Importing products to Mexico is a more complex process than one would expect; Mexican customs’ conditions and regulations cause delays and problems for importers of all types and sizes. The Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection ensures total visibility of the shipments and therefore reduces costs and time by releasing the merchandise at Mexican ports within 24 to 48 hours.
This case study shows how QIMA helped the world's largest retailer establish a long-term time and money-saving strategy with physical and documentary inspections at the point of origin to streamline processes in Mexican customs.
This client is one of the most important retailers globally, with extensive operations in Mexico and across the world. It is QIMA’s first Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection client, with whom we continue to work at present. Today, it imports to Mexico more than 15,000 containers yearly with consumer goods, mainly from Asia and Europe.
One of the main characteristics of the retail industry is its seasonality. All activities, purchases, offers and promotions are planned several months in advance, having a direct impact on import needs and marketing activities. For example, brochures, leaflets and point-of-sale materials are prepared well in advance, which means that not having the product on the shelves in time is not an option. Before working with QIMA, and as a precaution, the retailer in question chose to import the products several months before they were actually needed to give itself the time to react to any kind of supply chain issues, which were mostly detected once the containers arrived in Mexico.
With the number of products imported each year and a portfolio of suppliers throughout Asia, having complete visibility and control was virtually impossible. From problems with merchandise labeling and engraving, lack of compliance with customs regulations and standards, to differences in quantities, product loaded incorrectly and not following the loading plan, damaged, missing or even undeclared merchandise, the customer was struggling with unnecessary delays to release the product and get it to the stores around Mexico. These delays and issues often times resulted in fines and penalties at customs, as well as high storage costs for storing product in Mexico longer than necessary.
Based on previous experience with reviewing shipments in customs warehouses, we worked with the client to implement the same process - but instead of carrying it out once the containers arrived in Mexico, the process took place at the point of origin. We developed an operational flow that guarantees the Mexican customs operations best practices anywhere in the world. This involved contacting the client's suppliers and sharing with them the details of the process, informing them exactly what it covered and what actions had to be taken, as well as the support we required from them to not delay any shipment.
Being able to coordinate with suppliers directly dramatically increased visibility into our client's supply chain. We were able to provide information and details about the products, their labeling, the quantities of products in the containers, etc., including the way their suppliers operate. Having this information in the form of a report available to our regulatory team created the possibility of detecting any problems based on the photographs included in the report which allowed the client to have all the time of the transport to react and resolve any problems before the goods arrived at the Mexican port of arrival.
By offering this total visibility to our client and giving them the necessary information to detect problems and proceed with their resolution, the time of the containers in Mexican customs was drastically reduced by not having to open them and having the documentation in order and ready for processing. The Pre-Customs Clearance Inspection helped our client to secure its supply chain, significantly improve times of delivery and lower costs and risks related to its imports.
The improvements in the process, and the subsequent excellent results initiated a long-term relationship that continues to this day.
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