Do you truly know all your suppliers?

In the dynamic fashion world, “Supply Chain Transparency” is more than a buzzword, it’s a critical component of operational integrity and ethical practice. 

This concept begs a critical question: Do you truly know all your suppliers, or are there hidden players in your supply chain? Achieving supply chain transparency means facing these uncertainties head-on.

Discovering the Unknown: The Hidden Half of Your Supply Chain

Imagine discovering that over 50% of your supply chain consists of unknown suppliers. This isn’t just a hypothetical scenario; in recent years, we’ve encountered this startling fact in many supply chains of our client brands.

A significant portion of the declared supply chain isn’t actually part of the production process. This revelation comes with a mixture of surprise and concern, highlighting the need for deeper insights into supply chain operations.

Through our solution, we can in fact find supplier discrepancies between what they are and what they should be. How did we get to this?

Initial Challenges: The Start of a Supply Chain Transparency Journey

When we start a pilot project with a fashion brand, the first step is always analysis. We analyze the needs and objectives of the brand, and the degree of control of its supply chain.

However, not always the real problems are felt: during our meetings, we met brands that didn’t feel any urgency. This lack of attention has led to a reduced level of control over suppliers, negatively impacting transparency and accountability. This setup made it difficult to prevent future supply chain problems.

Discover more here.

Addressing Product Risks and Supply Chain Inefficiencies

Let’s take for example that your first goal as a brand is to address product risks and supply chain inefficiencies.

In this case, your questions could be:

• What happens when a product non-conformity report arrives? What component of the product will it involve?

• Do I need to request information from all suppliers? Will they be updated? What tests were done?

• How can I predict possible delays? How can I act towards my suppliers?

Implementing Advanced Traceability Systems

Focusing on product risks means ensuring that material orders arrive timely and complete with appropriate chemical and physical test certificates.

Predicting and managing potential delays in the supply chain is a key factor along with managing non-compliance reports, identifying components in the event of product non-compliance, and requesting information on testing and updates from suppliers.

Our goal will therefore be to establish a system that allows us to track orders and gain a complete understanding of the supply chain structure.

To achieve this transformation, we implement advanced traceability systems in the supply chain.
These systems allow us to monitor the movement of materials and verify their origin. Making it easier to assess the risk of delays and identify the exact batches that have been shipped and tested, without interrupting the entire production.

This granular and careful system ensures control of not only materials but also the processes of creating the finished product with quality management and comprehensive chemical and physical testing, ensuring better control over shelf life and shipping processes.

The Crucial Role of Supplier Engagement

Involving suppliers is a critical step in creating a transparent supply chain.

The first step is connecting your suppliers to the platform by inviting them to fill out the Accreditation Form. It is a form to extract the main information from your suppliers

In our experience, many suppliers rely on basic tools like Excel for supply management, which do not provide organized and timely information.

All the suppliers involved perform a Platform Training Step with our customer service team. By involving them in developing a traceability roadmap, we could trace materials from their origin to the final product. Scanning the QR codes on each material transfers the data directly into our platform, allowing us to manage the procurement process more effectively. This primary data offers valuable insights into supplier performance, identifying the most efficient suppliers, those who fail to track materials, and those who meet delivery schedules.

Impactful Results of Supply Chain Transparency

By following this detailed path it is easy for something to come up.

In fact, over the years, elements of the supply chain have been identified that do not respect the established processes. But also significant discrepancies between actual and presumed suppliers. We can achieve supply chain transparency thanks to physical traceability.

Physical traceability (what actually happened in the factory), is very different from documentary traceability.

This is significant in many respects: for example if your goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the product by 50% or you want to communicate the LCA of the product, but there is no evidence of which materials were actually used on the product, applying physical traceability helps you find out if the materials used are those that were actually ordered.

Understand that if you can’t get that data, you can’t achieve the goal. If we have a physical or chemical problem with the raw material, through its physical traceability we can immediately trace which order was produced, which production batch was within the company, and which products this defective batch went to. We can define the perimeters of the discussion between supplier and customer.

Evaluating the performance of material suppliers in factories with verified and correct transaction data is essential to reduce labor times and obtain economic benefits through the optimization of material sourcing. In a world where supply chains have become complex, and disruptions have increased, physical traceability is critical to ensure fashion supply chain transparency.

The Bigger Picture: Supply Chain Transparency as a Reflection of Corporate Values

In contemporary business practices, a supply chain is not merely a mechanism for production and distribution. It reflects a company’s values and its commitment to ethical practices. Transparency is the first step towards achieving sustainability in operations. It’s about building a supply chain that aligns with your company’s ethos and ensuring that every link in the chain adheres to these principles.

Are you ready to uncover the full potential of your supply chain? Book a call with our experts to begin your journey towards comprehensive supply chain transparency. Let’s transform your supply chain into an asset that reflects your commitment to quality, ethics, and sustainability.

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