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On The Straight And Narrow: Dealing With Unethical Aspects Of Your Supply Chain

It's all about your belief system when it comes to making decisions that impact where your business goes. If something doesn't sit right with you, it's your responsibility to question this. As an entrepreneur, we rely on our suppliers to deliver products, but also, to foster a long-term relationship with us. But what happens when aspects of your supply chain are unethical? And if they are, what can we do to ensure that everything goes back on the straight and narrow?

Use A Supplier Management Portal

There are a few different portals out there, such as Sedex that can help to capture supplier information. This will give you the opportunity to identify specific weaknesses or risks. Because supply chains are an incredibly complex component now, if you can get the right tools to help you audit a specific supplier, you will save yourself the embarrassment and a lot of money.

Undertake Your Own Auditing

If you are working with a supplier that isn't doing what you expect, is this down to the contract? It's important that you undertake your own auditing, so the contract in question can be altered so provisions are improved, and standards are raised. As audits can help to maintain the integrity, and minimize supply chain risk, it becomes common sense to undertake this on a regular basis. Because regulations will change, and climates will alter, especially in terms of overseas suppliers that may be undergoing political or financial crises, you have got to make sure that you're able to help them in whatever way you can. If you are working with a supplier, and they are struggling to meet specific regulations, for example if they aren't able to undertake a standard phthalate test in toys, if you can bridge the gap, and appoint someone that is able to maintain regular contact with the supplier, you're helping them and you.

Think About The Long-Term

It's easy to say that if a business is unethical that you don't deal with them anymore. But if you are starting a relationship with a supplier, but they're not able to comply with certain regulations for a very specific reason, you've got to give them the opportunity to come up to speed. It's important for you to help them where you can. And while a supplier may not carry the Fairtrade logo, does this mean that they are automatically unethical? The fact of the matter is, big-name businesses carry out a lot of unethical practices, and if we are to work with a supplier effectively, and nurture a good working relationship, we've got to think about the long-term. It's important that we interrogate the suppliers, but also look at our supply chain in the grand scheme of things. We're not always prim and proper ourselves. As important as it is to be ethical, it's also important to be honest. We can lead by example, but when we are working with suppliers overseas that have their own sets of rules and regulations, it can be muddy waters. Give these suppliers a chance, especially if they are meeting demand.

About the author, Mark

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design, marketing, software and digital businesses since he quit his real job in 2005.

A passionate podcaster, global keynote speaker and helpful bloke, Mark is the co-founder of Podcast Websites and the creator of Excellence Expected. He has a terribly embarrassing beard.

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