Open Harbor Inc.

Open Harbor Inc.

Vice president, product solutions

The greatest threat to security and business profitability comes from a lack of visibility into the global supply chain. New technologies becoming available are the key to unlocking age-old inefficiencies and creating an unprecedented level of visibility, access and dynamism.

The transportation and global trade industry has endured significant changes in the last two years. Terrorism concerns increased while margins on products and services decreased. This suggests that a new kind of an infrastructure is needed to deal with global trade management.

Compliance with national and international bodies has become a prime focus since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. If companies do not follow the regulations and security requirements of the host nation, the corporation can quickly lose its trading privileges - and cause trouble for itself in other geographies, as trade and customs authorities work more closely than ever to ensure that trade is facilitated within a heightened security environment. Non-compliance to agreed-upon regional norms comes at a very heavy price, both in pure dollars and the irreversible negative public relations as experienced by some companies in the past.

Technology can heighten security protocols and provide global supply chain visibility. By virtue of its ability to automate and update procedures based on input from the trade community, technology can virtually erase the borders across nations and ports. Being able to screen parties, products, the security procedures and containers from the inception of their movement to and from the U.S. will enhance national security and create a secure global supply chain. With the trend toward open systems-based Web services as the ideal platform, even people with a simple Internet connection can log in and ensure procedures have been met.