Data pipelines of the future...By Colin Laughlan
Karl Marx is not often cited as a supply chain management visionary, but “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” is a perfectly apt description of how the electronic capture and extraction of shipping data will undergo a global revolution in the not too distant future. Innovative data pipelines — developed largely by the European Union (EU) — will soon be complemented with new standards for data interoperability developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). The seamless international data pipeline of tomorrow holds the promise of greatly enhanced supply chain visibility to benefit end customers, and significantly improved security in the global transportation of containerized goods.
Despite efforts by the World Customs Organization (WCO) over the past decade to balance trade facilitation with security measures based on the analysis of cross-border trade data (see BCSN September 2015: SAFE Framework gives glimpse into Future Trade Management), the system for ensuring data integrity is not working well.
Image above: Diagram to demonstrate seamless, integrated data pipeline concept.
According to Randy Rotchin, Presi-dent and CEO of 3CE Technologies Inc., a Canadian company whose software measures the accuracy of Customs declarations, there are significant discrepancies between the plain language (narrative) description of the shipped goods and the Harmonized System (H.S.) code, a multi-digit classification of the description used for Customs declarations. “We’ve done many studies for many countries. The error rates range from about 25 per cent to somewhere around 40 per cent,” Rotchin told BCSN. “Aside from manual and very laborious processes, there’s no real way to ensure that these codes that are being declared are very accurate,” said Rotchin.
3CE’s studies were part of the research that alerted David Hesketh, who at the time was Director of Research and Development with HM Revenue and Customs in the United Kingdom. Other experts pointed Hesketh to studies showing discrepancies as high as 60 per cent.
For Hesketh, it was an urgent call to action. For more than 10 years he has spearheaded research within industry and government to find a workable supply chain solution. (Hesketh even completed a Masters degree on the subject during his research and is now a lecturer at the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies in Australia.)
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