8 innovative initiatives by foreign trade companies

  • 21/07/2022
  • 17 分钟

The ways and methods of working for foreign trade companies have changed considerably in recent years. The main reason for this change is technology. It has changed many processes and transformed manual workflows into digital ones, which are faster and more efficient.

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Therefore, an import-export company needs to be aware of these recent technologies in order not to lose space in its market. This attention must be focused on the tools we have today, as well as those that are still emerging.

With this in mind, we decided to write about this. We will show you the top eight technological trends that can benefit these trading companies. Read on and check it out!

1. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a trend that helps not only foreign trade companies. Several industries have adopted such technologies to store their files and systems. Basically, it consists in migrating local, physical servers to others that are available on the Internet – or in the cloud, as we usually say.

Therefore, there is no longer the need to be physically present at the company’s headquarters to execute processes related to import and export activities. The operators or people responsible for the processes can perform their assignments anywhere using an internet-connected computer.

Cloud computing has been used mostly for digital archives. But nowadays there are already systems that can be accessed through a simple web browser. Of course, this technology must be accompanied by very efficient security processes, using protocols and digital certificates to ensure that only authorized people can access them.

In addition, they also have access and user controls, ensuring that each person’s actions within the system are recorded. Therefore, efficient control is possible, avoiding fraud, deviations and other unwanted actions.

2. Automation of activities

The automation of activities is also a valuable tool that has been used, including import and export companies. Basically, it can be described as the use of an operating system that performs the posting or updating of data, transportation, delivery tracking and other actions related to foreign trade.

In this way, all participants in the chain have access to the information they need. In other words, the company dispatches the goods, the client is notified, then they can follow the entire process until the products arrive at their headquarters.

Besides bringing benefits to customers, automation of activities also provides interesting advantages for the company internally. This is because the workflows become optimized, eliminating the need for data entry and other manual activities that can lead to small errors which, when added together, hinder the operationalization of the business.

3. Application of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is one of the main innovations of the century and is already being used by various sectors of the world economy. What only a few years ago was a science fiction theme, today is an increasingly present reality in people’s lives, and especially, in companies.

Today, Artificial Intelligence helps various segments to reduce costs by automating processes. All this in a safe, assertive, and very intelligent way. Thus, it could not be any different with foreign trade.

New systems are constantly being created in the Brazilian environment and in international trade itself. Everywhere in the world we have changes in import and export procedures using Artificial Intelligence.

An example of this is customs clearance. These technologies are being used to optimize incoming and outgoing goods, offering customers the ability to track their cargo in real time.

The focus of Artificial Intelligence is not to “steal” the place of a human being. It aims to process a large amount of data in just a few seconds, presenting operators with efficient decision-making options that can be adopted.

4. Use of Blockchain

Blockchain is a kind of shared, secure, and immutable ledger that was originally created to facilitate the process of recording transactions and tracking assets that make up a business network. This good can be tangible or intangible. Its robustness and security have resulted in the Blockchain being used mainly for registering the cryptocurrencies that circulate around the world.

It is such a secure tool that, to this day, there are no records of fraud involving data from Blockchain codes. So valuable are its levels of protection and security that even the governments of several countries in the world and companies that explore international trade have begun to see the Blockchain as a tool that can be used in the import and export environment.

With this, it is possible to perform daily financial transactions without the need to connect to a server at a central financial institution. Therefore, import and export processes become decentralized, faster, safer and more efficient.

In Brazil, the Federal Data Processing Service (SERPRO), in partnership with the Brazilian IRS, created its own Blockchain, which is called bConnect. The focus of this technology is to enable the exchange of information with Authorized Economic Operators (AEO).

There are also forecasts for the development of technology that allows the sharing of information from Customs Declarations. The intention of the Federal Government is to promote the exchange of information between the countries in a fast and safe way, ensuring the sovereignty of these governments.

Hence, this technology will allow data sharing between Brazil’s trade partners, such as Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

5. Business Intelligence

Another disruptive and innovative technology that can be implemented in an import-export company is Business Intelligence. The focus of this process is to transform data into strategic information for the business, thus bringing interesting gains in relation to the market.

