Top 5 Reasons to Apply for C-TPAT Certification

As the incidence of terrorist acts has increased around the globe, more manufacturers are recognizing the importance of supply chain security and thus applying for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. Founded in 2001, participation in the C-TPAT program continues to climb. Today, more than 11,400 certified partners have been accepted into the program.   Led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), C-TPAT works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve U.S. border security. The partners include U.S. importers and exporters, manufacturers, customs brokers, carriers and others – all of whom account for more than 52 percent (by value) of cargo imported into the U.S., according to CBP.   Although QCA does not require applicants to achieve C-TPAT certification to become accredited, we do advocate C-TPAT certification as a best practice. QCA accreditation applicants that have a Tier 1 or higher C-TPAT certification may be able to use that documentation for QCA supply chain security testing. Further, this certification offers many benefits that will help you grow your business. Here are the top five reasons to apply for C-TPAT certification.   New Business Opportunities A C-TPAT certification opens doors to new opportunities for business growth. Once certified, you will be able to compete for contracts that require C-TPAT membership – thus expanding your potential customer base. You will also be eligible for other U.S. government pilot programs.   Fewer Customs Inspections When a C-TPAT certified company imports goods, the cargo is considered preferred, and points are deducted from the risk value. This translates into reduced inspection and customs fees. And even if your shipment is selected for inspection, the process will take less time, resulting in increased speed to market.   Front of the Line Privileges As a C-TPAT supplier, you receive front-of-the-line inspections, which results in a reduction in the time and cost of getting cargo released by U.S. Customs. Also, any containers or trailers will be moved ahead of non-certified ones, further reducing wait times.   Shorter Wait Times at the Border C-TPAT members gain expedited clearance across the land borders between the U.S. and Canada, and between the U.S. and Mexico via dedicated Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes. This results in a decreased wait time at land border ports of entry and increased predictability in moving goods.   Priority Access in Emergencies In the event of a national emergency or terrorist act...

Read More

California Enforces its Transparency in Supply Chains Act

In a move preceding the enforcement of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the California attorney general started sending letters in April 2015 to companies requesting proof of compliance. The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB-657) requires companies to provide explicit information on their websites regarding efforts to address slavery, child labor, and human trafficking in their supply chains. Any retail seller or manufacturer doing business in California with annual worldwide gross receipts of more than $100 million falls within the purview of this law. Companies have been advised to respond to the letter within 30 days, with either an explanation for not complying, such as their tax returns claiming exemption, or a link to their website disclosure showing their compliance with the act. The law requires the California Franchise Tax Board to provide lists of qualifying companies, retailers, or manufacturers to the California AG. Those lists won’t be made public. The California AG is fully prepared to take legal action against businesses that are not in compliance. For those who do comply, they will need to furnish accurate disclosures proving so or face private lawsuits under false advertising laws. The California AG has set up a website to help with any compliance issues. There is also an information resource guide which might be helpful if you’re looking for more information and it can be downloaded here: The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act: A Resource Guide (2015). The guide gives instructions on the model of disclosure and best practices for retailers or businesses to post on their websites, and provides parameters on where and how to post. The intention of the guide is to help companies provide the proper disclosures and to help the public’s understanding of its anti-slavery and human trafficking efforts. The law doesn’t mandate that business take measures to comply, but only that they disclose what efforts, if any, they do take. A coalition of anti-trafficking organizations are advocating for this law. They have developed a website to raise awareness of slavery, child labor, and human trafficking within supply chains. The site also provides a search engine where you can find out if a company complies with the act or not. Photo Credit: Indie Photos via Compfight...

Read More

Employer Demand Sparks New Interest In Supply Chain MBA

Employer Demand Sparks New Interest In Supply Chain MBA

As a result of increasing employer demand, more universities are offering courses and degree programs in global supply chain strategy. Students can delve into topics like procurement and inventory management, giving them the educational foundation they need to tackle real-time supply chain issues for a variety of companies, especially those in manufacturing, retail and technology. There’s no denying that today’s supply chains are more complex, thanks to intricate set-ups that, in many cases, span the globe. Yet with that distance and size, problems are more likely to abound—and employing someone who can specialize in strategic improvement and management of the supply chain is becoming a smart business investment. “In the past few years, many companies have experienced growing pains as they’ve added far-flung sourcing partners and shipped products to a more international market,” writes Melissa Korn for the Wall Street Journal. “The rise of fast-fashion brands such as Zara and Forever 21, which rely on quick turnaround to keep stores stocked, along with a growing interest in data analytics to find new efficiencies, have led companies to see their supply chains as crucial to success—or failure.” Students interested in a supply chain career have more options that now include undergraduate majors, MBA concentrations and entire degree programs. Take Rutgers Business School, for example, which added an undergraduate supply chain major in 2010 and, so far, has registered 450 students for the degree program. At QCA, we see the security of supply chain as a critical part of product safety and compliance, so we’re not surprised to see this particular area emerging as a more important concentration. After all, if your supply chain isn’t visible and secure, your product quality and safety will undoubtedly suffer—and that will have a larger impact not only on your company’s image, but also on your ability to successfully do business in today’s safety-minded marketplace. Would you pursue a supply chain MBA? Or do you wish the option had been available sooner? Image: alonis via Compfight...

Read More

Supply Chain Transparency and Control

Originally published by Promo Marketing on July 29, 2011. Corporate America’s expectations for supply chain transparency and control continue to grow as companies work to manage growing risk in light of the evolving product safety and compliance environment. In the past few weeks alone, final determinations on lead in substrates and third-party testing requirements were published by the CPSC. The California Supply Chain Transparency Act goes into effect January 2012. Up to 30 states are considering some form of BPA ban. What the federal governments do not regulate, the states will. The only way we can move past the pain of chasing the latest specific requirements is to proactively focus on the source of much of our angst—the prevalence of poorly developed supply chains in our industry. Matt Barnes did a recent blog on “Choosing the Right Supplier.” Matt is right on the money and the topic warrants much deeper discussion. I hope his blog caused you to pause and reflect on the hands you are placing the success of your projects or even your business in. Choosing the right supplier could be the single most important decision you make on a day-to-day basis. Do your suppliers have control and transparency of their supply chain? Or are you doing business with opportunistic vendors? I’m in a unique position to hear the gory details from both suppliers and distributors alike. It is not uncommon for the conversations I have on product safety and compliance to include a mention of the business lost because of factory or supplier failures. I’ve heard from corporate end-users about the factory workers running out the back door as the auditors go in the front door. I have my own experiences in painfully managing projects to success to draw from. Several long-term industry veterans have characterized many supply chains in our industry as “two guys and a cell phone” or “a guy who knows a guy in China.” This is especially apparent when companies dabble in occasional direct importing outside of their core competencies. You know a few companies who fit these descriptions and they are proving the common wisdom that you get what you pay for. You cannot consistently manage quality, product safety or compliance into an order—especially when the product is already on the water. The only way to effectively deliver on Corporate America’s requirements is to proactively develop your supply chain to the point where you...

Read More