Safe trade, public-private way
ST-LEONARD, Canada--C-TPAT, officially the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, is what one of its founders calls, "a radical paradigm shift for both [United States] Customs [and Border Protection] and the manufacturing trade." Previously, said Kelby Woodard, principal at Trade Innovations, a company focused on supply-chain security, U.S. customs agents were simply interested in making sure Uncle Sam got paid tariffs and fees on imports. After Sept. 11, 2001, "all of a sudden, they were interested in the whole supply chain. They reached out to the trade and said, 'We need you to help us secure it.'"
Dean Theriault is the director of the security and communication division at VisuaScan, a systems integrator working largely in bar-coding and supply-chain tracking for the manufacturing sector. In late April, he opened up a virtually brand-new market for the company by acquiring his certification to become a C-TPAT consultant, which will allow VisuaScan to help its nearly 3,000 manufacturing customers navigate what participants say is a very successful program expediting security at United States customs checkpoints, representing a significant market for security system integrators and consultants and establishing best practices for supply-chain security.
At C-TPAT's founding, Woodard was the director of supply chain assets protection at retailer Target. He supplied expertise to what was then the U.S. Customs Service; Target became one of seven charter members of C-TPAT, the program that resulted from Customs' investigation into how supply-chain security could be self-regulated by private industry.