Sweden with 10 million people has two of the best & most dominating young athlets in the world, Armand Duplantis in pole vault & Daniel Ståhl in discus.

They will both beat impossible world records, Doplantis will beat Renaud Lavillenies 6.16 (from 2014) & Ståhl will beat Schults 84.08 (from 1986).

A customs control tower from KGH provides a comprehensive overview of your customs activities under one digital platform. It allows you to monitor them in real time, analyse your performance and make solid business decisions based on the insights you get.

What is a customs control tower?

Traditionally, customs is associated with declarations and border crossing. But today, the complex supply chain increases the demands on efficient customs handling all the way from departure to the final destination. With world-wide digitalisation, new possibilities arise related to document and data capture and how to keep track of the information flow in supply chains.

A customs control tower system is a one-interface digital solution that gives you a comprehensive overview of your trade and customs activities. You can monitor actions in real time, gather data and follow up on performance.

It helps you reduce operational costs and optimize duties paid while contributing to improved risk management. The control tower system integrates seamless into your supply chain and adds extra insight and overview of your performance.

The benefits you gain

With a customs control tower system integrated in your supply chain, you get stronger compliance through well-defined processes, increased transparency and new possibilities to validate data and practices. You get improved trade performance, thanks to new abilities to follow up on customs performance as the basis for both strategic decisions and continuous improvements. You also get reduced operational costs thanks to improved collaboration and new possibilities to proactively manage potential pains. You will get your products to market faster than ever before!

Typical functions

Typical functions for a customs control tower system is availability to track the data pipeline all the way through the supply chain – from document capture to monthly follow-ups, built in audit trails, track completion of milestones and identify root causes and bottlenecks, possibility to integrate with other systems and invite partners to collaborate. For example, if a supporting document is missing or lacking relevant information the system could give warnings about this.

A customs control tower manages more than customs

The data and insight a customs control tower provides help you with more than customs. The digitalization also adds a business intelligence level, which opens up new possibilities to track and analyze data in hindsight. With graphs and tables, you can spot divergences that helps you to act proactively. The customs control tower can support your sourcing strategy and help you make solid business decisions based upon the customs data.

A strong complement to your current supply chain platform

A logistics control tower is a well-known solution which can track your goods through the supply chain. But if you integrate it with a customs control tower, you will also gain total control of your customs management. The systems are often easy to integrate-so let them work together for maximum effect.

With all the insights, tracking, monitoring and follow up possibilities, a customs control tower is also a perfect complement to your current customs declaration software. The latter can handle your declarations sufficiently, while a customs control tower system ensures a comprehensive overview of the entire customs process.

AEO

We also have a specific system solution to manage your AEO status, AEO360 Business. This is a sofware as a service (SaaS) solution which gives you a compliance management system offering management, monitoring and governence of your AEO certificate towards Customs and a transparency mechanism with online dashboards that makes it safer to maintain compliance over time. AEO360 Business is the first tool of this kind in the market.

If you want to know more, click here: How a Customs control tower increases efficiency in todays’ complex supply chain

Spendind a few weeks in our second home in Boulouris-sur-mer in Saint-Raphaël, South of France.

We love this place and have been here for many years. We are at the point where the red Esterel mountains dive into to the Mediterranean Sea.

It is where I relax and reload my batteries, but also where I write my books and academic articles.

It is summer time and life is good. Luckily we also have great broadband so a couple of work meetings a day is still possible to manage for a workoholic like me.

Roberto Azevedo: Many thanks to Sweden for their generosity in supporting WTO’s work to help our developing and least-developed members participate more effectively in the work of the organization.

“This support is essential to build a more inclusive trading system”.

…vacation. Some days off.

I am off for a few days of summer holiday with the family to reload batteries and enjoy new books, the sun and a glass of rose’ wine…

My colleague and friend Jonas Lind, CEO at Silverlake Symmetri asks the excellent question “Why are we not already at B?” in an insighful LinkedIn article. He is absolutely right.

This is the text:

How to unfreeze digital transformation in the Public Sector

The age of digital is imminent and embracing the digital revolution is inevitable. At least that’s what the man on the street believes. And this wave is prompting governments to analyse both their digital strategy and ability to accept and adapt to this phenomenon.

But for all the good intentions, why then are Governments stuck with the unfortunate image of being unable to change. That transformation in the Public Sector is either impossible or even if attempted, often ends in failure?

Of course, this is not always true. But wasn’t your first gut instinct to agree with me? As the saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire.

