As markets evolve and tariffs continue to rise, retail supply chains are becoming increasingly globalised in order to keep up with growing consumer demand. There is now even greater pressure to move away from a China-centric supply chain model - add in the opportunities opened up by Brexit and the possibility to explore new markets has become two-fold. But this is not a simple shift; the decision to move sourcing locations shouldn’t be taken lightly. Assessing the performance of new freight operators and managing the complexity of multiple additional border crossings could have significant implications on the supply chain, increasing both costs and valuable operational time. And in a world where sustainability is the word on everybody’s lips, it is important to also consider the environmental impact an international footprint could make.
Whether it’s awareness driven by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet or the mindful buying of millennials, the impact of our consumer society appears to be increasingly influencing purchasing behaviour. Therefore it is critical that brands position themselves as leaders in this arena, implementing sustainable and ethical practices across the supply chain. To do so, organisations need to focus on achieving full visibility and building stronger relationships with their suppliers. Through providing one central location of supplier information, businesses can ensure cross-functional teams are using the most up-to-date information to guarantee that they are only placing business with approved suppliers. Additionally having a live database gives organisations the ability to strategically plan and manage all their interactions with their suppliers to help build stronger processes. This web-based strategy enables companies, together with their suppliers, to combat sourcing challenges and ensure they are trading ethically throughout the supply chain.
Using cloud-based supply chain management solutions to measure every stage of the supply chain process will also help organisations to effectively and accurately audit their business practices to deliver vital improvements. Our configurable solution can be designed around an individual's organisation to oversee compliance for any process, helping to minimise risk and helping to ensure efficient, sustainable practices are delivered. We recommend teaming this up with our business intelligence tool to track and report internal and external practices, so that companies can further enhance their credentials. This visibility gives businesses the opportunity to spot trends, identify areas that need changing and pinpoint opportunities to achieve those ethical goals.
This level of visibility can also enable organisations to control their carbon footprint. Adopting a tracking device will give businesses the opportunity to automatically capture the level of carbon emissions that are produced as a result of the end-to-end supply chain operations, from sourcing and procurement through to final delivery. Efficiently implementing this solution can enable businesses to effectively see a reduction in not only carbon emissions, but also in their costs, as they will have the information needed to track progress and lower the spend associated with transportation and energy use.
The fact is that as Brexit negotiations continue and trade wars threaten, organisations will be moving into new markets. But it is those brands who adopt the right technology and supply chain processes who will be able to put themselves ahead of the competition and make a positive impact. Sustainable shopping is going to grow and by actively addressing these concerns with an ethical approach, companies will not only reduce the negative implications new trading locations will have on the environment, but will be able to improve the perception of their brand to attract future customers and retain loyal ones.
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