With support from GM, Chrysler and Toyota, North America’s Automotive Industry Action Group is creating the first ever communal web-based industry database for identifying the movement of vehicles, parts and materials through the supply chain.
The first generation of the AIAG platform, called Supply Safe-Supplier Security Assessment, is planned for launch in early 2014 and will start with mapping shipments into the US via the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) programme.
C-TPAT is a federal government programme set up by US Customs and Border Protection that allows companies shipping goods and materials into the country to become certified as a low-risk security threat. Certification means that cargo can move more quickly through US customs checkpoints because the frequency of truck and shipping container inspections is reduced by a factor of five. According to AIAG expedited processing helps the automotive industry improve the speed at which parts and material arrive at end destination points.
“The first casualty of globalisation has been transparency,” said J. Scot Sharland, executive director of AIAG. “For the first time in the history of the auto industry, we have collaboration among key automakers to take the first big step toward creating a centralised supplier data platform for greater visibility into the global supply chain. Led by these three early adopters, we’re launching with a system that puts command and control of the data into the suppliers’ hands and is driven by a federal border security initiative.”
In a statement AIAG said each participating OEM will request that their tier one suppliers create a profile in the Supply Safe program and indicate their C-TPAT certification status. As part of its profile, each supplier will enter relevant C-TPAT data, including the location of international sites that produce automotive parts and materials, as well as entry points of shipments into the US and the final destinations of those shipments.
“C-TPAT is a standard topic of discussion among OEMs with interest in customs practices and supply chain security,” said Diane DeJarnett, customs and trade compliance manager at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “The Supply Safe-Supplier Security Assessment platform will reduce the burden on our suppliers and business partners by gathering information globally through a central source, which creates efficiencies for parties involved.
DeJarnett told Automotive Logistics there was also a threat monitoring component intended to alert users of certain security threats, including political unrest or terrorist activity. “This important element also reinforces an additional layer of homeland security safety,” she said.
Tier one suppliers will be asked to make data from their suppliers available down through the supply chain, but each will maintain security of its data profile, controlling which companies have the ability to view it.
“Currently, nearly a thousand automotive supplier sites are C-TPAT certified, and OEMs prefer to use suppliers that are certified to lower their risk of production stoppages caused by delivery performance shortfalls, especially with imported products,” said the AIAG. The group expects additional OEMs and suppliers to participate in the Supply Safe platform as the initiative progresses.