6 Ways Customs Optimisation Boosts Retail Supply Chain Efficiency

The retail industry faces several challenges, including rising commodity costs, increasing complexity of import/export regulations, and the need to speed up and slow down supply chains depending on demand. In this environment, customs optimisation is essential for improving resilience and competitiveness. 


In the fast-paced world of retail, optimising customs processes is crucial for enhancing the efficiency of supply chains. This blog post explores six essential customs optimisations that can significantly enhance the ability of retail supply chains to withstand challenges and disruptions. Let’s dive in and discover how these strategies can revolutionise your retail operations.

Challenges Faced by the Retail Supply Chain Industry and the Need for Customs Optimisation

The supply chain industry faces several challenges, including volatile demand, global supply chain complexities, changing consumer expectations, supply chain disruptions, surging e-commerce in retail, and the evolving digital landscape.


The retail supply chain is facing many challenges, including:


  • Complex regulatory landscape: The retail sector deals with a complex regulatory landscape, including varying customs regulations and compliance requirements across different regions and countries, resulting in delays and penalties. 
  • Cost and operational efficiency: In the highly competitive retail sector, cost and operational efficiency are crucial for maintaining profitability. Inefficient customs processes can lead to additional costs, including customs duties, storage fees, and demurrage charges. 
  • E-commerce and globalisation: Retailers are increasingly engaging in international trade to expand their customer base and source products globally. However, This expansion complicates cross-border transactions, customs regulations, and documentation.
  • Supply chain disruptions: Unforeseen events such as natural disasters, political instability, or health crises can impact the availability of products, create stockouts, and result in dissatisfied customers. 
  • Evolving digital landscape: Retailers face the constant challenge of keeping up with rapid technological advancements that impact supply chain optimisation, customer experiences, and operational efficiency.


Top Six Techniques To Enhance Retail Supply Chain Efficiency With Customs Optimisation

Boosting supply chain resilience by using agile techniques and procedures helps retailers thrive even when they face unpredictability. Retailers  can use the following methods to optimise customs processes; 


1- Simplifying Customs Processes for Seamless Operations


The customs process can be complex and time-consuming for retailers, especially those who ship a wide range of goods to different markets. This is why retailers need to simplify their customs process by consolidating their brokers. By reducing the number of brokers they use to a single point of contact, retailers can save time and effort and improve efficiency. 


According to research, retailers who use multiple brokers can spend up to 25% more time on customs-related activities than those who use a single broker. This is because they have to coordinate with multiple brokers, which can lead to delays and errors. Consolidating brokers can also improve communication and coordination between retailers and brokers. This can lead to faster clearance times and fewer delays.


2- Centralise Customs Data to Streamline Customs Procedures


By centralising customs data, businesses gain valuable insights into specific customs requirements and can strategically speed up or slow down supply chains as needed. This centralised approach enables better planning and decision-making, ultimately reducing delays and improving overall efficiency. This will provide more insights into customs requirements and help to speed up and slow down supply chains as needed. 


3- Improve Digitalisation


Digitalisation plays a crucial role in simplifying customs clearance. By improving digital capabilities, businesses can seamlessly share data with customs authorities, minimising the risk of errors and expediting the clearance process. Leveraging digital platforms and technologies enhances accuracy and provides real-time access to customs-related information, facilitating faster communication and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.


4- Increase Flexibility in Supply Chain


Retailers can improve their customs optimisation by developing flexibility in their supply chains. This means adapting to changes in demand and staffing levels, particularly during public holidays or seasonal spikes. By outsourcing some or all of their customs to strategic partners during peak seasons, retailers can increase capacity and keep goods flowing across borders, driving optimal inventory levels. This puts them in a more prepared and stable position, even if disruption strikes. 


5- Embrace Digital Solutions for Customs Compliance


Technology is rapidly changing the way that customs compliance is managed. Customs declaration errors are common due to changing import/export laws and rules. Businesses importing high-tariff textiles or goods need help in commodity code classification and customs duty calculation. Thus, non-compliance is more widespread and costly. 


However, with the advent of digital solutions, customs compliance has become much more efficient and effective. Retailers can automate customs clearance to reduce risks and improve compliance. Pre-declaration customs data can be collected automatically. Thus, they can quickly and accurately populate their customs declarations with a few clicks, reducing risk and boosting efficiency. 


6- Use Technology to Automate Customs Processes


Automation through technology is a game-changer in streamlining customs processes. Businesses can automate repetitive tasks, reduce manual errors, and expedite customs clearance by leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and process automation.

Automated systems can handle data entry, document verification, and compliance checks, freeing valuable time and resources for more strategic tasks. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances overall supply chain resilience.

In a nutshell

Optimising customs processes is a crucial step towards enhancing retail supply chain resilience. Retail businesses can streamline operations, strengthen partnerships, harness technology, improve visibility, and proactively mitigate risks by implementing these six essential customs optimisations. Embrace these strategies and revolutionise your retail supply chain to thrive in an increasingly dynamic marketplace.

iCustoms, is a one-end customs management platform for customs solutions. It provides several unique services, including customs declaration service, product classification, and HS-code lookup. Moreover, it offers a duty and tax calculator that gives authentic results for the amount of VAT to be paid for the imported goods.


To enhance your supply chain efficiency, optimise customs processes, and maximise productivity, contact

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iCustoms is an all-in-one solution helping businesses automate customs processes more efficiently. With AI-powered and machine-learning capabilities, iCustoms is designed to streamline your all customs procedures in a few minutes, cut additional costs and save time.