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QSV: How to Keep Your Supply Chain Compliant

I’ve asked Melanie Drayton to share some ways that Consumer Products companies can meet supply chain compliance sanctions.  Leveraging her experience working directly for FDA, Melanie now provides regulatory and quality systems support to clients as a senior consultant with Clarkston.

New laws and increased regulatory scrutiny are creating new compliance challenges and supplier due diligence obligations on the global business community. When considering that noncompliance related issues can have an earthquake like effect on the supply chain, it is critical for Consumer Products companies to quickly identify the root cause of product issues and quickly implement corrective actions.  Without these steps in place, companies will be faced with noncompliance sanctions from regulatory bodies and negative brand impacts.

To this end, I would challenge Consumer Products leaders to focus on three key areas to ensure your supply chain is in compliance.

  1. Supply chain transparency and traceability
  2. Harmonizing business and compliance goals across the supply chain
  3. Enterprise-wide compliance monitoring systems

The first step to ensure your supply chain can withstand various impacts and sustain a state of continuous compliance is to create a high degree of supply chain transparency and traceability. It’s paramount to understand how your product moves throughout your supply chain; focus not only on your own operations, but your suppliers’ and distribution partners’ operations as well.

Harmonizing business and compliance goals across your supply chain is the next step in proactively maintaining supply chain compliance. A supplier can make or break your company’s business objectives. Communicating your expectations to your suppliers increases the likelihood they will properly report and escalate issues in a timely fashion. Your supplier agreements should detail your company’s quality standard and criteria for escalating issues. Just as you provide your employees with education and training to enforce your policies, you should be open to providing quality and compliance training to your suppliers. Your suppliers are building blocks in the foundation that builds your brand reputation, improves your market share and drives your growth. An informed and educated supplier will ensure materials meet and/or exceed your quality standard.

As your business continues to expand globally, sustaining supply chain compliance can be an intensive effort. Your business processes must be responsive to changes in the supply chain and adaptable to the needs of your customers. Your company needs an effective means of monitoring and tracking supply chain risks and issues. Most companies rely upon several IT systems to track their supply chain efforts. However, these systems are often disconnected and inefficient. Disconnected IT systems increase the risk of regulatory noncompliance and inefficient communication or resolution of supply chain incidents. A fully integrated IT supply chain monitoring system is a proactive step towards a sustainable solution to supply chain compliance.

In our current marketplace, Consumer Product companies must be compliant with U.S. and foreign laws, prepared to address time-sensitive issues and equipped to provide assistance to their suppliers in meeting their quality standards. Your attainment of strategic business goals hinges on your suppliers’ compliance to your standards.

  • What steps have you taken to reduce or eliminate supply chain risks?
  • What challenges has your company faced maintaining global supply chain compliance?
  • Are your suppliers and vendors open to meeting your company’s high value quality standards?
  • Do your suppliers and vendors appropriately escalate issues and incidents to you in a timely efficient manner?
Tags: Strategy & Compliance, Supply Chain Planning & Execution, Supply Chain Technology