CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 16, 2017
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No shortcuts

As our latest "Procurement Priorities" column points out, creating an ethical supply chain requires hard work, commitment, and support at every level of the company.

In an era when most of us are struggling with more responsibilities and demands on our time and attention than we can possibly accommodate, it's often tempting to do what's most expedient, taking shortcuts in order to get the work done and to meet constantly looming deadlines. We've all done it, perhaps more often than we would like or are comfortable with.

There are some areas, though, where it's a big mistake to skimp on time, thought, or execution. One of those is professional ethics. As Susan Avery, who contributes the monthly "Procurement Priorities" column, discusses in her latest article, an ethical organization and its supply chain don't just happen. Instead, it takes hard work, commitment, and support at every level of the company.

Avery's recommendations include: ensuring that a company's procurement ethics policy is current and aligns with corporate policy; measuring subordinates' performance on metrics other than just price or cost; establishing procurement as the lead on supply chain ethics; and including high ethical standards among the criteria for selecting suppliers.

There are a number of reasons for making ethics a high priority, Avery points out. One is that "an ethical lapse, even the perception of one, can harm a company's reputation, sales, and stock price," she says. Another is that companies—and their customers—want to do business with organizations that pay workers fairly, provide safe working conditions, and respect the environment. That's just a start; you can no doubt come up with several more to add to the list.

The column focuses specifically on procurement, but each of the recommendations can be adapted to any supply chain function. I hope you'll read it by clicking here. No matter what your supply chain position or responsibilities, it is sure to provide food for thought.

Toby Gooley is Editor of CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly.

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