With supply chains under scrutiny after the disruptions that Covid-19 has inflicted, the inability of old established processes to adapt effectively has been highlighted. Manual ways of working that take up time and block collaborative practices, are becoming increasingly redundant as the world becomes more adept at working online, with the support of efficient and transparent procurement software solutions. Another reason for this is the demand for traceability in the supply chain - knowing where the products you are sourcing come from, where they’ve been and where they’re going.
The reason why this is so important is because of the emphasis placed on demonstrating transparent practices. Traceability comes into this in three ways; ensuring Suppliers themselves are being transparent about how their products are made, improving processes and ensuring auditability is possible end to end. I.e once supply chains are traceable, then companies can be transparent about them.
PV magazine has looked at traceability in regard to solar manufacturing and similarly identifies the movement towards this as being accelerated by demand for sustainable and ethical practices. They identify part of the objective of traceability is to ensure that “standards beyond product quality are upheld with equal importance”. The responsibility to ensure that ethical and legal standards are upheld in the manufacturing of materials and products falls with Buyer. The reason for this is like any supply and demand industry, the supply adapts to suit demand. Therefore, Buyers hold the power of influence over Suppliers to encourage them to conform to ethical standards and practices.
The Ethical Trading Initiative has helpfully put together a guide called The Guide to Buying Responsibly which highlights the crucial steps Buyers can take to ensure they are buying responsibly. The first two steps it suggests Buyers to take action on - are “Build visibility into your supply chain” and to “Develop Two-way relationships”. Both of these are incredibly important to ensure that your team and your Suppliers are able to communicate openly and transparently.
Using DeepStream can help companies take these steps successfully. The platform ensures there is visibility throughout your team by enabling users to be onboarded with granular permission settings to protect sensitive information. The collaborator feature ensures that you can collaborate successfully with partner companies, giving visibility across partnerships. This helps to build trust internally and externally. The Audit trail logs all events on the platform including Supplier communication, document exchanges and updates, as well all other user activity. This makes everything on the platform fully transparent. Our Evaluation module allows users to enter their own criteria, making the decision making process visible to team members and management.
Similarly, DeepStream facilitates Supplier communication by maintaining a low threshold for Supplier sign ups, allowing any number of their team to sign up, and offering support for free. This ensures equality for Suppliers to communicate with their Buyers in one secure space. Further, the platform enables communication against each document exchange or quotation, saving users time finding the relevant document, and organising communications clearly. The Audit trails log of all messages for both Suppliers and Buyers, means more transparency for their internal teams as well.
If your company is keen to take the first two steps towards buying responsibly, get started now!