What key trends and developments do you observe in the market that you are responsible for?
Looking at the global economic situation, we observe increasing political uncertainties and the resulting increase in trade barriers. In our business segment and for many of our customers, the issue of Brexit and its potential impact on customs and trade is a priority. There has been a very strong increase in customer enquiries about Brexit. We have prepared well for Brexit in recent months. In this way we can advise our customers accordingly and offer possible solutions.
Furthermore, we are experiencing a major shortage of human resources in the customs area. Although we as Gerlach with our profound customs expertise are seen as an interesting employer. The shortage of skilled workers is as challenging for us as it is for the entire market.
Finding and retaining good employees is very important to us. We have therefore been training customs employees ourselves for many years and train them in the wide range of customs procedures. I personally promote “lifelong learning” in my area of responsibility. My employees, but also myself, constantly refresh our knowledge – through internal and external training, participating in expert forums and working groups.
Are there any new regulatory events – customs related – happening in your environment that customers should know about?
On May 1, 2016, the Customs Code of the European Union (UCC) entered into full force and replaced the Community Customs Code in force since 1992. The aim of the UCC is to meet the increased security requirements as well as the simplification and digitisation of customs procedures.
Although the UCC means that some companies have to meet stricter requirements, they can also benefit from many of its advantages. For example, the requirements for an AEO authorisation have tightened in some respects – such as personal guarantee, financial solvency and security.
"Although the UCC means that some companies have to meet stricter requirements, they can also benefit from many of its advantages."
We, at Gerlach are well positioned with regard to the changes and requirements of the UCC and can provide our customers with competent and salient advice so that they can benefit from the advantages of this reform.
What makes you very proud of your team right now?
Particularly in the light of the intensive Brexit preparations, it has made me very proud to see how our team has been able to advise the customer quickly and comprehensively. Our talented IT colleagues, together with our customs experts, quickly worked out solutions that enable automatic and scalable processes. I am very proud of my Team!
Furthermore, I am very proud to see how we, as a team manage to help companies with their expansions and experience the fascination of “trade” live on a daily basis. I see us as “architects” – we help the customer to realise his ideas – by listening, planning, advising and implementing.