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Increased consumer demand for a larger, more diverse set of products has resulted in a complex and globally dispersed supply chain. The result is a rise in issues of product safety, product fraud, and social responsibility.

Increased consumer demand for a larger, more diverse set of products has resulted in a complex and globally dispersed supply chain. The result is a rise in issues of product safety, product fraud, and social responsibility.

Increased consumer demand for a larger, more diverse set of products has resulted in a complex and globally dispersed supply chain. The result is a rise in issues of product safety, product fraud, and social responsibility. Consumers in the meantime have become more concerned with health, wellness, and social responsibility – and are demanding more information and accountability from brands.

Governments have responded with more stringent regulations forcing more disclosure of product and supplier information. The combination of factors has created a “perfect storm” – resulting in the urgent need for a transformative approach to managing supply chain transparency.

The core industry challenge centers on four major areas:

  • Knowledge of all suppliers within the supply chain network
  • Knowledge of all ingredients and components
  • Knowledge of the manufacturer’s compliance to safety and social responsibility standards
  • Knowledge of the manufacturer’s facility country of origin

Most companies have visibility to this information for their immediate suppliers and in some cases visibility to the raw material providers. However, the majority of organizations struggle to have visibility to the intermediate supply chain tiers. The opaque middle tiers in the supply chain can often be the origin of product safety, food fraud, and social responsibility issues.

What is required?

Legacy solutions are complex, time consuming and often resemble spreadsheets – today’s technology must be simple and easy to use, yet powerful enough to make strategic supply chain decisions. Past solutions rely on one-to-one system connections, while today’s innovative solutions link many-to many-systems (social network model) to meet consumer expectations and drive consumer trust.

There are four key pillars for an industry solution:

  • Private workspaces – each company can manage its own information
  • Network architecture – companies can connect like a social network working on common data standards
  • Benefits for all stakeholders – everyone needs to see benefits, not just the brand owners
  • Data management and freshness – assure that data is accurate and timely

Where to Begin?

Achieving transparency is a lofty goal. It is import to define what the objectives are in concrete terms. Many companies are approaching transparency initiatives focused on specific critical areas, but what is common in each is the ability to assess the entire supply chain, not just the first tier.

  • Certification Management – providing online, real-time access to certifications through all levels of the supply chain to attain a “farm to fork” level of compliance, not just for the first tier of suppliers.
    • Do I know that my entire supply chain has up to date safety audits?
  • Sensitive Ingredient Management – identifying key sensitive ingredients in the supply chain and assuring traceability of those products from farm to finished good – as well as understanding how those ingredients are transformed into processed products.
    • Can I identify what other products might be impacted by a potentially harmful ingredient from a specific supplier?
  • Proactive Recall Risk Management – constant monitoring of the farm to fork supply chain for potential risks around food safety, food fraud or social responsibility.
    • Can I assess my supply chain for potential suppliers that are producing in areas considered to be of high risk for child labor or modern slavery?

Conclusion

Transparency is a journey. It is important to define objectives and clear attainable projects – but it is clear the industry is evolving to offer greater transparency to consumers. Trace One provides innovative solutions to manage detailed specifications and farm to fork supply chain visibility, assuring information accuracy and risk management.

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