Call for change

For leading agriculture company Syngenta, foreign trade is vital to maintaining operations in more than 90 countries. It is also essential for feeding communities and enabling millions of farmers to make better use of agricultural resources.

However, the ability to effectively manage foreign trade was becoming increasingly difficult. Changing commerce rules in many countries required constant re-evaluation of trade conditions. Syngenta was relying on non-standardized processes involving a variety of third-party customs brokers to navigate a complex trade landscape. And the company’s systems provided only limited visibility into customs and foreign trade activity.

To thrive in this uncertain environment, Syngenta needed a new approach. That’s why the company joined forces with Accenture to create new strategies and implement new methods in several key areas.

"Accenture supported us in developing a new approach to foreign trade and customs, which led to significant savings while supporting our mission to serve farmers and communities."

— Marion Matthewman, Head of Global Logistics – Syngenta

When tech meets human ingenuity

Syngenta and Accenture began by assessing the company’s trade activities and identifying improvement opportunities. This led to the creation of an overall foreign trade strategy, supported by a global trade operating model. To enable the new operating model, the team also developed a comprehensive foreign trade roadmap and managed its implementation, using SAP Global Trade Services to support all foreign trade operations.

Importantly, the team delivered a central foreign-trade analytics tool, based on Microsoft Power BI, to help Syngenta take a data-driven approach to trade with a single centralized tool supporting operational, tactical and strategic decision-making. This solution proved its value early, helping Syngenta realize more than US$2 million per year by changing a specific source country and thus reducing duties on products.

A valuable difference

These efforts have given Syngenta a holistic, efficient approach to foreign trade and customs that supports more than 10,000 users in daily operations, delivering important benefits on several fronts.


The new customs strategy has increased visibility into costs, milestones, performance and compliance, reducing customs processing time by approximately 50 percent.


The digitization of foreign trade processes has enabled the automatic real-time screening of 11,000 transactions a day, reducing the risk of non-compliance.


The new approach to trade and customs is generating duty savings of 5% with the potential for much more.

The new approach also helps to improve delivery lead times and reliability, resulting in lower inventory costs and fewer shortages. And it is allowing Syngenta to avoid substantial trade penalty fees.

Meanwhile, Syngenta’s trade analytics tool lets the company use near real-time logistics and customs data to support fact-based decision-making. The tool also helps Syngenta develop insights that can drive ongoing improvement and cost-reduction efforts. And it has lowered the need for manual processing and analysis of information, reducing errors and freeing up skilled people to focus on other value-adding activities.

With its integrated, comprehensive approach, Syngenta has become more resilient in an increasingly challenging trade environment. Syngenta is now able to work proactively to keep its products moving efficiently and quickly around the world, with the company registering no lost sales in 2021 due to Brexit.

"With Accenture’s support, we have put in place a new approach to trade that enables us to respond better to uncertainty, putting us on a solid foundation for flexibility and growth."

— Thomas Bilger, Head of Customs and Foreign Trade – Syngenta

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