Software relieves the burden on Sales
In order to comply with export control regulations, the Plansee Group relies on powerful software and regular staff training.
Patricia Roth from the sales team meticulously records the customer’s order in the system. Because it is a new customer, she first creates the master data. The system saves the record without problems. Then, Patricia Roth records the product that has been ordered. Because the export control software is updated daily to incorporate the latest changes in the international sanction lists, it permits efficient, ongoing checking of all business partners in the background. This means that the system is in the position to occasionally flag up a transaction so that it can be subjected to closer inspection to ensure that all export control regulations have been complied with in respect of sanction lists, embargoed countries and end use (e.g. dual use).
The term “dual use” refers to products that can be used for two different purposes. It is primarily used in the context of export controls, where it refers to the potential use of a commercial product for both civil and military purposes. This applies whether the product is a machine, a piece of software, a technology or, as in the case of Plansee, a product made from the high-technology materials molybdenum or tungsten.
Speeding up the workflow
The Plansee Group is aware of its obligations in respect of export controls geared towards international security and has explicitly stated this in its Code of Conduct. Ultimately, any failure to comply with export control regulations can not only damage the image of a company, but can also lead to civil or criminal proceedings.
The sales staff in the Plansee Group perform detailed checks on the recipient, the end user, the product and the intended use. In the scenario we have described, it turns out that the product ordered, in the dimensions and quality ordered, could actually fall into a dual use category. However, the customer can provide a coherent explanation of the application and guarantee that this is the case in an end-user certificate.
The system deployed in the Plansee Group relieves sales staff like Patricia Roth of a considerable amount of work. Every time an order is recorded it completely unobtrusively checks numerous criteria: Is the customer or an affiliated company on a sanction list? Is the product to be delivered to an embargoed country?
The various criteria can be combined in many different ways, and the difficulties are exacerbated by the fact that the sanction lists and the lists of embargoed countries are constantly changing. “It is impossible for a member of the sales staff to remember all this at once,” says Sandra Horninger, head of trade affairs and export compliance at the Plansee Group. “The software does not just relieve the burden on our sales staff. It also allows us to protect ourselves and our customers and speed up our workflows.” But the Plansee Group does not wish to rely solely on systems to ensure compliance with export controls. Training courses sensitize staff from Sales and other departments to situations where caution needs to be exercised with a contract: If, for example, the products that have been requested do not fit in with the customer’s other activities. Or if the customer insists on an unusual transport route. Or they refuse to reveal any information about the use of the product. One thing is clear to Sandra Horninger: “It is extremely important to sensitize staff at the Plansee Group if we, as a globally active company, are to guarantee effective export control.”