Cost Plus Minimizes Supply Chain Disruptions

Cost Plus World Market expands the use of its global supply chain operating platform from GT Nexus to include functions that allow the retailer to comply with the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection€„¢s Importer Security Filing (ISF) rule, which came into full effect on January 26, 2010.
The ISF rule requires all U.S. importers to electronically submit containerized shipment details before ocean vessels depart the origin port. Importers that fail to comply with the rule face fines and/or costly supply chain delays.

Cost Plus has used the global trade and logistics operating platform from GT Nexus for the past several years. The platform serves as a central data repository for purchase orders, shipments, inventory, events, documents, and supply chain costs. While originally deployed to provide global supply chain visibility and control, the system also captures and standardizes the very information elements that U.S. Customs requires for ISF compliance.

"The new U.S. Customs ISF rule has the potential to seriously disrupt import supply chains," said Jeff Turner, EVP Operations and CIO, Cost Plus World Market. "With GT Nexus, we had the difficult task of collecting timely and accurate inventory information already done. When the ISF rule took effect in January, we were already in compliance with an automated system."

The Advanced ISF solution in use at Cost Plus gathers data from digitized purchase orders, vendor documents, and origin processes. The system then auto-populates an ISF compliance form with the right information. Users at Cost Plus then review the data and submit it directly to U.S. Customs at the click of a button.

The platform also provides information on filing status and event milestones in an easily digestible "dashboard" format that gives a quick overview of what needs most attention. The data can also be managed and viewed at a much finer-grained level, down to specific items and orders.

"Customs has indicated that it will issue fines and do-not-load orders for shipments that don't have proper ISF documentation," added Turner. "This was a risk we weren't willing to take. The GT Nexus ISF technology was the ideal option because it is part of the same core technology that's supporting our import operations. This allows us to proactively manage any orders and shipments that are at risk of missing the ISF cut-off window."

The entire platform is provided to Cost Plus as an on-demand service over the Web. The GT Nexus portal connects Cost Plus with its network of carriers, suppliers, 3PLs and brokers, which, in turn, allows operational data to be captured and standardized in a central repository. A suite of Web applications provides Cost Plus with visibility, transportation management, document automation, supplier enablement, and ISF capabilities.
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