26 Nov 14

Supply chains: an essential part of brand management

SkyscrapersSupermarkets and the horsemeat scandal, technology companies and environmental mismanagement, issues with illegal logging in the construction sector, human rights allegations in the fashion industry… There is a long list of recent examples highlighting just how important supply chains are in the management and development of brand reputation. With competition across all sectors now fiercer than ever, organisations must ensure that suppliers enhance their reputation and do not put it at risk.

Consumers want detail

It has become common practice for companies to outsource a significant amount of their operations to third party organisations. Traditionally, such businesses have not been overly interested or concerned about the environmental or social impacts of their outsource partners, with the constant pursuit of cost reductions being the key driver. However, consumers are now requesting and expecting more information and assurances on a product or service’s entire life cycle and, with the ease of data sharing in modern times, consumers have greater access to this information. All of this means that a supplier’s shortcomings can have significant consequences on a buyer’s reputation.

Understand the risks

In light of this, there is a need for organisations to manage supply chain risks that can have a detrimental impact on brand reputation. To do this, the first step is to identify where potential risk may occur and that means gaining a comprehensive and transparent view of your supply chain. Companies need to request information from their suppliers around areas such as: anti-bribery & corruption, environment, health & safety, labour, IT Security, sector or product specific areas, etc. They then need to have the ability to efficiently review the information supplied to identify areas of risk. This will allow supplier management plans to be put in place and informed decisions to be made, placing companies in a far better position to avoid the risks and help improve performance of its suppliers.

The solution is online

Due to the globalisation of supply chains, using traditional methods to gather and analyse this information would mean investing a significant amount of administrative time and effort into the process; something many organisations simply cannot do. This also contributes to the growing burden suppliers face in having to respond to multiple buyer requests asking for very similar information.  Using an online system removes this administrative burden, providing a centralised, efficient, cost effective and secure environment that enables the essential and detailed information to be collected. It also ensures that buyers have the tools to effectively analyse and use the information provided whilst minimising duplication for suppliers.

To find out more about how you can use an online system to collect supplier data and protect your brand, talk to us today.

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photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

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