Meet Our People: James Simpson

James Simpson (Teal Background)

In our series #WeAreCustomsSupport, you will meet the people behind Customs Support. We value our colleagues and the work they do. In this series, we will interview the people who are always ready to assist you with importing or exporting your goods without worries. Next up in this series is James Simpson, who is the UK SCDP manager.

Who are you?

My name's James Simpson, and I'm the UK SCDP manager for Customs Support.

What does a UK SCDP manager do?

I oversee all of the Simplified Customs Declaration Procedure (SCDP) teams in the UK. Currently, I only cover the old UK Customs Solutions offices in Felixstowe and Paisley. However, Customs Support have acquired other companies that run SCDP, like KSI, DMS, and Britannia, so my role may evolve in time.

What does your typical working day look like?

Communication with my managers and team leaders is essential to our performance, so I spend a lot of my time on this. We cover the types of scenarios we could face, any issues that we have, and how to deal with them whilst safeguarding against repeated problems in future.

We deal with a large amount of data and it is a priority for us to do it in an accurate and timely manner. It takes a good team to do this work efficiently, and it’s our processes that save us time and stress down the line. I am lucky to have a fantastic team around me who are hardworking, dedicated, and knowledgeable. I encourage them to be free thinkers, and they bring great ideas to the table.

Outside of my own team, I am regularly in contact with my customers. The nature of SCDP means that they often have their own compliance team, so I work with them on changes to processes, updates on their trade, and strengthening that relationship. In many ways, our team is an extension of theirs.

I also oversee different projects within the company which can range from the systems we use to the ways in which we use them. Lobster continues to be at the forefront of where we are going, but it’s vital we are continuously working to improve our efficiency and compliance in other ways too. To this end, I am always seeking feedback from the team and our clients as one comment could lead to big progress.

What's the next stage of development for the SCDP department in the UK?

As mentioned before, Customs Support has already acquired other companies running the SCDP function with the potential to grow even further. This is an extremely exciting time to be part of the SCDP Department at Customs Support. We now sit under the “Special Services” banner which also incorporates our consultancy department, headed up by Des Hiscock.

Moving forward, we are currently reviewing our processes across all the acquisitions to see where we can leverage the systems and procedures at one-another’s disposal. The ultimate goal is to integrate all the teams into one SCDP department.

It will take time, but I have been really impressed by the wealth of knowledge and dedication from the other departments. We have some strong skill sets, and I look forward to working with everyone more in future.

What do you like to do outside of work and how do those skills transfer to your work life?

I've got two young kids, so my time and people management skills are always growing! I like to spend a lot of time with them, my wife and the dog. I don’t take for granted the very limited amount of time I get with the kids while they are young and they want to spend time with me!

I am also a Newcastle United fan so try to catch games/highlights on TV as much as I can. It is such a nice change to see them doing well!

I’m also studying for the UK Customs Academy Level 5 Diploma in Advanced Customs Compliance.

What’s the number one thing to look for in a customs broker?

They have to be compliant. There are a lot of procedures that customs brokers can be processing and you need one that has the knowledge of how to do it right and keep you on the right side of the authorities.

A broker should also be adaptable and willing to go the extra mile. I think it’s also important to be easy to work with and make sure that relationships and trust are built at desk-level, as well as at managerial.

You work with a Europe-wide network. If you were to visit an office location of Customs Support, which city or country would you go and see first and why?

Sweden. My brother-in-law is Swedish, so I have taken an interest in the country. It looks amazing and, having met a few Swedes over the years, they seem to be a very friendly and laid-back bunch of people.

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