What has ‘Unfreezing’ and Force Field Analysis got to do with digital transformation?

Before delving into public sector digital transformation, we first need to understand change. A simple model that I find useful is the 3-step Unfreeze – Change –Freeze (Refreeze) model developed by the German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin. His change model can be summed up in the diagram below.

Of these, the most difficult is the first stage of unfreezing. It is difficult because it involves overcoming inertia and moving away from our comfort zone. But ‘unfreezing’ is also the most important because without it, change and transformation will never happen.

The next logical question then is “What do we ‘unfreeze’?” In order to figure out what to unfreeze, we need to do some analysis, and this is where Lewin’s Force Field Analysis comes in. The idea behind Lewin’s force field analysis is that there are basically two types of forces working for (driving forces) and against (restraining forces) change.

Based on these two concepts, we can now apply it to our context of a government digital transformation.

For example, when embarking on any transformation initiative, governments can first use Force Field Analysis to assess the potential of success in its transformation journey. The diagram below is an example of how Force Field Analysis can be applied to see whether digital transformation for a government can actually happen (Note: The length of the arrows typically represents the strength of the force).

If the driving forces are greater than restraining forces, then digital transformation occurs. If it’s vice versa, then nothing happens.

“My organisation still isn’t transforming!”

Now, having all this analysis at our fingertips is all well and good. But I’m sure you must still be thinking that it tells you nothing about why your organisation cannot change or why your digital transformation efforts are not working.

And herein lies the punchline. We’re not transforming because we’re asking the wrong questions.

Typically, when embarking on transformation initiatives or when efforts to transform seem futile, the questions asked tend to be along the lines of “How to go from A to B?” (focus is on increasing the driving force).

But, I believe that’s the wrong question to ask.

The question we should be asking ourselves is “Why are we not already at B?”. In other words, to get effect we should concentrate on reducing the restraining forces instead.

Reducing Restraining Forces

To give an idea of how we can take this idea further, I spoke to a long-time associate of mine, Lars Karlsson, who has worked with numerous government agencies worldwide, and is also the originator of the Swedish Customs Future Center Institute and the architect behind modern concepts like AEO, One-Stop-Shop and Green Corridor – all successful government transformation projects with international impact.

Here’s some key takeaways from our conversation on typical constraints (restraining forces) faced by governments and what they can do to reduce it.

1.    Legacy Systems

A good example is Single Window projects. Many consultants recommend governments to rebuild all their old processing systems as part of a Single Window implementation. This is in most cases not necessary. 

“A Single Window is about business process re-engineering of government processes and how to organize the data, information and processing flows of government agencies. The technology is only to make this possible and can, to a large extent, be simply a front-end interface to the private sector” (Lars Karlsson)

2.    Tackling the most difficult problems first

Many times, governments focus on how to solve the most difficult problems instead of the opposite – the simple challenges.

“The important thing is to create change by picking the low hanging fruits first, create success, then solve simple but critical process flows, instead of the most complex ones. Reform and modernization is all about sequencing – doing things in the right order” (Lars Karlsson)

3.    Too much delegation

When an organization delegates too much, it can become slow and non-functional. Decisions are not taken at the right time and then you lose the “strategic greater good perspective” and get side-tracked by diverse interests. Prioritization suffers.

 “It is better to take a decision and move on, reflect/review and change it if it is wrong – than not taking a decision at all while waiting for all the parts to fall into place” (Lars Karlsson)

Different strokes for different folks

Change is nearly always resisted. A degree of resistance is normal. Individuals are often guided by parochial self-interest and concerned with the implications for themselves. They fear the unknown and generally most people have low tolerance to change. This also means that change seldom happens by itself. How then do we make change happen?

Ideally, the goal of doing the analysis is to find ways to increase the driving forces and reduce the restraining forces. But I have found that it’s more effective to focus on reducing restraining forces than it is to strengthen driving forces. In fact, you can try this in all situations of life.

I have also found that government agencies like to convince themselves that change needs to be hard, and as result they often look for the path of most resistance rather than the looking for the easiest path. This doesn’t mean that you ignore the restraining forces, if fact only a deep understanding of the restraining forces will make it possible to find the path of least resistance.

The analysis for different Government ministries and departments will differ because the environment and situation in every country is unique. But if you’ve not tried it, or are currently stuck in your transformation effort, why not have a go at this and ask your team “why are we not already at B”?

Do you agree with me? What do you think are the top three restraining factors that are slowing down the digital transformation in public sector?