Are UK manufacturers too trusting of suppliers?
Half of UK Manufacturers don’t audit their suppliers, research has revealed.
According to research by Achilles, only 51% of UK manufacturers actively check their end-to-end supply chains for ethical malpractice such as conflict minerals or child labour. Without checks and audits in place, these issues can slip under the radar, putting manufacturers, buyers and other parties at risk of reputational damage.
While people might assume that all suppliers would be forced to comply with a standard code of ethics, this isn’t always the case. High profile disasters like Rana Plaza prove that unscrupulous suppliers do exist – and the only way to identify them is to audit them regularly. This is easier said than done as most buyers find that they struggle with visibility to audit supply chains from tier two onwards.
Adrian Chamberlain, Achilles’ CEO, thinks that the key to more effective audits is for manufacturers to collaborate, telling Supply Management: “If a number of manufacturers are asking the same questions you are more likely to be able to engage with suppliers further down the chain.”
Good supply chain software can also improve visibility. Software such as ediTRACK’s Ethical Trade module is already being used by fashion retailers like ASOS to make the supplier auditing process easier. The ethical trade module gives the user full visibility of the supply chain hierarchy and associated processes, making it easier to manage compliance. It stores ETI compliant audit forms online, and auto-generates risk ratings for all factories. The easy-to-use dashboard enables work in progress reporting, making the whole process easier to manage.
It only takes one weak link for a supply chain’s security to crumble. Make sure you have the right processes and supporting technology in place to enable full and thorough factory reporting.