UK companies are under more pressure than ever to focus on compliance throughout their entire supply chain, whether UK-based or global. New legislation was introduced in 2015, under the Modern Slavery Act, which requires businesses whose annual turnover is above £36 million to prominently publish a yearly, meaningful statement on their website, detailing the partners and suppliers within their supply chain. This should also highlight the steps the organisation has taken, if any, to ensure that their chain is complying with modern slavery and human trafficking regulations. International trade standards and export/import regulations are also important areas where compliance is a must.
While this is all clearly of benefit to organisations who have a desire to run ethical companies that today’s investors and employees seek out, the administrative burden can be heavy. Large companies are increasingly turning to software solutions to help them manage their supply chain compliance needs. While SMEs are not yet held to the same standards as the larger companies, it is in the best interests of their businesses to follow their lead when it comes to researching and monitoring supply chains. The potential costs to brand image and reputation in the event of unfavourable supply chain discoveries is simply not worth the risk.
Here are some of the top tech solutions companies are using to tackle their supply chain issues:
Having a clearly visible supply chain is key. Where companies might previously have used a mish-mash of carrier tracking systems and homemade spreadsheets or applications, and then had the task of making sense of and tracking the disparate data, companies are now moving towards using visibility software. These management systems hold the entire workflow, and are designed to raise exceptions rather than require daily, routine staff management. For example, they might incorporate performance trending analysis, or escalation policies in case of problems.
Compliance solutions companies, such as Achilles, are using cloud-based technology to offer clients access to a global community of business and trade partners. This allows companies to use verified and compliant suppliers from within a global network. The reduction in workload in terms of supplier procurement and data gathering is considerable, while opening up potential supply chains worldwide. Suppliers are supported in providing the correct information needed for compliance and audit. Many software providers, such as JDA Software, are forming links with trade management solutions providers to integrate and optimise shipping and trading for their clients.
Risk management tools
Large companies are moving towards using one complete software suite for all of their compliance procedures. Popular systems, such as BSI’s web-based Supplier Compliance Manager, cross-references companies’ supply chain operations with a global intelligence system to track and mitigate threats and risks to compliance. This allows companies to act on the intelligence before it has a negative impact on their operations.
Large companies are looking to software solutions to both provide and manage the essential information that they require, in order to comply with UK and global regulations, with many of the solutions also being available and beneficial to smaller companies.
Let us know how you combat supply chain compliance in the comments below or on Twitter @LaudaleHQ.