The U. S. Customs and Border Protection has given A. O. Smith Corp. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Tier III status, the highest status offered to an importing company.
C-TPAT Tier III is given to a limited number of companies that have comprehensive programs in place to secure their facilities and supply chain from terrorists, smuggling, and narcotics. A company must pass a thorough inspection by Customs and Border Protection and be recommended to C-TPAT Director Bradd Skinner to achieve Tier III status.
The Customs and Border Protection granted Tier III status to 17 companies in 2007. There are approximately 6000 importing companies in the United States.
A. O. Smith’s U. S. and Mexican facilities were C-TPAT validated in May, July, and December 2007, an action that led the way to the company earning Tier III status. During the validation process, CBP representatives identified 36 best practices at the company. Among those best practices:
- Top management at the corporation demonstrated its support of the C-TPAT program and encouraged the formation of C-TPAT compliance teams at all company facilities worldwide;
- The company provides all employees worldwide with copies of its Guiding Principles to Ethical Conduct and requires employees to complete online ethics training programs;
- Representatives from the company visit all business partners’ facilities periodically to audit their security practices. If issues are found during the verification audits, the suppliers are required to submit a written corrective action plan. A. O. Smith monitors compliance with these plans and results attained;
- Members of A. O. Smith’s compliance group provide C-TPAT training to suppliers during the company’s annual supplier summits;
- The company has a documented tractor, trailer, container inspection process, and trains its personnel in how to inspect incoming and outgoing shipments;
- In addition, all A. O. Smith facilities in Mexico have secure perimeters and procedures to inspect all vehicles and visitors who come to the plants.
Tier III status will result in significantly fewer external agency inspections for A. O. Smith shipments crossing the border between Mexico and the U. S. as well as fewer external agency inspections of overseas shipments.
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