Who’s Responsible?

Compliance is becoming more important for importers and exporters as CBP and BIS ramp up enforcement activities. Potential clients admit that they have allowed compliance to fall through the cracks or, after some initial steps, moved it to the “back burner”. The reasons for this are usually other priorities, cost, insufficient staffing, or belief that the business is too small.

One of my first questions for the client is “Who is responsible for compliance in the organization?” If they rely on their Customs Broker or LSP (Logistics Service Provider) I advise that these providers are good resources but that the client, as IOR (Importer of Record) or EOR (Exporter of Record), bears ultimate responsibility for compliance.

Sometimes compliance has been assigned to the shipping department or to an administrative staffer. While I can help with best practices and training, this is a poor arrangement. Compliance must be a front end process starting with order entry. Shippers are under pressure to get orders out the door. Administrative staffers have multiple responsibilities and may lack specific knowledge.

In house compliance professionals are often given responsibility without authority. Further, they may be at mid or lower management levels, or in the wrong chain of command. With or without a formal ECP (Export Compliance Program), compliance professionals must have the authority to place holds on questionable exports without being overruled by sales, finance, or supply chain. Well written protocols for resolving issues and releasing holds require C-level or legal approval.

All of the above illustrates the importance of compliance independence. This may mean reporting to the CEO, COO, or legal department in order to remove pressure from other groups.

So once again; “Who’s responsible?”

Contact mitch@adhoclogistics.com for immediate assistance.