US Customs supply chain security seminar – highlights

As mentioned in our blog post on January 25, the El Paso, TX Field Office of the Trade Division of US Customs offered a supply chain security presentation for the trade, led by Frank De Los Santos, Supply Chain Security Specialist.

Mr. De Los Santos focused primarily on CBP’s FAST and C-TPAT programs, and offered the following high level summary of key points for supply chain security.  In his words:

COMMUNICATION – For a successful security program, communication between business partners, service providers, and employees/management is critical. Know who your company is working with and who is working for your company. Communication also equals training.

RISK ASSESSMENT – Management must take affirmative steps to determine security risks. Risks cannot be totally eliminated but you can minimize them – make it harder for the “bad guys.” Identify your deficiencies/weaknesses/gaps and develop an action plan with security procedures AND implement that plan.

SELF-POLICING — Without self-audits/testing-by management, your company will not know if its procedures are actually working or what is needed. Security is not cheap, but lack of it can be detrimental. If you are going to “invest” in security (he considers it an investment) make it work for you, get your return in that investment – otherwise it will be a cost/expense. Security is dynamic not static, needs continuous monitoring.

In his presentation, Mr. De Los Santos emphasized:

  • CPB validation (or re-validation) visits
  • Written procedures
  • Training
  • Requirements for risk assessments (including those for “quick audits”)
  • Requirements for security profile and company profile updates.

For a copy of his PowerPoint presentation, please contact us @