US importers using new Web-based “eDocs” platform to unite suppliers, service providers,create and manage digital documents, share order, item and shipping data

GT Nexus has announced general market availability for its new Global Document Control solution.

Delivered as an integrated, network-based service over the Web, the product ushers in a new era of electronic data and digital document management software specifically designed to accelerate and improve supplier collaboration and management, trade compliance and international shipping operations.

A recent study examining globalization strategies of nearly 200 companies cited effective management of information and documents for cross-border trade to be the most pressing challenge faced by businesses as they go global. It is an exceedingly difficult, inefficient and expensive task, according to Beth Enslow, vice president, enterprise research for Aberdeen Group, a technology research firm, and author of the study.

“Our study found that global trade remains highly inefficient because it is still such an unautomated, paper-intensive process,” said Enslow. “Companies are fed up with paying partners to re-key data into their local systems and they are fed up with not knowing the status of their orders and inventory. This is contributing to the unacceptable lead times and unanticipated supply chain costs that plague 91% of the firms we surveyed.”

The GT Nexus online trade document control system is in production supporting the import operations of two major US retailers. It has been introduced and taken live with suppliers in China and other Asia-Pacific countries, Europe and the Middle East, as well as several 3PLs, consolidators, customs brokers and ocean lines.

How it works

The system centralizes four principal activities surrounding effective document management, coordination and control for global import operations:

Purchase Order Distribution ’ suppliers can receive, acknowledge and manage a buyer’s (importer’s) global purchase orders electronically in a simple, yet novel approach requiring only an Internet connection and common Web browser, or an email inbox. No hardware or software installation is required at the buyer or supplier.

Supplier Enablement ’ any supplier worldwide can securely access the platform, select a customer’s orders to ship, notify transportation service partners, “auto-create” associated freight and commercial documents, and then manage document flow with partners, all in a single, comprehensive, easy-to-use Web-based system.

Online Document Flow ’ Key documents for order and shipment processing are stored centrally, represented digitally, indexed and searchable. The importer can share these documents with partners, giving them role-based access to create, amend, view, act upon and process them in a structured online environment.

Customs Broker Collaboration ’ Instead of waiting for documents to arrive by pouch, fax or email, the importer’s Customs Broker can access the system at any time to obtain digital commercial invoices or other transportation and trade documents, which can be “pushed” as data into the broker’s system to speed clearance processing and improve compliance.