Supply Chain Security Programs: Maintaining Effective and Efficient Compliance

Managing global compliance and risk

The supply chain security concept has gone global and is here to stay. Starting with the U.S. Customs’ Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)  the World Customs Organization’s AEO programs have expanded to close to 40 different countries with another 16 or so in development. In addition, there are now some 40 different Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) in place with another 30 being negotiated. Each of these programs and MRA’s has their own set of eligibility and minimum security requirements. It is clear that in order to remain competitive in today’s markets and receive the full benefits that these programs have to offer companies must ensure that they as well as their business partners are in compliance with these government sponsored programs.

The two criteria that companies seem to find problematic are the Business Partner Requirements and conducting an effective Risk Assessment. Ensuring that your business partners are in compliance with the various programs becomes more complex as you’re your supply chains expand and become more diverse. Simply sending out a questionnaire and hoping that your business partners will respond is inefficient and ineffective. Automating this process allows you to customize your questionnaires, track the response rate, evaluate the responses, identify areas for improvement and relate corrective actions.

Quantifying risk to justify security investment

Conducting an effective risk assessment allows companies to implement the appropriate level of countermeasures to ensure that resources are being allocated efficiently and ensure that your company’s goods are safe and secure as they move though the supply chain. A key component to conducting an effective risk or threat assessment is having access to current information that is directly related to the trade lanes that your goods are traveling through. The types of threats that companies are facing are changing daily. Cargo theft, cargo disruptions due to labor issues, natural disasters, anti-western terrorism is just a few of the pitfalls that can have adverse impact on your ability to move your goods safely, securely and efficiently.

What do you find are the biggest challenges in managing your supply chain security program?