Supplier Mapping, Product Traceability, Material Traceability

When we talk about traceability in the fashion supply chain, we must be precise and not take for granted the various levels that compose it.

Understanding these levels is essential to achieving transparency and accountability, key elements for creating effective sustainability strategies. Let’s examine each of these levels.

Supplier Mapping in fashion supply chain

The fashion supply chain mapping phase can also be a phase of analysis. Without knowing the degree of knowledge of the supply chain and the suppliers that compose it, this marks the beginning of a more structured process of traceability and data collection.

Starting with supplier mapping involves gathering and organizing data on suppliers, their material sources, and their production processes. This will help you identify your suppliers and understand how their materials and products travel along the fashion supply chain. Supplier mapping relies heavily on the trust and cooperation of your suppliers. In some cases, this requires building relationships with them and collaborating to create a mutually beneficial system.

Key aspects of supplier mapping include:

Data Collection: Includes information on suppliers’ production processes, quality control, workers’ rights, and environmental impact.
Risk Identification: Assessing risks related to suppliers and material sources.

Starting Points for Supplier Mapping

Decide how far you want to map your fashion supply chain. Start by asking your direct suppliers to provide details on their suppliers. Request information about their names, locations, facilities, and any certifications or audit reports they might have.

For information on second-level suppliers, i.e., the suppliers of your suppliers (sub-suppliers), encourage your direct suppliers to continue the process by contacting their suppliers and requesting the same information. This inquiry should continue to spread along the supply chain levels, up to the source. Here, the information will not be Verified but will be Declared.

In this case, my first-level supplier declares who their suppliers are, and what processes they must perform. This can be done by creating a list of suppliers by process, or in a granular way, defining it by-product: thus, the products that this supplier provides to me have interacted with these other suppliers.

Our database has more than 80,000 companies in the fashion supply chain that are qualified.

Collect and store information: collect all available data on each supplier, including locations, production processes, certifications, audit reports, etc. Analyze this information to assess potential compliance risks and identify areas for improvement.

Learn more in this article: “Supply Chain Mapping Tips and Tricks” [Link to article]

Product Traceability in fashion supply chain

With product traceability, we want to understand the complex journey of the product through the supply chain.

If your products are the tip of the iceberg, at the base are your suppliers. All these elements must be connected to form a solid foundation for your transparency and sustainability statements.

Product traceability means tracking the path of individual products from production to the point of sale, measuring the impact, and enabling monitoring, managing, and responding to any potential issues with precision.

Key aspects of product traceability include:

Unique Identification: through the Digital Product Passport (DPP), we collect data on a product and its supply chain, sharing it throughout the entire value chain so that all actors, including consumers, have a better understanding of the materials and the impact of the product they use.
Analysis: Use collected data to identify trends or issues.
Timeliness: Act quickly in case of anomalies or problems.

Starting Points for Product Traceability

Collect granular data: collect detailed data on each product, down to the style and material level. This includes information on the bill of materials, supply chain levels, and specific statements from suppliers.

Automate the process: use digital tools and automated proof requests to simplify the product traceability process.

Analyze and respond: use analysis to identify patterns or issues in the product traceability process after collecting the data.

Learn more in this article: [Link to article]

Material Traceability in fashion supply chain

Product traceability is essential, but not enough. Material traceability provides an in-depth analysis of the origin and treatment of raw materials:

Having deeper visibility into the sourcing and production of raw materials ensures proof of compliance with local and global standards in terms of safety, sustainability, and ethical sourcing.

How to Achieve Material Traceability?

Collaborate with Suppliers: Work closely with your suppliers to document and track all materials used in the production process, obtaining detailed information and records at every stage of production.
Implement Traceability: Use the Physical traceability model: QR codes or any other smart tag to trace raw materials and products, Documental traceability: Chain of custody to trace certifications, documenting the origin, components, processes, and handlers of materials throughout the supply chain.
Monitoring and Control: Continuously monitor and control the material traceability process to ensure accuracy, reliability, and compliance. Regular checks help identify and fill any gaps or inconsistencies in traceability data.


Traceability in the fashion supply chain is not just a matter of compliance but a commitment to transparency and responsibility. Book a call with our experts to explore how to enhance your brand’s traceability strategies: Book a Free Demo.

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