Employee Spotlight – Daniel McMenemy, Customs Classification
Welcome to our new employee spotlight series! Here, we will be introducing the faces behind the technology at CORE and giving you an inside look at the work they do and who they are. To kick things off, we would like to introduce Daniel McMenemy who is a Customs Classification Specialist working on our TariffTel solution. Daniel has been with CORE for nearly two years and prior to joining us worked at Salesforce.
What’s his favourite thing about customs classification? Well, he likes the interpretive challenges it presents. Every different product area presents a new challenge to research and understand how it should be classified. For some real life examples, take a look at the complexities his team regularly work through when classifying seasonal products for Easter and Summer.
Let’s dive in with some more questions.
Can you tell us more about your journey to becoming a customs classification specialist at CORE?
As with most people working in this field I didn’t decide as a child that I wanted to work in customs classification when I grew up! My previous role was managing the mail centre in Salesforce’s London office, and as that involved shipping between the UK/EU/US I was introduced to commodity codes. I wanted to be sure that I was classifying shipments correctly, so I signed up for courses on customs classification. One of these was the UK Customs Academy where I completed the Certificate in Advanced Customs Compliance with a Distinction grade.
I wanted to work more specifically within customs classification and was very lucky to speak with Elizabeth Davies who heads up CORE’s customs classification solution, TariffTel, and that sealed the deal to joining CORE and starting my role as a customs classification specialist. Not only do I get to develop my knowledge and learn new things everyday, I also have the added benefit of working with a bunch of very talented people who are all as equally interested in classification as I am!
What does a typical day look like for you?
The main focus of my day involves researching a particular garment type by exploring the Tariff Notes/Explanatory Notes for the relevant Chapter, as well as related rulings, guides and webinars to understand the classification requirements. This is why classification is complex for retailers and where we can help in-house teams as we do all the heavy-lifting with the research to make sure our customers such as M&S and Primark know all the minute classification details for a given product. I then convert this information into unique Item Types within our database, which account for all variations around that garment’s classification, and develop clarifying information to help our customers decide which option to pick.
Put simply, my job is about pulling complex information from multiple areas, interpreting how it fits within the process of classification and making it understandable to everyone. It often takes a lot of research and much discussion before agreeing on some of the trickier items. Alongside this I also liaise with our customers to answer specific questions about a product’s classification. My days are varied and often involve a great deal of reading and discussion in order to continually improve our extensive TariffTel database.
What has been your biggest accomplishment while working at CORE?
Improving my own working knowledge of garment classification for the US Tariff has been a huge personal achievement for me, as it introduces an interesting layer of complexities when accounting for the language differences.
For example, did you know that in the US the word ‘jumper’ actually refers to a dress similar to a pinafore, rather than the warm pullover we are accustomed to in the UK! Our combined knowledge in this area of UK/US classification means that we have developed this section of the TariffTel database enormously, much to the appreciation of our customers who ship to the US.
What skills do you need to work in customs classification?
Curiosity, a methodical way of working, attention to detail and a good memory are great traits to have. There is an exceptional amount of reading and research involved, and the language is not the most user friendly at times, so being able to focus and read through these documents while retaining the information relevant to the product you’re classifying is key.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and how has it impacted your career?
The best advice I have received was to prioritise a healthy work/life balance. Work is important and I greatly enjoy what I do, however I strive to maintain a healthy balance between my personal life and work life, and make sure to take time for my own mental wellbeing.
What do you do out of work for fun?
I try to stay healthy and exercise during the week, and I’m attempting to learn Italian at the moment. I also love reading, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is an all-time favourite, and I’m currently on the first book of the Dune series. Finally, I’m a fan of Dungeons and Dragons and frequently run campaigns for friends, one of which lasted for over three years!
We look forward to sharing more stories from our talented team here at CORE. Follow us on LinkedIn to hear more from our team and what they get up to. A big thank you to Daniel for kicking off our series.
You can see more on our talented team here.
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