Amidst rapid inflation and strict import restrictions, I led billing processes for tools and materials the firm imported to and exported from Argentina in 2012 and 2013.
 

Problem

When I took the role in Buenos Aires, the company had over $1MM of unpaid invoices billed from freight forwarders and customs brokers. These billing errors disrupted the their ability to pay vendors and report logistics costs.
 

Context

In 2012, Argentina introduced strict import restrictions. These restrictions required foreign firms in Argentina to limit imports and to offset the value of imports with equivalent exports, to invest in the country and keep profits there, or to use a certain amount of Argentine content in their products. At the time, rising inflation and capital flight had depleted Argentina’s dollar reserves. The government introduced tightened capital controls, a black market for dollars emerged, and within the following two years, private estimates of annual inflation reached 40%.
 

Process

RESEARCH
I conducted interviews with stakeholders to develop a deep understanding of the company's logistics and finance processes in Argentina. I also interviewed the firm's customs brokers and freight forwarders about their systems and workflows.


SYNTHESIS
I systematically identified patterns in incorrectly-billed commercial invoices by reviewing pricing contracts, terms of payment, terms of delivery, packing lists, and bills of lading.


PROTOTYPING
Based on my findings, I held weekly meetings with the company's customs brokers and freight forwarders to evaluate their performance. In these meetings, I communicated patterns that I was seeing and worked to co-create solutions.


IMPLEMENTATION
Throughout the course of this project, I developed and implemented a system for tracking and evaluating supplier KPIs. I also partnered with the logistics and finance departments, to redesign workflows for billing and cost reporting in Argentina that were later scaled across the region.

 

Deliverables

• Research findings
• Identification of billing errors
• Weekly meetings to review supplier performance
• System for tracking & evaluating supplier KPIs
• Redesigned workflows
• Financial forecasts

Outcome

• $1MM in resolved billing errors
• Strengthened visbility into freight forwarder & customs broker performance
• Reduced delay in logistics cost reporting
• More timely payment of suppliers
• Improved accuracy of financial forecasting