A (Nearly) Surefire Way to Collect Information from Suppliers
For product stewards to ensure downstream regulatory compliance, they have to know what’s in their company’s products. “To know what you have going out the door, you have to know what's coming in the door,” says Angela Wutz, assistant general manager at Pace Analytical. “What we discovered is many of our customers didn’t even know whether they had good or bad data. So their raw material information was a black hole.”
One of those clients asked Pace Analytics to help them implement a supply chain data management program. “We really started from scratch in developing a system with them, helping them work out what they were going to collect, how they were going to collect it, where they were going to put it, and how the information would flow downstream,” says Wutz. She’ll share lessons learned from the process during the session Implementing Regulatory Supply Chain Management at Stewardship 2016.
This particular client took a tiered approach to collecting information about material attributes. First, they gathered all public information they could. That meant collecting safety data sheets and other documents provided by suppliers. When necessary, they asked suppliers for additional information. “If the supplier wasn't cooperating or didn't want to give information, the client implemented an escalation process,” says Wutz.
The client would start the escalation process by offering to sign a nondisclosure agreement. That satisfied most suppliers, but when that wasn’t enough, the issue would be referred to the sourcing department, who would work with the supplier’s sales department to encourage them to share information.
If that didn’t work, the regulatory department convened a meeting with key business staff who used the material. “They would look at what is the risk. What information are they missing? What are our options,” says Wutz. “They would then make a decision whether or not to move forward without the information or discontinue purchasing from that supplier.”