Interview – Switzerland
Three questions to Franz Schneider, Managing Director Gerlach Switzerland
In our interview series “Three questions to” we talked to Franz Schneider, Managing Director of Gerlach in Switzerland, about the market, new developments and his team.
1. What key trends and developments have you observed in the market that you are responsible for?
Due to the political uncertainties, we are unfortunately observing a trend towards the development of trade barriers. Companies must prepare themselves better at an early stage and act accordingly by identifying possible risks – especially with regard to transport and customs.
Brexit is a relevant topic for our industry of course – but it is less relevant for us in Switzerland. The UK is an important partner for Switzerland. Switzerland-UK relationships are based on bilateral agreements signed between Switzerland and the EU. Switzerland and the UK had already agreed and identified solutions before the Brexit.
An important trend for our industry is the trend towards digitisation and automation. I see many opportunities for the customs industry in particular: When time-consuming, repetitive tasks are automated, experts can focus even more intensively on the challenging tasks.
This is why I think it is important, and this is how we do it in our area, to promote and facilitate digital transformation within the company and among our employees.
"It makes me proud to see that at Gerlach, we work fast and in an unconventional way – this way we offer exactly the flexibility that customers demand from us."
2. Are there any new regulatory events – customs related – happening in your environment that customers should know about?
In this context, I would like to address two key points: the DaziT transformation programme and the change in the VAT law in Switzerland.
What’s DaziT? Swiss customs launched the DaziT transformation programme on January 1, 2018. The aim of the programme is to digitise all customs processes by 2026 to further simplify and speed up border crossings. We were involved in this programme by the Swiss customs authority as part of the pilot project. Of course, I am very pleased that our team can participate and shape such future-oriented programmes.
Another important event is the change to the VAT rules in Switzerland: Foreign mail order companies are subject to value-added tax in Switzerland if they generate at least CHF 100,000 turnover per year with shipments that are not subject to Swiss import tax. This means that registration is mandatory for import shipments. At Gerlach in Switzerland, we can provide comprehensive advice on these issues.
3. What makes you very proud of your team right now?
It makes me proud to see that as a team at Gerlach, we work fast and in an unconventional way – this way we offer exactly the flexibility that customers demand from us.
Our strength is our knowledge and our many years of experience – over 135 years – in the field of customs. Especially in the age of digitalisation, knowledge becomes even more important, as robots can only be as intelligent as the humans who feed them with knowledge.
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Managing Director Gerlach Switzerland