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NASPO: Securing the supply chain

NASPO includes members like Bristol Meyers Squibb interested in securing the entire supply chain.

It's complex enough for packagers to secure their supply chains, but what about the security device providers' supply chains?

For that, there's NASPO— (The North American Security Products Organization, a nonprofit member-supported organization that audits and certifies printers, security product manufacturers, and their suppliers and customers. Formed in 2002, NASPO counts among its members both security product suppliers—such as Appleton and MeadWestvaco—as well as brand owners including Bristol Meyers Squibb.

NASPO chairman Michael O'Neil says the idea is to secure the supply chain from the technology developers through the package converters to the end users. The organization does not evaluate technology, rather it wants to ensure that technology remains within the legitimate supply chain.

Evaluating security devices

"Once you have a security tech in the public domain, either overt or covert, it loses a lot of its security value," O'Neil explains. "For example, if I can easily buy a hologram, then that hologram has no value as a viable security device. But if a hologram that has security features built in is only available to a few select individuals, then its value is much higher." O'Neil says Bristol Meyers Squibb joined to order get its own suppliers compliant, which he sees as an emerging trend involving packagers.

In-plant audits conducted

NASPO has developed a standard and conducts audits as part of its program. The audit reflects the organization's holistic approach that includes "a lot of advice that is plain common sense," says O'Neil, "something as simple as keeping the back doors locked."

Once the audit is completed, the expectation is that the audited company will bring its operations up to standard.

Employee evaluation methods are also part of the audit. "You can build a 'Fort Knox,' but if you have the wrong people inside, you have a problem," he notes.

What about costs?

"Costs to implement the findings from an audit can be all over the place," says O'Neil. "The biggest cost likely is to pull together the policies and procedures." If a company is not already in security mode, then hardware costs may be notable, too, he adds.

O'Neil believes heightened interest in security is consumer- and legislation- driven and, he adds, "We are getting more packaging people involved."

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