Retailers; who monitors your supplier?s safety performance?

November 17th, 2009

We all know that retailers are quietly saying to themselves; how are we supposed to monitor all the emerging safety and environmental standards in the supply chain with everything else we have to deal with in procuring products?

This is an even more complex issue when you consider that in order to do so data is required from your organization relative to the historical performance of your existing suppliers, data from the supplier as to their own assessment of their historical performance and finally other types external data that neither you or your incumbent may have.

When we talk safety, the question that retailers need to ask their suppliers is pretty simple. What certifications do you carry relative to food safety such as Safe Quality Foods (SQF), Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), American Humane Certified and many more? Additionally you should question all suppliers and manufacturers relative to their USDA and FDA inspection history.

Although Green Initiatives fall into the area of the social consciousness of a company, there are a variety of questions that should also be asked in this area as well such as what are your own companies green product initiatives such as Green Seal, Eco-logo and Green Star certifications and participations and how do your existing and new suppliers support or plan to support these same initiatives.

As retailers consider their alternatives in these areas, it may be easier for them to rely on their e-procurement solution providers for this data if the provider has it included in their supplier database. Pre-populated e-procurement templates can also act as a form of scorecard for existing suppliers and potential news sources of supply. This is actually a type of automated RFI process which can save retailers a lot of work and time when trying to find additional sources of supply or when trying to drive cost down with existing suppliers. These data may also help to protect retailers from harmful litigation when products end up not being as safe as promised.

If your existing e-procurement provider can not provide these types of data on demand as a normal byproduct of your standard e-procurement process at no additional cost, you should consider changing providers?

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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