Congratulations! You’ve been appointed to manage your company’s CTPAT program, and now you’re responsible for ensuring that your company complies with program requirements for supply chain security. That’s great news—you’ve got one of the most important jobs in your industry! Before we dive into the details, let’s take a step back and think about what this means for you.
The Level of Effort Required for Successful CTPAT Management Depends on Many Factors
As you begin managing CTPAT compliance, it’s important to understand the level of granularity required to succeed. The amount of time and effort you devote to this program will depend on many factors, including:
- The size of your company. A small business may only have one or two suppliers, while a large corporation might have thousands to account for when completing documentation
- Headcount. How many employees will be directly and indirectly impacted by CTPAT requirements?
- The complexity of your supplier base or supply chain structure. For example, if most goods come from overseas manufacturers with different certifications and standards, you will likely need to provide additional documentation about suppliers and your processes.
Learn the CTPAT Basics
CTPAT stands for the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. It’s a program that allows businesses to work in partnership with the government to secure their supply chains and reduce risk. The benefits of CTPAT include:
- Reduced number of CBP examinations.
- Front of the line inspections.
- Possible exemption from Stratified Exams.
- Shorter wait times at the border.
- Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company.
- Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders.
A CTPAT manager’s role is to help ensure their company complies with all applicable CTPAT requirements, including security measures like access controls and physical security where goods are stored or processed before being shipped out.
Get Familiar with CTPAT Requirements
It’s important to study and understand the program. CTPAT requirements are available from the US Customs and Border Protection website and in the CTPAT portal—where all of your company’s supporting documentation should be stored. The CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) details basic program requirements that were updated in 2020, so review them often as you’re managing your CTPAT program.
Understand Why CTPAT is Important and How It Fits Into Your Supply Chain
CTPAT is a voluntary program that allows you to better understand and assess your supply chain’s risks and vulnerabilities. It’s important to remember that CTPAT is not just a compliance or security program; involvement directly aids in improving overall security of the system of international trade through partnership. Understanding this distinction can take time and effort if you’re new to managing compliance programs. But once you get it, it will make all the difference in the overall success of your CTPAT efforts.
If you’re a new CTPAT manager, our team of CTPAT specialists can help you start your journey. It can be daunting to interpret all the rules and requirements associated with the program – CTPAT Navigator is a compliance resource developed with your challenges in mind. Learn about how we can help.
The CT Strategies team of former CBP CTPAT Supply Chain Security Specialists (SCSS) and Directors help companies successfully navigate CBP’s CTPAT program. Using insights from over 80 years of combined CBP operational and policy knowledge, we leverage our first-hand CTPAT supply chain security experience and connections to current CBP leadership, so you can save time and money and get the most out of your CTPAT membership.