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28th January 2021


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Supply chain reaction: global certification expert states big data key to improving safety standards

As increasingly complex supply chains make it difficult for large manufacturers and retailers to monitor quality and safety across global suppliers, certification provider Bureau Veritas has revealed that adopting a data-based approach to supplier monitoring could be key to driving standards forward.

It comes as latest figures show that the number of UK product recalls hit a new high of 575 in 2017, up almost 50% on the previous year, covering a range of sectors. Moreover, when it comes to consumer trust, research by Bureau Veritas found that just half of people worldwide trust businesses to do the right thing - and that figure is fast declining.

To provide greater clarity to the issue, Bureau Veritas recently launched its new white paper 'SafeSupply: A data-based approach to supplier monitoring', detailing the obstacles in monitoring modern supply chains and recommendations to overcome these - with big data at the core.

Joy Franks, managing director, Europe at Bureau Veritas comments: "Large manufacturers, processors and retailers typically work with thousands of suppliers around the world, and with organisations facing greater scrutiny, a single supplier in a high-risk country or area of activity can result in major damage to reputation.

"We need only look at the rising number of product recalls to understand the ramifications of getting it wrong.

"Inherently, control is a major issue as the scale of modern supply chains makes consistent and rigorous monitoring hard to achieve. In addition, many companies use a combination of audits and sampling to monitor suppliers - while hoping that a major issue will not surface elsewhere.

"However, with an increasing number of consumers now voting with their wallets - 66% of consumers said they are willing to pay more for brands with a sustainable supply - it is imperative that large organisations are taking the appropriate measures to ensure their supply chain reflects the standards promised by their brand ethos."

According to Bureau Veritas, a transition to a big data approach when it comes to supply chain monitoring could revolutionise how organisations manage risk by streamlining processes, ensuring accuracy and preventing the risk of human error.

As detailed in the white paper, by combining existing data with data collected from suppliers, manufacturers can see where risk hot-spots lie and act to limit the chances of a damaging event taking place. Conversely, risk-based mapping of all suppliers can help identify those that pose the greatest risk to the client.

Joy adds: "The business benefits of applying data solutions to monitor supply chains in the manufacturing sector are huge. By abandoning a scattergun approach in favour of directing resources where they are most needed, not only can it help brands make more efficient use of staff time and audit budgets, it can also provide suppliers with a real incentive to improve quality, safety and ESG management.

"Looking to the future, we see big data as becoming an integral part of the supply chain mix and one which organisations should begin taking stock of now."

Bureau Veritas recently launched SafeSupply, a new digital platform service which leverages big data to effectively manage complex supply chains. Cost-effective and simple to use, it can save time, increase reliability of supply chain management and ultimately reduce risk.

Download a copy of the whitepaper at:

26th January 2018

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