Among them are:

  • the optimization of time;
  • safety in analysis and decision making;
  • reducing costs by understanding the processes that can drain the company’s resources;
  • clarity about possible opportunities;
  • reduction of risks inherent to the activity.

These benefits are added thanks to the information that is extracted from the Business Intelligence process. When analyzed carefully, it is possible to use them to optimize future processes. Let us show an example of how this works.

You can create a database that uses your past imports as a basis, extracting details from Import Declarations, as well as taking advantage of NCMs or descriptions that have already been applied. Analyzing taxes paid, mapping exporters, manufacturers and prices charged.

In this way, it is possible to create an optimized work strategy at the lowest cost, while ensuring the quality of the process. Another example that can demonstrate the use of Business Intelligence in foreign trade companies is in aiding decision making, especially those that focus on business expansion.

With the data obtained, it is possible to decide faster and with more assertiveness, ensuring that the choices made by managers effectively bring positive results to the operation. When it comes to cost reduction, we have several possibilities. One of them is the analysis of taxes or expenses wrongly paid in recent years, which can happen very often in trading companies.

With good data intelligence process, it is possible to extract this information and understand where in the business failures are occurring and generating unnecessary costs.

However, one thing needs to be very clear: when we talk about Business Intelligence, we are not referring to a specific system or software, as is the case with other technologies we have already mentioned.

Data intelligence is a process that involves the participation of various tools and people. There are organizations that create departments that focus on data analysis to extract the valuable information that we have demonstrated in this topic.

Therefore, there is no indication of the type of system or working method for implementing Business Intelligence. Each company must understand its needs and implement this concept in a unique and individualized way, meeting the specific demands of its business.

Despite this, the next topics demonstrate some tools that can be used in a Business Intelligence sector, as well as serving the entire import-export company. Read on!

6. Big Data

Big Data is a jumble of data stored on a server in the cloud or physically. The focus is on concentrating all the movements made by the importing and exporting company in a given period. But it does not aim to analyze this data.

The core idea of Big Data is to carry a vast variety of data that arrives in large and growing volumes and at an ever-increasing speed. They are more complex and come from a variety of sources. Therefore, the company must have a large storage capacity to hold all this data.

Despite the quantity of stored items, it is not focused on performing any kind of analysis or information generation. This is already the function of other systems that use this data to transform it into useful directions that will be used by the company’s management to make some important decisions.

Big Data is the main source of business intelligence. This is because it is through data extracted from this large database that the information that provides all the benefits we mentioned above is generated. It is worth noting that Big Data depends on diverse and complex protection systems.

After all, despite containing scattered data without much definition, it can be used to understand important aspects of your company. Therefore, you do not want them to be leaked on the Internet. In addition, today we already have legislation that punishes managers who do not take care of the data entrusted to their companies.

Therefore, before thinking about having a large volume data storage system, it is important to have an efficient process for securing this information.

7. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is another concept that is gaining a lot of importance in the business environment in general. Just like Artificial Intelligence, it used to be the theme of science fiction movies, but it is getting closer and closer to business in various segments.

Basically, this is a concept that assumes the digital interconnection between physical objects and the Internet. In other words, it is the possibility to control and monitor tangible elements that are present in our daily lives by means of a system. In this way, data that can have countless uses can be collected and transmitted.

In international trade, this technology has been used to track and detail the goods that are transacted daily between ports and airports. In addition, it is also possible to monitor the security as well as the condition of these assets, whether in storage or transport, until delivery to the end customer.

8. System Integration

Finally, the technological trend for foreign trade companies is systems integration. This idea is mainly used for the creation of a Business Intelligence sector.

Basically, the focus is on integrating the data generated in all the actions that are performed in the business environment. It starts with the receipt of a good, which goes through all the workflows, and ends with the delivery of the service to the destination. By recording all these elements in a specific system, it is possible to extract valuable information about each completed process.

In addition, system integration also makes it easier for you to enter data into your Big Data, and use it to generate reports with a wealth of information in the future. The use of this software also eliminates a lot of manual work, making your team’s daily routine even more efficient and optimized.

Finally, it is possible to conclude that the technological trends for foreign trade companies are mainly focused on making the day-to-day work faster, more optimized, and efficient. Therefore, it is essential that the people who work in this sector pay attention to them in order not to be left behind or be left aside by the market itself.

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