Exporting is a complicated process for companies. There are a large number of formalities that we must take into account and to which we must pay great attention. If we have a mistake when it comes to exporting, this can entail a problem for our company and for the importing company. In addition, these procedures (such as managing international customers, creating invoices, sending legal documentation, managing logistics, etc.) are time-consuming; which can become an obstacle for companies involved in daily export operations and a large number of international customers. However, new technologies have been searching for solutions to handle export procedures in a faster, more precise and organized manner. Among a number of solutions found, we could highlight the SAP system, a computer system designed to manage companies’ human resources, production, inventory, sales, logistics and accounting, among other functions.
Characteristics of the SAP system:
- Tailor-made for each client.
- Open source: can be modified by the customer to fix errors.
- Simple and intuitive: easy to use by employees.
- Constantly updated.
- High investment: its price is high.
SAP system modules and functions:
- SD (Sales and Distribution): sales, CRM and logistics module. It has a database for customer management (BP) and also manages the entire sales process through the creation of proforma invoices, order confirmations, stock reservation, commercial invoices and packing lists, among others.
- MM (Materials Management): stock, inventory and invoice management module.
- PP (Production Planning): module for the manufacturing process (production).
- HR (Human Resources): module for human resources management.
- CO: module for cost and profit management (accounting).
Benefits for international business:
As we can observe in all the SAP system functions and features, it is a software solution that simplifies the entire export process. As an example, if we want to prepare an invoice for a foreign customer, the SAP system includes all taxes and other fees directly in the invoice (because these would be predetermined). Likewise, if we want to register an order, the SAP system allows us to include each item code and it automatically indicates the price of each unit as well as the total price considering the discounts and taxes applicable to each customer. In addition, the system automatically transmits the order to production, which subsequently provides us with an estimated production date or, if any unit of the order is already in stock, this unit would be assigned to this specific order.
On the other hand, when creating a packing list, the system directly creates a packing list with all the weights and measures ( compiled in its database) with a specific format created for the company. All these documents can be downloaded in various formats, such as PDF or EXCEL, for future modification and/or analysis.
Let’s take a look at our list outlining the main SAP system benefits for exporting:
- Customer management: a database with information about the company’s customers.
- Export process management: sales documents creation, such as quotations, proforma invoices, order confirmations, commercial invoices, packing lists…
- Adjustment to the regulations and requirements of each country. In addition, the system checks whether the data of international customers is correct: for example, their tax identification numbers…
- Management of payments and debts: notification when customers have debts, management of their portfolio, etc. In addition, we can also manage the risk (CESCE) of international customers (within each customer’s sheet).
- It adapts to the customer’s language: the system can create sales documents in different languages, depending on the language selected for each customer.
- Logistics management: delivery notes and collection references. Constant communication between the commercial and logistics departments.
As you can see…
SAP is a great tool for managing the export process of companies, among many other of its functions. Many companies such as ACCENTURE, DELOITTE, EVERIS, FUJITSU, HP, INDRA and INFRICO are already using it. Thanks to this type of system, we no longer have to manually prepare each document or procedure, which usually slows down the operations and efficiency of companies, besides causing more mistakes than a software system.
In case you are already familiar with this resource management software, we would love to hear from you: in which areas have you found the SAP system has made your work easier, what improvements do you think it needs, what other system does your company use? We look forward to hearing from you.
If you found this post useful, we encourage you to read our post on “Tech startups and the challenge of global growth” where you will learn about the great opportunities for tech startups like SAP.