is a cadre of trade and tariff specialists who constantly monitor ongoing changes in Harmonized Tariff Schedules or specific country laws. Because of the manual intensity of such efforts, many of today’s GTM software providers offshore their software support resources to lower-cost countries such as India, China or other Asian nations.

We wonder aloud if the current surge in demand for all forms of trade specialists will motivate offshore individuals to assess their added worth in the employment marketplace. It is certainly an area to monitor in the coming months, and we will be on lookout for signs of change.  The implications could be added costs for operating and maintaining such software, or in more businesses turning toward a software approach to supplement analysis of alternative product sourcing’s impact on many Line-of-Business goal areas.

All will be important areas to watch and monitor in the coming months.


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