DHL delivers first TAPA FSR multisite certification -


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Friday, 19 March 2021

DHL delivers first TAPA FSR multisite certification

DHL has achieved another milestone in its TAPA Facility Security Requirements (FSR) certification programme by becoming the first company to successfully complete a multisite certification.

This first certificate covers 27 DHL International locations in the United Kingdom.

DHL is already the biggest single operator of TAPA certified facilities globally – currently some 370 sites with TAPA FSR Level A or B accreditations in the European Union, the Americas, China and Asia Pacific, the Middle East & North Africa, and Sub Saharan Africa. It has also been one of the leading supporters of TAPA’s decision to introduce the new multisite certification option as part of the 2020 revision of the Association’s Security Standards.

Independent Audit Body (IAB) multisite certification is designed to identify and promote operational efficiencies between sites so best practices can be shared, and to support a ‘team’ approach to obtaining and maintaining compliance with the TAPA Standard for security control and risk mitigation. Taking the multisite approach to FSR certification also helps to lower costs for companies adopting the Standard across their networks as new certifications can list multiple sites under one parent certification. This is in addition to the existing IAB single site certification and self-certification choices, which are now achieving the highest number of certifications in TAPA’s history.

Vigilant spoke to members of the DHL team to learn more about their experience of the multisite certification process…

First of all, how important is TAPA FSR certification to your brand reputation and customer relationships?

Francis Ktenidis, Head of Security UK: “TAPA is a highly-recognised security standard. At DHL, we pride ourselves on achieving and maintaining this standard to protect our people, buildings, customer shipments and the DHL network. It has enabled us to implement and drive a security culture with passion and commitment, and to achieve world-class employee engagement to protect our assets and our customers’ valuable shipments.”

DHL is a strong proponent of multisite certifications. How is this going to benefit your TAPA certification programme?

Jos Giele, Global Security Compliance & Head of Security Europe: “Embracing the TAPA FSR multisite route will drive cost and time efficiencies, and allow DHL to be even more compliant by the regular quality assurance checks put in place. It clearly demonstrates to our customers globally our ongoing commitment to the highest levels of security within our industry. The requirements for single site and multisite certifications are the same, while the auditing method supports our security strategy to be compliant with TAPA’s FSR Standard.”

With the launch of the FSR multisite option, is DHL planning to further extend its TAPA certified network?

Francis Ktenidis: “Within the UK, we will continue our TAPA journey and certify any new facilities under the multisite framework, with further sites planned this year.”

How significant is the cost saving using the multisite certification option?

Francis Ktenidis: “From a UK point of view, the impact on costs was not the primary driver or consideration for adopting the multisite option. The main motivation was the benefits around a more streamlined, focused and coordinated approach to provide centralised oversight. Any cost savings realised are a welcome addition.

“The advantage of the multisite certificate is aligning all our facilities to the same annual auditing periods, having increased quality control checks in place, and auditing of the central Security function. TAPA iShare is our Global Collaboration Platform based on SharePoint and each month it allows us to have a consistent quality assurance approach and oversight.”

TAPA expects more Logistics Service Providers to follow with their own multisite certifications. Does having this option make FSR certification more attractive and viable for the industry?

Jos Giele: “TAPA's mission is to minimise cargo losses from supply chains. This new drive and framework will contribute to that mission.”

Your first TAPA FSR multisite certification covers 27 DHL sites in the UK - why was the UK chosen?

Francis Ktenidis: “The UK was leading in terms of the number of TAPA certified sites and, as such, had foresight to embrace TAPA multisite certification. This was first considered in early 2020 when a draft version of what is now the new Standard was shared with the Association’s members. After careful consideration and trial audits, planning and preparation, engaging with all our UK facility security representatives and the UK Board, as well as our TAPA IAB, it was agreed that we would progress down the multisite route. The first sites were selected by the TAPA IAB, who engaged with our UK Security Infrastructure Manager, Simon Allen, who in turn arranged pre-audits of the central Security function prior to audits of the facilities selected, which were undertaken in December 2020.”

What are the major differences in preparing for a multisite certification versus one site at a time?

Simon Allen, UK Security Infrastructure Manager: “The biggest difference was requesting each facility to upload their TAPA checks and balances each month to TAPA iShare. This was achieved by a strong engagement campaign with colleagues at all levels, bringing home to them the benefits of doing so and the part they had to play, as well as its alignment with our wider company digitalisation strategy. The biggest hurdle was conducting 27 self-certification audits of our facilities in a short time period, ahead of switching to the multisite certification framework. This was obviously during a time when the UK was coping with the Covid pandemic, which brought its own challenges.”

Can the same high levels of security be maintained when only a small number of the sites covered by a multisite certification are audited?

Simon Allen: “We are always aiming for continuous improvements. The framework of TAPA’s multisite certification best suits DHL. It allows a more quality assurance approach with regular audits, which will continue to improve our compliance and security culture.”

Having now done your first multisite certification, any feedback or recommendations for TAPA?

Simon Allen: “The audits went seamlessly, however there were challenges with the online portal, not just from DHL’s experience but mainly from the IAB’s perspective. So, on such roll-outs of new Standards, IABs may require more training on the changes. This didn’t ruin the experience of the audit but I got the impression it was more challenging for the IAB. Further to this, although DHL have templates for the physical checks within the audit, it may be of benefit to members if there was a library within the TAPA website where such templates were held for members to adopt. This would standardise some generic process evidence.”

Going forward, what is DHL’s plan now for using the multisite certification option?

Francis Ktenidis: “DHL UK plans to continue on this journey and to grow with TAPA, certifying further sites as we continue to invest in infrastructure and security. We expect to certify further facilities in the UK in 2021 under our multisite certification.”

Adrian Whelan, Head of Global Security, added: “DHL Express/DHL International globally is delighted to be first to achieve multisite certification. As the global leader in terms of number of facilities certified to TAPA’s FSR Standard, we are constantly evaluating the most effective and efficient methods by which we can maintain our market-leading position so as to provide our customers with the most secure supply chains.”

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