Why RS Components is putting compliance at the top of its agenda Charlie Jenkinson, VP Operational Excellence, RS Components – IOE Corporate Member
There are numerous trade, product and transport laws and regulations that companies must observe when doing business both locally and internationally. Did you know, for example, that it is illegal to export dual-use goods – commercially available goods that could be used for military purposes – to certain countries without a licence? Or that some electronic devices cannot be sold if they use a material that has been deemed hazardous?
For a global distribution company like RS Components, it is vital that we have a robust level of compliance controls in place to ensure we are trading legally and responsibly around the world. This is all the more important because our customers and suppliers are demanding ever-increasing information about compliance in order for them to do business with us.
Our suppliers want to make sure that we are legally compliant and will sell their products compliantly around the world before signing up to a new contract. When a new product is added to our range, our customers need to know if they can purchase it in the country that they reside, despite the relative ease of trading worldwide through eCommerce. Therefore, we need to have the capability to manage compliance globally in order to remain competitive.
At RS, compliance is one of the key enablers in the management of our global inventory in every market. This supports our delivery service objective to our customers and, ultimately, enables us to grow sales worldwide.
We are continuously improving our ability to cover trade, transport and product compliance across our global supply chain. A system from Amber Road automates trade compliance across both RS and our Allied Electronics business in North America. This includes restricted party screening, product classification, licence determination and management, and addresses supply chain and import/export documentation to speed the process. By eliminating manual, error-prone cross-border trade processes, it improves supply chain performance and shortens order cycles. This is of particular importance in the emerging markets, where the trade environment tends to be highly complex.
For transport compliance, we’ve upgraded our internal systems to be able to deal with labelling and hazardous material more effectively throughout our transport network, while for product compliance we’re making sure that our product and category managers around the world have a comprehensive knowledge of where their products can be sold legally.
Finally, we have an initiative to improve the compliance culture across the company. This involves providing relevant training, development and organisational change to make sure we are set up to operate compliantly as we grow the business. This has already shown to be a significant endeavour in raising the awareness of compliance among our workforce.
We joined the IOE because of this commitment to education and training on not just the complex issue of compliance but all aspects of exporting globally. The IOE offer renowned training and expertise in international trade and were the perfect fit for RS and our objectives.
For us, compliance is everyone’s responsibility, and by instilling this mind-set it becomes a true enabler for the business.