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I was tasked to implement a solution to automate (send electronically) customs declarations for Singapore.  We are now at this point of integration testing with the Singapore Customs Declaration Consolidator. The actual duration to develop the solution took about 3 months.

It began with understanding the need – customs declaration needs to be sent as an xml file. We choose to do it via SFTP (protocol). As this will give a greater flexibility in controlling the messages among with few other things.

We got approved to implement PI system with an SFTP adopter add-on.

Basis team was instrumental in getting the system up and running in a very short period of time as usual.

I believe,  there was no standard SAP solution for Singapore customs declaration like the one for US customs using GTS. I spent time understanding the Order to Shipment process and the requirements for the customs declaration to come up with the approach and architect the solution.

I have worked with the Development team on the ERP side to help stream line the business process (creating new tools for the business) and that the solution is robust, reconcilable and uses standard SAP.

It took some convincing of the SCM team, to go with GTS system as the hub. This gave us the ability to use the standard IDOC that has all the fields needed using standard SAP ECC to GTS integration for creating customs shipment document via standard ECC proforma. It was also much simpler to expose the messages in PI and transform it to the required format (xml).

Once everyone is on board:

Functional (a cross functional, I should add) team did a superb job getting the configuration in place and working with the development team to get system support the business process to the dot. All of this is accomplished using  standard SAP frame work. Very little coding was done to deviate from Standard SAP that too using standard  SAP exits and enhancement spot – no cloning of SAP programs and customizing them or writing a bunch of Z program with a slew of Z tables.

Result : We have solution in place to send Declarations to Singapore  Customs consolidator electronically, fully automated and completely reconcilable. We have built tools that improved the process.  Shipping Operations team can consolidate many deliveries and send them in ONE airway-bill. Operations will see a Proforma that is accurate in all respects, correct HTS codes, transfer prices, addresses, description etc.

These  tools will help in operational time savings (consolidate multiple deliveries to one Declaration), easily compare and reconcile the deliveries and accurate outputs.

PI system can be now used for communicating with internal and external systems using industry standard protocols (FTP, SFTP, Webservices  etc) and that integrates seamlessly within SAP landscape – ERP, GTS, CRM, BW, APO, SUP.

In terms of technology and architecture on this implementation- I have to brag here but it is a marvel. Fully automated, completely reconcilable using ALL STANDARD SAP.  Solution that adheres  to SOA standards. What does this mean?. We can implement this process in any country that requires electronic declarations within weeks.  If we choose to move away from PI and use some other platform – it is as simple as switching to new port and let the new system take over. If SAP comes up with it’s own solution in collaboration with Singapore, it is as simple as pointing the IDOC to the SAP provided transformation (map). If Singapore customs needs more data fields, simply implement the new xsd.

Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more or get more details.

Seshagiri Gopi

Senior Solutions Architect.

SAP Applications.

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