How The Easter Bunny Ensures Supply Chain Traceability
These days, the Easter Bunny is facing a huge supply chain challenge: To make kids happy around the globe, he needs to deliver chocolate to millions of households worldwide. Because he is a modern and responsible Easter Bunny, he cares about supply chain sustainability and traceability. He wants cocoa that is sourced from suppliers that provide fair working conditions, with no illegal practices such as slave or child labor. He insists on only using high quality chocolate for his Easter eggs. He also insists the packages are accurately labeled with any relevant ingredients and allergen information, such as whether or not the chocolate contains nuts. He does this because he wants to avoid recalls and to do a good job. He wants to make his “customers” happy and ensure their safety. And, last but not least, he actually doesn’t want to come into conflict with any laws.
If you are a supply chain, sourcing or procurement executive, you certainly understand the challenges the Easter Bunny has to overcome, especially with regards to the increased pressure of ensuring supply chain traceability, product safety, sustainability and the need to know your suppliers, raw materials and products –no matter if you are in the food, manufacturing or pharmaceutical industry.
According to the Ethical Corporation, traceability and environmental concerns are the biggest issues to watch for. Nearly 30% of the community stated that traceability and environmental improvements will be the key issues in the years to come.
According to a recently published Informatica whitepaper, the increasing need for supply chain traceability has three key drivers:
- Regulatory compliance: Improve supply chain security (like food safety), comply with regulations, simplify recalls, ensure product safety and improve inventory accuracy.
- Image and brand: Demonstrate sustainability and transparency, gain consumer trust, reduce risk of brand/image damage due to clumsy recalls and improve supply chain confidence.
- Environmental and ethical standards: Ensure safe working conditions, follow fair trade and fair wage standards and use methods that do not damage the environment, e.g. MSC.
Lack of Data Quality and Usability of Tools
In reality, quite often, supplier and vendor information is managed in multiple siloed systems across regions, departments, or business units. Adding, changing, or correcting the information in one system doesn’t automatically reflect in others. As a result, supplier information is inaccurate, inconsistent, incomplete, and fragmented, which makes one single trusted view of supplier data impossible.
For supply chain traceability, you also rely on the product and raw material information you get from your vendors. A trusted view of raw materials and products depends on two things:
- the quality of the product- and raw materials data you receive from your suppliers, and
- the capabilities and usability of the tools you implement for exchanging and managing this information.
If this sounds familiar to you, it may help to leverage the right technology.
Use Multidomain MDM as the Foundation for Supply Chain Management
According to a recent report from the Aberdeen Group, leaders in supply chain management are 73% more likely to use multidomain MDM. Master Data Management (MDM) serves as the ideal foundation for several supply-chain supporting applications. Using MDM to manage product, raw material and supplier master data helps get one single trusted view of consolidated data and supports supply chain traceability efforts.
Know Your Suppliers and Sub-Suppliers
When it comes to knowing your suppliers, a supplier management application, underpinned by MDM, provides the business with a new way of managing supplier lifecycles, mitigate risks, reduce costs, and support a demand-driven supply chain. Not only it does help improve supplier collaboration and relationships, it also allows cost savings and supports regulatory compliance.
A clear 360°-view of your suppliers can strengthen your capabilities of selecting and monitoring your suppliers in terms of their ethical, environmental and compliance standards. It allows you to better understand who your suppliers are, who they work with, who their sub-suppliers are, and where the products or services are coming for a better supply chain visibility and traceability. You can quickly pinpoint vendors or sub-vendors that do not share the same environmental, sustainability or ethical values (for example, bad working conditions, unfair wages, or child labor). This will help you mitigate any risk or compliance issues related to your business and relationships with them.
Collaborate on Product Information for Your Brand’s Image
A couple of retailers and manufacturers are now starting to use a supplier information management application providing an integrated access to their product information management (PIM) system – both master data-fueled. This increases usability for suppliers who can more easily upload product catalogues and update information about their business, contacts and products within the same system.
Merchandisers, product managers, procurement or marketing managers can use the PIM app to collaborate (create, enrich, edit and approve) on the products making it ready for sales and marketing. Embedding data quality rules ensures that the data you receive from and share with trading partners is consistent and complete. High quality product information across all sales channels improves the customer purchase journey and a brand’s image.
Ensure Accurate CPG Labeling for Compliance
If you are selling food or consumer packaged goods (CPG), labelling must accurately reflect supply chain attributes. In the food industry, inaccurate labeling or undeclared allergens are a major reason for recalls. This includes product information like country of origin, ingredients, nutrition facts or allergens to ensure product safety and compliance along your supply chain – from your suppliers to the point of sale.
The most convenient way to achieve this is leveraging master-data fueled product information management (PIM) that enables you to directly access a data pool, like 1WorldSync via Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). Automate the process of receiving accurate and current GDSN product facts from your suppliers will further support your organization’s supply chain confidence and compliance efforts.