Top 5 tips when preparing for a C-TPAT Validation

Your company has just been notified by your C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) that they want to perform a site audit at your business location in the near future.

You feel fairly confident that you have all your security practices in place, but you do not want to run the risk of not being compliant.

“What will C-TPAT be looking at the most closely”, you asked yourself.  While C-TPAT rarely gives any business partner a 100% score on an audit, there are some key factors to have in place before their visit.

1)    Have your documentation ready that indicates how your business meets the minimum security requirements for your type of business. This includes seal logs, visitor log sheets, completed business partner assessments, a risk analysis sheet for the regions of the world in which you do business, and internal security procedures sheets for employee building access, key accesses, and human resource hiring and firing practices.  These are just a few of the documents that should be able to be presented in hard copy form to the Supply Chain Security Specialist.

2)    Make sure your staff actually performs the tasks that the documents say they perform. It is not enough to just say you do background checks on potential employees, you must actually show that you do them.  Are your gates really locked or do you just say they are?  Are your trucks and trailers really inspected or do you just indicate they are? 

3)    Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Take pictures of your physical security practices around your premises.  Pictures of locked windows, cameras, fences, outdoor and indoor security lighting, container seals, no parking signs, employee and visitor parking signs, are all good for verification to C-TPAT that you have security practices in place.

4)    Have your team prepared.  Have the Human Resource manager ready with documents that verify employment background checks.   Have your shipping and receiving manager ready with testimonies to truck and trailer inspections, driver identification logs, and container seals locked up.  Have someone ready to discuss supply chain security training of the employees.  The more well prepared the team is to receive C-TPAT, the more smoothly things will go.

5)    Have a Risk Assessment document ready to give to C-TPAT.  C-TPAT wants to know that overall, a business has evaluated their international supply chain risks from every angle, including the risk level of countries that you do business with.  A risk assessment is required by C-TPAT, but each company is free to determine the best way to evaluate and document the various risks of their foreign trade business.  The document should include financial risks, terrorism risks, human-trafficking risks and more. 

The key to a successful C-TPAT site audit is to be well prepared with policies, practices, and procedures in place that are documented and verifiable.  The rest is…shall we dare say…a piece of cake.

 

Contact SGT to learn more about how to become C-TPAT Certified and how to protect your imported goods.  Ph:  800-230-5554