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The Role of C-TPAT in Preventing Supply Chain Disruptions

Dr. Santosh Mahapatra is currently engaged in examining the impacts of C-TPAT (Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) on supply chain performance. C-TPAT is a voluntary compliance program that allows firms to manage the security proactively to avoid what competitive firms with a complex supply chains dread the most: disruption, delay and demurrage.

From the C-TPAT perspective, notes Dr. Mahapatra, a supply chain is defined "from the point of origin (manufacturer/supplier/vendor) to the point of distribution."

"C-TPAT involves a series of measures that require a firm to reactively engage in inspection, surveillance, auditing, monitoring and tracking, resulting in significant expense of money and employee hours," says Dr. Mahapatra of the voluntary initiative. "Yet despite the costs, implementation of C-TPAT leads to several direct and indirect benefits that justify the expenses," he notes. For example, the benefits often include lead-time reduction, less inventory, less pilferage, etc. because of significant reduction in time consuming, expensive inspections at borders. "These benefits are more than just avoiding supply chain disruption due to a security event," he adds.

Mahapatra joined the Clarkson School of Business faculty in 2006 as an assistant professor in the GSCM program after completing his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. His primary research interests encompass optimal sourcing strategy under price uncertainty, strategic sourcing, governance mechanisms, supplier development for superior performance, and buyer-supplier relationship management. Mahapatra has been published in many journals during his time at Clarkson, including Decision Sciences Journal, Industrial Marketing Management, International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, and Journal of Business Logistics.