Hey retailers; how green are your suppliers? You can not manage something that you do not measure.

April 27th, 2010

Do you have time to monitor your supplier?s safety performance and environmental practices?

When we think about safety and eco standards relative to our supplier partners, I honestly believe that retailers say quietly to themselves; how are we supposed to monitor this with everything else we have to deal with in procuring products?

This issue becomes more complex when you consider that data may be required from your organization relative to your existing suppliers, data from your supplier as to their own interpretation of their adherence and practice and finally other external data that neither organization may have.

Reflecting on safety, the question that retailers should ask all suppliers old or new 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 others? Another area to question should be regarding USDA and FDA inspection history.

Although Green Initiatives fall into the social consciousness area of a company, there are a variety of questions that can be asked in this area as well such as Green Seal, Eco-logo and Green Star certifications and participation in other partnerships that are environmentally focused.

A source that may make it easier for retailers would be to rely on their e-procurement solutions providers for this data if the provider has it included in their portfolio such as a supplier database. E-procurement specification templates can act as a form of scorecard for existing suppliers and potential news sources of supply if they are used as a repository for database queries relative to the above subject matter. This can become a type of automated RFI process which can save retailers a lot effort 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.

Can your e-procurement solutions provider provide these types of data on demand as a normal byproduct of your standard e-procurement process?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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