Compliance in an Age of Transparency: There is Nowhere to Hide

Author: Lanie Petersen

You’ve worked hard to build your business, brand, and reputation. Yet, you are also aware that, despite your good intentions, there is always the possibility of some area of your business falling out of compliance. You also know that the consequences for not being in compliance with retailer or regulatory standards can be severe.

Multiple Compliance Concerns for Suppliers

compliance via technologyWe are living in an age of transparency. New technologies make it easier than ever to identify and address problems. Retailers have stepped up their own accountability programs and are actively policing supplier activities to ensure that internal policies, industry standards, and the law in the countries where suppliers operate are being followed.

Even more daunting is the fact that regulations, laws, and standards are in a constant state of flux. Without someone within your company tracking legislative, regulatory, and retailer policy changes, there remains the distinct possibility that you could begin work on a batch of products fully in compliance, only to find that these items are out of compliance by the time they are delivered.

Another consideration is that compliance isn’t even just about product design and manufacture. Concern about human rights has led to the concept of “social compliance,” which means that a contractor’s failure to meet labor laws and standards can result in a penalty for your business.

To make things worse, the media is hungry for new content and stories to fill up 24-hour demand. This means that news of even an unintentional failing, such as an industrial accident at a plant that you don’t even own, can reflect poorly on your company. As a result, you may not only have to work with your retailers to correct problems, you may also have a public relations nightmare on your hands.

Internal Frustration and Morale

These overlapping compliance “layers” are not only frustrating for you and your compliance team, they can also create friction in the workplace. Your R & D and P.D. people want to see their ideas become tangible goods. Your sales and marketing teams want to get out there to pitch your product to retailers and consumers.

Unfortunately, your compliance team ends up in a gatekeeping position, constantly telling everyone “no” while checking on regulations, monitoring overseas manufacturers, and double checking your retailer scorecards. This can be a recipe for internal squabbles, hurt feelings, and lost opportunities.

How a Compliance Consultant Can Help

Given the complexity of supplier compliance issues, it can make sense for suppliers to outsource compliance issues to a third-party specialist. A competent consultant can address issues like risk assessment, materials sourcing, quality assurance, and social compliance while your team focuses on creating and marketing your products.

Another advantage to working with an outside specialist is that your team can once again start working together as a unit, instead of trying to police each other. For many suppliers, reducing unnecessary conflict not only leads to more effective compliance, it also improves morale and productivity.

If you are considering seeking outside help with your compliance program, PC Squared Consultants may be able to help. They offer a free consultation session to help suppliers understand what is at risk and the multiple services available that can protect your business.

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