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Preparation Equals Speed in Shipping

By: Simon Kaye, Jaguar Freight Services
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

In today’s challenging beauty market, marketers and suppliers need every competitive edge they can get. Companies pursuing global sourcing for the competitive cost advantages it offers is nothing new—neither is the fact that delays caused by customs problems, information snags, missing or ill-prepared shipping documents or inappropriate cargo routing can eat up those cost savings in a hurry. When it comes to logistics, speed is second only to reliability as the competitive edge companies want—though too many companies seem resigned to accepting shipping delays as a necessary evil. That simply should not be the case.

Speed Equals Planning

In the world of global sourcing and shipping, speed is actually synonymous with planning and preparation. Inadequate preparation, reflecting incomplete information about customs and shipping requirements, is the most preventable, and most costly, problem when it comes to inefficiencies in global sourcing. The industry needs to realize that advance planning, with the help of a knowledgeable logistics provider who knows what to plan for, can put shipments on the fast track while complying with even the strictest customs and security rules.

One excellent example of this is the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a voluntary Department of Homeland Security initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT covers global imports from any country by any transport mode. This column will consider an aspect of the program that applies to motor truck shipments between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Being Sound by Ground

C-TPAT is a voluntary government business initiative recognizing that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain—such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers and manufacturers. Through this initiative, CBP asks businesses to ensure the integrity of its security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.

C-TPAT validation begins when importers and shippers apply for validation. This is a process through which CBP agents meet with company representatives and visit selected domestic and foreign sites to verify that supply chain security measures contained in the C-TPAT participant’s security application are accurate and being followed. In cross-border truck shipments, for example, trailer and container integrity must be maintained through the use of a high security seal that meets or exceeds government security standards. Written procedures should stipulate how seals are controlled and include details on recognizing and reporting compromised seals and/or trailers to the CBP or the appropriate foreign authority. Only designated employees should distribute container seals for integrity purposes.