6 best practices to promote supply chain transparency

A new report from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Global Supply Chain Institute highlights six best practices for harnessing supply chain transparency.

To develop a set of best practices related to supply chain transparency, the Global Supply Chain Institute conducted academic and applied research, surveying more than 40 professionals from 16 best-in-class supply chains and companies.

The six best practices include:

1. Embracing sustainability as a major business driver
2. Developing a culture of transparency
3. Partnering with sustainable suppliers
4. Ensuring traceability to enable transparency
5. Finding your transparency sweet spot
6. Employing outside auditing partners

The first two steps focus on supply chain integrity, or a commitment to sustainability and a culture of transparency driven by executive leadership.

"Companies don't need to have their sustainability practices completely figured out," said Mike Burnette, director of the Global Supply Chain Institute and a co-author of the study, told Global Trade Magazine. "In fact, many see it as a work in process. But it is important to establish and stick to a set of ideals and goals on which they communicate progress."

Companies must also partner with sustainable suppliers and ensure that product materials are traceable, according to the report.

"Consumers want to know where a product came from, all the way to the cashmere goat herd on the slopes of the Himalayas," Mr. Burnette said. "A lack of ability to provide that kind of information in the face of safety or environmental violations can create a negative perception of the brand that may require immediate remediation and could take a brand years to recover from, if at all."

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