by Greg Creason, AIAG | Apr 20, 2016

Automotive and other industries can shorten the time it takes to cross the border

by getting certified as a low-risk threat.

SOUTHFIELD, Michigan, April 14, 2016 — AIAG’s Supply Safe program — a common system to help automotive importers and their suppliers comply with the federal government’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) — has debuted a new tiered pricing structure to make the program affordable to virtually any company in the industry.

Set up by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), C-TPAT allows participating companies that ship goods and materials into the country to become certified as a low-risk threat. Certification means that cargo can move more quickly through U.S. customs checkpoints. To be C-TPAT certified or compliant, a supply chain partner must meet minimum-security requirements as defined by CBP. This is partly determined by answering a set of questions.

“With five OEMs involved, Supply Safe has been highly successful and was touted as a best practice by the U.S. Customs Border Patrol,” says Lang Ware, director of supply chain products and services for AIAG. “Because of this program, manufacturers can go through shorter lines to pass through customs.”

Supply Safe includes the first common industry C-TPAT questionnaire along with the corrective actions. Questionnaires are tailored for each type of supply chain partner including highway, rail, ocean carriers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, 3PLs, etc. The Supply Safe subscription service now offers a low subscription cost versus hiring a service independently.

The participating OEMs — Toyota Motor North America, Honda of America Manufacturing, FCA, General Motors — and their suppliers are actively recruiting others to join.

The new tiered pricing — starting as low as $3,500 — is now based on an organization’s number of trade partners and is open to non-AIAG member companies. C-TPAT will include associations with Partners in Protection (PIP-Canada), Nuevo Esquema de Empresas Certificadas (NEEC-Mexico), and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO-Asia and Europe) as well.

Under the new pricing structure, Supply Safe’s benefits make it an easy decision, says Ware. These benefits include:

  • OEMs and their supply chain partners have a common process to request, compete, and evaluate supply chain security.
  • Threat assessment information is available for all countries and can be evaluated by specific trade lanes.
  • Suppliers that have multiple OEMs as customers need only answer one questionnaire.
  • AIAG provides first-line system support capabilities, answering both technical- and business-related questions from the supply chain partners.
  • Reporting capability can be used when conducting supplier security validations and as material supplied to CBP to provide supporting supply chain security documentation.
  • There is no cost to the supply chain partners.
  • Changes to the C-TPAT program are monitored and incorporated into the system automatically.
  • OEMS gain extensive data security capabilities because they can only view their supply chain partners, and supply chain partners can define who may view their company information and questionnaire responses.

“Basically, we’ve switched from a one-price-fits-all approach to a scaled model based on usage,” Ware explains of the pricing structure that took effect March 31, 2016. “With this level of affordability and the long list of benefits, we expect Supply Safe to become more pervasive in the industry.”

In 2016, AIAG will focus on adding more OEMs and tiered suppliers to the program to make it more robust. In addition, Ware says that other industries like aerospace and food services — virtually any company that brings goods across the borders — can qualify for AIAG’s Supply Safe program and enjoy the benefits of C-TPAT.

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About AIAG

The Automotive Industry Action Group is a unique not-for-profit organization where OEMs, suppliers, service providers, government entities, and individuals in academia have worked collaboratively for more than 30 years to drive down costs and complexity from the supply chain. AIAG membership includes preeminent manufacturers and many of their parts suppliers and service providers. For more information, visit