Your business's supply chain involves transportation and logistics, but it also involves security, particularly with certain types of cargo. Threats to a supply chain vary, but risks include everything from simple theft to terrorism. Supply chain security involves many tasks, including:

• Notification of importers when cargo is shipped
• Validating and screening cargo
• Ensuring all supply chain participants have necessary credentials
• Keeping cargo secure in transit
• Inspecting cargo upon reaching its destination country

The Changing World of Supply Chain Security

Security of the supply chain in the United States involves constantly changing regulations and standards. Keeping up with them can be a real challenge, even when organizations like ISO establish globally consistent standards for supply chain security. Even though private companies are able to monitor cargo containers using RFID and GPS technology, no single supply chain security practice can cover every link in the chain. And with new and changing regulations, keeping up with the latest directives can distract you from running your business.

ITAR and Supply Chain Security

The U.S. government regulations known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, are implemented in addition to other supply chain regulations. ITAR strictly controls the sharing of material pertinent to military or defense technologies. Violating ITAR can result in severe penalties. Additionally, many products or services that you wouldn't think had a military or defense purposes are actually covered by ITAR. The list of ITAR-controlled goods changes, and these changes can affect your business without your being aware of it.

What a Supply Chain Security Consultant Does

ITAR consulting can be a very prudent investment for an international business. ITAR consulting may include an audit of your company to determine whether products and services are covered by ITAR. It may include training of key employees on ITAR. Supply chain security consulting may not seem relevant if you are in a sector unrelated to defense. However, a supply chain security consultant who alerts you to the possibility of your products being subject to ITAR can save you from facing major legal, financial, and logistics problems.

USML Items

USML stands for United States Munitions List, and it doesn't only include things that are obviously defense related. The USML covers not only physical products, but also services and technologies that are prohibited from being exported from the U.S. Items on the USML require an export license, which is granted by the Department of State. Finding out that you are improperly exporting something on the USML list can mean big problems for your business. Consultants with expertise in supply chain security know how to determine if your products and services are subject to ITAR, and if so, how to obtain the proper export license.

Chances are, you want to concentrate on your core business, not on swiftly changing regulations regarding importing and exporting. Fortunately, experts on supply chain security and ITAR consult with businesses of all kinds to ensure that they meet regulations. They also train employees on navigating the legal terrain of importing and exporting. When you know your business is compliant, you can focus your energies and talents on running a successful enterprise.

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