Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The clothing of invisible supply chain management

It was only in April that Michael Fallon, in response to the Dhaka factory disaster, claimed the Government were going to get retailers in and find out what responsibility could be placed on retailers for their supply chain workforces. I questioned what power and appetite the Government would have for doing anything. Is anyone out their aware of what the outcome of those discussions was?

Anyway, now we learn that, if something had been committed to, it appears as if it may have been insufficient. I say that as we have now learnt of more problems in retail clothing supply chains with workers producing H&M clothing thought to be fainting, allegedly as a result of not being paid enough to buy food.

This is has a certain echo of yesterday's blog where I discussed the latest iteration of retail food supply chain failures.

As yesterday, the key lesson is that the response to retail clothing supply chain management was not effective - it failed to address what are likely to have been systemic weakness which all point to ineffective change.

The lesson for us all is that procurement risk management and contract management are not 'one offs' -they need to be embedded in culture. To me that's the question which all those responsible for procurement now need to test in their own organisations.

I also find it ironic that when giving evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee, it was advocated that public procurement should try to emulate retail procurement - perhaps that argument needs to be considered with big caveats!

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