Case Study How Komatsu Ltd. Has Reduced Customs Costs In the previous three series, we introduced business barriers, which companies entering Brazil encounter, including a high-cost structure called “Brazil costs” that is caused by the nation’s extremely complicated indirect tax system for imports, presented as countermeasures against these barriers the use of a special tariff system, and showed excellent business opportunities in the MERCOSUR market. This time, we will introduce a case of cost reductions using the special tariff system. Status of Komatsu do Brasil Ltda Komatsu do Brasil Ltda was established in the city of Suzano, Sao Paulo in 1975 as the Komatsu Group’s first overseas production base. Since then, Komatsu do Brasil has established a solid position in the Brazilian market, played a major role in the country’s history of construction and development over many years, and participated in the nation’s important undertakings, including roads, railways, airports, power plants, petrochemical complexes, as well as large-scale infrastructure, agriculture and mining projects. To do business with a wide range of customers at home and overseas, Komatsu do Brasil needed to obtain approval under the RECOF regime (Industrial Warehouse under Computerized Control Customs Regime), and comply with the standards stipulated by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service. In addition to observing the requirements provided for by the regulations of the RECOF regime, particularly the duty of accountability for the products admitted under the scheme, the company needed to optimize import and export processes to enable close control and cost reduction. Issues in using the RECOF regime To perform all controls required for the RECOF regime, report necessary information to the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service, and get approved, it was inevitable to link data between the company’s internal ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) package system and the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service’s system. It was difficult to manually perform these processes. As a result of pursuing the way to automate the above procedures through systematization, Komatsu do Brasil has succeeded in the automatic data linking between the internal ERP package system and the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service’s system by introducing external software. Under this automated framework, the company now gets approved for the RECOF regime. Further benefits of the systematization It has been found that the software introduced to obtain approval also can be used to improve business processes and reduce costs. Specifically, the import control system, the ERP package system and the internal web-based tools are fully integrated. This makes it possible to upload invoices on the KDB website, which interfaces with the import control system. The whole import process is completed automatically with as little manual input as possible, generating all forms, such as import declarations, domestic invoices and state tax collection slips. Moreover, the export control tool is also fully integrated with the company’s ERP package system, ensuring that after sales orders and domestic invoices are issued. This information feeds into the export control system, where export registrations, export clearance declarations and other documents required for customs clearance are generated. As a result of system integration, the company cut import lead time by about 30% and costs with customs brokers by about 90%, as well as improving reliability of operations. In the previous series, we showed the barriers that companies entering Brazil encounter, and the countermeasures against such barriers using the special tariff system. However, when using the regime, it is recommended to have a viewpoint of systematization, too, which results in gaining further merits in addition to reduction in tariffs. Note: RECOF regime (Finance Bureau Rules No. 417 dated April 20, 2004) A special treatment for the production of exported products in the areas related to the information and communications, aircraft, automobile and semiconductor industries. When the RECOF requirements are fulfilled, the payment of the import duty (II), industrial product tax (IPI) and social contributions (PIS/Cofins), which should be normally paid upon the importation of components, raw materials, etc., will be suspended. When purchasing domestically manufactured products, the payment of IPI and PIS/Cofins will be suspended. If products, which use imported or purchased components and raw materials, are exported, suspended taxes will be exempted.