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Managing supply chain risk

Mar 15, 2018
Ray DaSilva from IAM’s Mobility Exchange explains how IAMX can help companies manage supply chain risk and compliance



Global brands are increasingly being publicly scrutinised to ensure that their business conduct conforms to standards for the ethical treatment of people and the environment.  High profile exposés of human rights, labour rights, environmental abuse and even deaths due to inattention to safety practices have focussed attention on the management of compliance.   

Most major corporations and many governmental agencies have elevated the positions responsible for governance, risk and compliance (GRC) management.  Rigorous internal reviews as well as external certification frameworks help keep the focus on compliance and risk reduction.   

Having battened down their own hatches the spotlight extends to their supply chain.  Any major contract now goes through a disciplined procurement process that requires supplier partners to meet strict requirements for compliance and risk management.  If your company cannot meet the compliance requirements checklist, you simply will not be invited to compete. 

This is not news for global relocation and move management companies that compete for these major contracts, but how does this now affect their supply chain partners?  The relocation industry is built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation between disparate and distinct companies around the world.  While your company may have your compliance act in order, how do your supply chain partners stack up?   

Some of the larger, more sophisticated companies in our industry have excellent systems to track compliance within their supply chain, but our industry is primarily made up of small- to medium-sized companies that do not have access to such systems and may not be able to command the attention of our service partners to document compliance.  Think about some of the risks associated with our business.   

We engage a service partner in a distant part of the world to enter the home of an employee of one of our most important corporate clients.  The operations team spends several days in the home interacting with family members that may include children.  Anyone sense any potential risks?   

We send detailed information including passport, work and personal data to our service partners around the world routinely as part of our daily work.  How are we assured that our service partners have processes in place to protect access to personally identifiable information?   

Thankfully, our industry relies on experience and trusted partnerships which work exceptionally well, but it only takes a high-profile failure to focus uncomfortable attention on unmanaged risk.  The good news is that most well established companies in our industry have taken major steps to limit their risk exposure and document compliance measures. 

Our companies work hard to differentiate ourselves and our services in the marketplace.  We take great pride in the investments that we make in our staff and infrastructure to ensure that we deliver service excellence.  Now, we must also learn how to effectively present the investments that we are making to distinguish ourselves as it relates to compliance. 

Those of us that focus on service delivery serve multiple booking companies and therefore must document our compliance separately to each company.  While we gladly do this to participate in that company’s business, there is no question that keeping this documentation current for each partner consumes time and resources. 

Those of us that are larger booking companies take pride in our supply chain management systems as one of our core differentiators and would be reluctant to share this information with others.  It represents competitive advantage that we jealously guard. 

While this status quo has worked and served our industry well so far, it may be important to recognise that our industry continues to adapt to the current business environment.  Our market is not necessarily undergoing dynamic growth.  The demand for faster, better, and more at lower prices is not abating.  In fact, those trends continue to accelerate.   

There is still a great opportunity for those companies that are adept, willing to diversify, able to reinvent, can deploy technology to improve customer service and become more efficient.  Companies and industry associations are becoming more open to considering collaborative leverage and carefully weighing competitive advantage versus the benefits of developing and sharing common resources that can lift the entire industry. 

One such development is the investment that the International Association of Movers (IAM) is making in its universal service partner directory, Mobility Exchange (IAMX).  The IAMX Validation system provides a structure where companies can voluntarily submit compliance, membership and quality certification documentation.  The scanned documentation is uploaded to IAMX where a Content Management Team reviews and indexes the qualifications by expiration date.  Qualifications that do not expire are scheduled for periodic review. 

The goal is to offer IAMX Validation as a standardised common resource to gather and present compliance and qualification information to meet our individual requirements as well as those of our private, corporate and government clients.  Each company only presents the qualifications which are current, have been documented and independently reviewed.   

The next step would be for industry associations to collaborate on standardised compliance documentation.  Imagine standardising this list to start: 

  • Professional Code of Conduct; 

  • Labour Standards; 

  • Drug and Personnel Screening; 

  • Anti-Bribery; 

  • PII (Personally Identifiable Information) Compliance. 

For small- to medium-sized companies, this standardisation and path to conforming to these compliance standards would be a huge benefit.  The ability to centralise and standardise the collection and presentation of this information for the benefit of the industry would represent efficiency gains for all.  Our corporate, government and private customers would readily support, use and welcome this effort. 

The secure structure has already been created and tested in IAMX.  The discussions between industry associations on collaborative leverage are well underway.   

  
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