Supply Chain Transparency and Control
Corporate America's expectations for supply chain transparency and control continue to grow as companies work to manage growing risk in light of the evolving product safety and compliance environment.
In the past few weeks alone, final determinations on lead in substrates and third-party testing requirements were published by the CPSC. The California Supply Chain Transparency Act goes into effect January 2012. Up to 30 states are considering some form of BPA ban. What the federal governments do not regulate, the states will.
The only way we can move past the pain of chasing the latest specific requirements is to proactively focus on the source of much of our angst—the prevalence of poorly developed supply chains in our industry.
Matt Barnes did a recent blog on "Choosing the Right Supplier." Matt is right on the money and the topic warrants much deeper discussion. I hope his blog caused you to pause and reflect on the hands you are placing the success of your projects or even your business in. Choosing the right supplier could be the single most important decision you make on a day-to-day basis. Do your suppliers have control and transparency of their supply chain? Or are you doing business with opportunistic vendors?
I'm in a unique position to hear the gory details from both suppliers and distributors alike. It is not uncommon for the conversations I have on product safety and compliance to include a mention of the business lost because of factory or supplier failures. I've heard from corporate end-users about the factory workers running out the back door as the auditors go in the front door. I have my own experiences in painfully managing projects to success to draw from.
Several long-term industry veterans have characterized many supply chains in our industry as "two guys and a cell phone" or "a guy who knows a guy in China." This is especially apparent when companies dabble in occasional direct importing outside of their core competencies. You know a few companies who fit these descriptions and they are proving the common wisdom that you get what you pay for.