Although the program started in 2001, there continues to be a lack of understanding regarding what C-TPAT is and how it benefits and adds organizational value. What is it? “The U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism initiative (C-TPAT) is a voluntary U.S. Customs and Border Protection program designed to improve border security while also accelerating the processing of import shipments.” What do we have to do with that? Pro QC audits suppliers for conformance to the C-TPAT requirements, as part of your preparation process to register in the program or general risk management. Many companies require their suppliers to comply even though they don’t officially register in the program since a C-TPAT audit will provide information that is useful in managing the security of your production, products and tooling at the supplier factory. Why do it? 1) The program has indicated from its inception that C-TPAT importers are 4 to 6 times less likely to incur a security or compliance examination. It is estimated that 1 exam occurs every 5 movements. Partners in the program receives FAST lane access that saves time crossing the border. 2) Involvement in the program reinforces an organization’s brand, mission and values. Marketability is a relevant benefit. 3) Stratified Exam Benefits provide relief to program members in the form of cost savings. C-TPAT created this benefit “as a means to alleviate the additional cost of multiple container shipments being held for only one line item with storage costs collected on all containers.” 1700 C-TPAT members were surveyed by the University of Virginia regarding the benefits and costs. Interesting findings from the study include: Decrease in supply chain disruptions Greater ability to predict lead time Increase in number of customers and revenues Reduction in insurance rates Reduced penalties More benefits straight from the source here.