By Jeff Platts
C-TPAT Certified companies are required to retrain their employees annually and to also ensure that the employees have comprehended the training. The training process and the supporting evidence must be documented. Many C-TPAT Certified partners get a failing grade in this aspect of administering their supply chain security program. In some cases this could lead to suspension from the program.
For those not familiar with the program, C-TPAT stands for “Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism”. There are now over 10,000 C-TPAT Certified companies in United States, Canada & Mexico. The program was implemented after the 2001 terrorist attacks as a way to help insure that cargo entering United States, is free from unauthorized materials, such as weapons or drugs or persons.
It usually takes several months for a company to become C-TPAT Certified. One of the things that companies must do in order to become C-TPAT is to train their employees in C-TPAT practices. They must also upload evidence to the CBP portal demonstrating that the employee has comprehended the training.
Within about a year of becoming C-TPAT Certified a company will undergo a C-TPAT Validation Survey. Customs agents visit the company and conduct an audit to verify that they are actually doing what their procedures say they are doing.
After being validated companies face another validation survey in about four years. During this period many companies fail to keep up with the C-TPAT-required annual employee retraining. The reasons for this vary, but usually it’s because a) the company doesn’t realize that annual employee training is a requirement, b) the company gets busy with the day-to-today operation of their business and they simply neglect to retrain their employees or c) the company doesn’t have the resources to get the training done.
Companies that are scurrying to get ready for a revalidation survey often contact me. They’re going a hundred miles an hour trying to get up-to-date with all the items they’ve failed to keep up with. Usually employee training is right at the top of the list.
There isn’t really a good excuse for C-TPAT certified partners not to keep up with their annual retraining. There are quite a few training options available from third parties, including on-line training, on-site training and seminars.
Jeff Platts is the president of C-TPAT Security Services. In addition to helping companies become C-TPAT Certified, Jeff offers live C-TPAT training, an on-line cloud-based video training system, a C-TPAT managed services program and validation / revalidation preparation assistance. You can contact Jeff at (714)788-1531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.