A Fortune 500 company, Reliance Steel and Aluminum is a global leader in the steel and metal-works industry. Reliance Steel and Aluminum implemented Descartes Visual Compliance™ solutions to help speed up and streamline their export compliance process. Descartes Visual Compliance’s automated screening and rescreening functionality has saved Reliance Steel roughly 28,000 man-hours per year, and reduced its exposure to compliance violations.

“The initial feedback from the employees was, ‘this is awesome. This is a huge improvement, we love it.’ … Descartes Visual Compliance has managed to save us nearly 28,000 man-hours per year, and reduce our compliance risk exposure.”

Erick Wallace Corporate Export Compliance Manager

Challenge: A Time-Consuming Manual Export Compliance Process

With a vast network of business locations and subsidiaries across the world, Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. found its manual export compliance process to be resource intensive, and slowing down orders. Without an automated process for export compliance, Reliance employees had to individually scan through thousands of government-produced PDF documents to verify the company was not dealing with any denied parties. With over three hundred thousand export shipments annually, the 5-10 minutes taken per entry to do so was no longer an option. Another challenge faced by the company was continuous compliance—the majority of Reliance’s exports were going to repeat customers, but since denied parties lists change all the time, it was necessary to screen each one again with every outgoing shipment.

Solution: Compliance and Productivity Gains with Cloud-Based Online Screening and Automated Re-screening

Reliance needed an advanced screening system. A company-wide subscription to the cloud-based Descartes Visual Compliance Restricted Party Screening solution made it possible for anyone at Reliance’s hundreds of global locations to easily obtain a user account and access the software any time it was needed. Canadian, European, and U.S. facilities were all able to screen, and those activities were reviewable from the central office. Descartes Visual Compliance gives Reliance the ability to screen entries against the United States government’s mandatory lists, as well as numerous additional lists from the U.N. and other international organizations, and receive results instantly.

Reliance is also able to submit thousands of names for screening all-at-once with the Descartes Visual Compliance Batch Screening module. Individual names of persons or companies that are not already included can also be manually added to the list of entries to be screened. Plus, audit records can be easily documented, tracked, and searched.

Every entity Reliance screens using Descartes Visual Compliance solutions is automatically added to Descartes Visual Compliance Dynamic Screening (automated re-screening), which issues an alert if a previously screened customer’s status level ever changes; no more need to re-screen customers manually. Once a name is in the system, it’s in for good, and Descartes Visual Compliance automatically lets Reliance know if a party with whom the company has an existing relationship ever becomes debarred in the future.

The Descartes Visual Compliance suite of solutions that Reliance subscribes to increased efficiency so much that it was able to begin screening all new customers, including purchasing agents, regardless of whether they were U.S. or foreign-based.


Significant Time Savings: By no longer having to manually screen against government lists, Reliance Steel and Aluminum ended up saving nearly 28,000 man-hours per year that it otherwise would have spent on attempting to stay compliant.

Continued Compliance: Reliance can now stay abreast of the constantly changing and evolving government denied and restricted party lists. Descartes Visual Compliance automates the rescreening process, so Reliance employees never have to worry about having to spend time manually rescreening people before shipments.

Coordinated Compliance: Reliance employees around the world can now easily access the same, standardized compliance solution—all that is needed is an internet connection.

Enterprise-wide Visibility: Descartes Visual Compliance extends real-time visibility for all screening activity in one centralized location. Designated officials are easily able to keep track of every screening performed, and able to action them as necessary, helping ensure the whole organization is on the same page as far as compliance is concerned.

Success Story
Reliance Steel and Aluminum



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