How digitalisation of paperwork is helping to reduce the burden of BREXIT export red tape
Working in collaboration with one of our innovative fish and seafood processing customers, SI’s development team has applied a number of software enhancements to enable a digital approach to be taken for the completion of new EU export paperwork – including EORI numbers, required language specific phrases, weights, tares and product codes.
Over the past few weeks, much has been written in the press about the problems that the UK fish and seafood has encountered post-BREXIT following the introduction of new EU paperwork and customs checks.
Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted by new border controls since the UK’s transition period ended, and industry associations have complained to the UK Government that extra paperwork has made it difficult to deliver fresh produce to mainland Europe before it goes off.
As one industry insider explained in a recent BBC interview “It’s the volume required and the timeframe in which to produce it, which doesn’t lend itself to live shellfish and fish generally.”
Since the start of the year, all UK businesses that import or export goods to or from the EU are required to apply an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to all customs declarations and supporting paperwork.
These unique EORI numbers identify the exporting companies and the EU companies, that will receive the goods, and must be shown on all paperwork. But with the kind of EORI number varying according to the type of EU trade, and according to the movement of goods, the opportunity for erroneous paperwork has multiplied since Jan 1.
In addition to EORIs, UK exporters’ also have to provide language specific phrases relating to the products, according to the EU destination. And to further complicate matters, phrases must be provided in the relevant language of customs, at the point of entry, and for all customer destinations.
The new customs paperwork also requires UK to provide invoices, proforma documents, product codes, together with details of gross weights and tare weights, and quantities (previously, weights could be defined as net weights, and invoices could be sent electronically).
SI’s software auto-populates customs paperwork fields, minimising the opportunity for operator error, including EORI numbers, correct product phrases in the right language, product codes, tares, quantities and weight details.
Practical innovation and automation minimises EU-export paperwork issues
With a view to easing the burden of this new export paperwork, one of our innovative fish and seafood customers contacted SI to challenge our development team to deliver bespoke software changes that could automate many of these new requirements. As our customer had quickly identified, without multi-lingual skills within the team to ensure paperwork is completed without error, finding a way to automate this process was essential.
In collaboration with the customer, SI applied a number of software enhancements to enable a more digital approach to the application of new EORI numbers (Economic Operator Registration and Identification number) and other fields.
After applying changes applied within SI’s sales order processing and despatch management software, generating the new EU customs paperwork is now straightforward.
SI’s software auto-populates the fields with the correct information, minimising the opportunity for operator error. And as customs paperwork and supporting documentation is digitally generated, all required information for EU customs point of entry and EU customer details are automatically populated on the despatch documentation, together with the correct product phrases in the right language, product codes, tares, quantities and weight details.