Finding the Right Ethical Supply Chain Partners

23.07.2020 Collins Rex

Fifty years ago, few people even had an idea about what ethical and unethical practices were happening behind the scenes of their supply chain. However, in recent times, we’ve come to realize the human, animal, and environmental impact of the products we use every day. Because of this, businesses have had to react, and today’s consumers expect that their money does not support things like sweatshops and child labor. As a business owner, how do you find partners that utilize ethical practices throughout the entire supply chain?

Here is some advice for beginners.

Author: Derek Goodman

Look for certified professionals.

Your manufacturers, transportation providers, and other services often have access to certifications and industry chapter memberships. While each will have its own set of requirements, it’s safe to say that members will understand the ethical and professional practices required to maintain affiliation.

Dive into the details.

Because ethics is such a hot topic, manufacturers in all corners of the globe have positioned their brand as such. However, in this era, it is not enough to simply slap on an eco-friendly label and call it a day. To ensure that your manufacturer’s practices align with your own values and vision, dig into the finer details. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how they pay their own suppliers and to see their written sustainability policies.

Look at the greater scope.

Ethics is crucial, but you can’t neglect other aspects of your supply chain. Look for ways to enhance your own operations, which might include things such as fleet tracking software. This can elevate your efficiency and help you save money so that you can invest in other aspects of your business that enhance your day-to-day operations.

Visit trade shows.

Trade shows are one of the best possible places to find manufacturers, whether you are looking for automotive parts or designer clothing. One of the biggest benefits of visiting these types of events is that they are usually reserved for people in the industry and the media, according to GES. This gives you an opportunity to converse with not only the trade show exhibitor but also others who may have done business with them in the past. It’s an ideal chance to see them in action. And, you can feel certain that they will meet and exceed your expectations; otherwise, they risk being banned from these valuable events in the future.

Get hands on.

Once you are serious about a supplier, and you have verified to the best of your knowledge that they are ethical, it’s time to pay them a visit. Most will be glad to have a representative from your company on the ground floor. Company leadership should be excited to showcase their abilities and let you look around to get a feel for how they work.

Renew your commitment regularly.

A supply chain is a complex structure. These systems are designed with many moving parts, and it is extremely easy for them to get lost or taken for granted. Never lose sight of the fact that the most prominent market of buyers, millennials, expect social and environmental responsibility. If you ever fail to deliver on these promises, this generation wields the power to make a profitable business plummet in an instant. Routinely evaluate both your own internal processes and those of your suppliers and their support network. If you see a kink in the proverbial chain, react swiftly, be transparent, and assure your customer base that you are always in a position to act in their best interest.

Finding and maintaining any supply chain network is challenging. And when you add in the element of requiring ethical practices, it becomes doubly so. That said, it’s not impossible, and what you do now can influence how your business operates today and moving forward.