As regulatory pressure to comply with an increasing number of global environmental and social policies increases, corporations are being pushed to disclose more and more information about their sourcing and supply chain practices. In this race to maintain compliance and brand competitiveness, what role do contract manufacturers play? What is the impact on small- and medium-size businesses? And can information technology save the day?
Kelly Eisenhardt, newly appointed EVP and Managing Director, New England at management consulting firm AGEO360, interviews International Trade Attorney and former senior Congressional committee staffer Erik Autor. As a former VP and International Trade Counsel at the National Retail Federation (NRF) — the world’s largest retail trade association, Autor has worked at the important crux of regulatory demands and business compliance.
Q: What do you see as the latest risks for companies and supply chain transparency?
Companies for the most part have been playing a game of “whack-a-mole,” when it comes to compliance. They’re chasing point issues instead of looking at the overall supply chain whack-a-moleprocesses or for a holistic solution. The challenge is when problems pop up, companies have to scramble, find a way to comply and quickly set their supply chain in order. Most companies do not plan for these problems in their budgets and the costs are enormous.
We need to have a more flexible system in place that can be readily adaptable to different types of processes and managing the supply chain. It’s definitely not cheap to address compliance but if companies begin to think more holistically about it, like it is part of a system and a repeatable process, it will be cheaper. It comes down to a choice: whether they want or need many single point solutions or whether there is a way to have a consolidated system which contains all the data identifying their risks.
It’s also important to ask, “Do we have a set of procedures, systems and relationships within the supply chain to adapt readily to industry, country, and incidence inquiries and regulations?”
Click here to read the complete interview.