Global supply chains must get back up and running in order for the world to get back on its feet; however, given the lack of vaccines or herd immunity against COVID-19, this needs to be done extremely carefully to avoid a resurgence of the pandemic.
Brands and retailers play a critical role in this process. They need to ensure their revitalization efforts do not lead to factory workplace transmission due to poor protections and hygiene conditions. Factory workers are particularly vulnerable due to poor health systems and the sheer number who work together in confined spaces. This makes factory floors the most likely places for a global pandemic of COVID-19 to resurge.
To avoid putting workers at risk, brands and retailers need to take preventative actions today. In the same way that brands and retailers are responsible for the environmental and social conditions of their supply chain, so too will they bear responsibility for their business response in mitigating the risk for COVID-19 resurgence. Failure to do so will harm brand image tremendously and lead to continued sporadic factory lockdowns and production disruptions. It took a single food market to get us where we are today; a brand or retailer with a global supply chain could far too easily trigger another pandemic. Given this reality, brands and retailers need to immediately assess their supply chains’ readiness to operate again in the world of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have the necessary tools, visibility, or resources to do so. This is where we believe Inspectorio’s facility-level monitoring solution, Inspectorio Rise, can help
With Inspectorio Rise, brands and retailers can collaborate with their vendors and factories on all types of facility-level audits, corrective actions and continuous improvement plans. Today, many of the industry’s leading organizations rely on Inspectorio Rise to uphold their environmental, social and technical standards in their supply chains. Due to the high degree of flexibility of the Rise platform, companies can either adapt their existing workplace standards to factor in Covid-19 precautions or leverage one of Inspectorio’s library of curated health & safety guidelines (based on industry best practices and developed in collaboration with leading brands, retailers and international NGOs) to disseminate vital anti-contamination protocols to their entire ecosystem. Rise makes it possible to activate these changes on a global scale – fast. With an online map of active supply chains, assessment completion tracking, easily filterable and searchable data, collaborative corrective action plans and robust analytics, Inspectorio Rise can help brands and retailers prevent the next pandemic. More details on its key offerings are below.
At Inspectorio, we strongly believe in the resilience of humankind and of our industry in particular. We believe that, now is the time to rise to the occasion, our industry leaders need to come together to join forces and help protect our end customers, the companies we’ve built over decades, and most importantly, the lives of the millions of factory workers who depend on us to survive.
Our mission with building Rise is and always has been to help improve the environmental, social and health & safety conditions of the factories our world relies on using the latest technologies available. We are now humbled and motivated by the opportunity to provide all the features and services we’ve been building for years to help solve this global crisis. We hope that this summary of how Inspectorio Rise can be used to safely reactivate supply chains will be useful to the industry and to you.
Centralized & Configurable Guidelines
With Inspectorio rise, you can easily adopt one of Inspectorio’s library of curated COVID-19 workplace readiness guidelines or configure a new guideline specifically tailored to your supply chain reality.
To successfully implement a global Coronavirus preparedness program, brands and retailers need to quickly understand each business partner’s pre-existing hazard management measures, weak points, and readiness to begin operations. Gaining this information from thousands of organizations across the globe in a structured manner can be very challenging, particularly when using emails and excel files. More robust technology must be adopted to accomplish this successfully. That’s where Rise comes in.
Inspectorio has curated a library of health & safety guidelines, based on industry best practices and developed in collaboration with leading brands, retailers and international NGOs, to enable you to disseminate vital anti-contamination protocols to your entire ecosystem – fast. This collaboration and the highly configurable nature of our platform, has also culminated in the development of a comprehensive, all-inclusive Inspectorio COVID-19 workplace readiness guideline, designed to be applicable to the widest range of facilities and include all overlapping or equivalent best practices from a diverse range of current industry standards. By leveraging Inspectorio Rise to implement these guidelines, you gain a centralized view of the data coming in from all of your health & safety audits, while also reducing audit fatigue for your business partners – who will no longer need to submit multiple assessments including the same information time and time again.
Brands and Retailers using Rise can also centrally configure their own guidelines/questionnaires and distribute it to all vendor partners within the platform. These questionnaires are extremely configurable, with customizable structures, differing sub-questions based on each answer, scoring logic, fillable forms, various question-answer types, and more. This assessment toolkit lets sourcing teams collect comprehensive baseline information remotely. Finally, sourcing teams can automate the rating of answers, as well as automatically trigger corrective action plans for scores below a certain threshold, letting them quickly assess preparedness.
To gather and assess all the necessary information from thousands of organizations in time to safely start production back up in just a few short months, brands and retailers need to begin collecting baseline data now. Click here to see if Rise is the right solution for you.
You’ve asked your business partners to conduct self-assessments and participate in verifications. Now you need immediate visibility over their progress and shortcomings.
Based on our experience working with brands and retailers sporting some of the world’s largest supply chains, we know it’s challenging to chase down information from thousands of vendors and factories, particularly when the data needs to be collected and analyzed as fast as possible. That’s why Rise makes it easy to monitor the progress of your global assessment initiatives. Rise centralizes self-assessment, verification, and corrective action plan information into one platform and offers powerful searching, filtering, sorting, and analytics capabilities. This makes it the best tool for this type of effort.
On Rise, each vendor or factory receives a notification to fill out a new self-assessment from a client, seamlessly does so on the platform, then submits their responses while keeping a copy for their records. Brands and retailers can monitor worldwide progress in real time: How many vendors have completed their self-assessment? How many are in progress? How many haven’t even started? All of these answers are available on Rise with a single click. Furthermore, the available filters let teams understand progress being made in specific regions, in certain product lines/categories, etc. Finally, adjustable sorting preferences let teams organize data in whichever way makes the most sense; i.e. by score, last updated date, or other parameter. These features translate to high visibility for sourcing teams, giving them detailed information from many organizations at once.
While visibility is important during the baseline information-gathering period, it’s just as important afterwards during the verification phase. On Rise, once baseline information is gathered through self-assessments, you and/or 3rd party inspection companies can physically go out to verify the information provided to the platform. Being able to reference the original self-assessment, as well as the user-friendly interface, simplify this verification process. Meanwhile, sourcing teams can see verification progress in real time from their home offices and make immediate go or no-go decisions regarding production.
Prescriptive Corrective Action & Preventative Action Plans
As self-assessments and verifications are submitted with the system, Rise generates collaborative corrective action & preventative action (CAPA) plans that highlight problem areas according to the rules and standards set by the brand or retailer. Furthermore, Inspectorio Rise automatically provides users with the ideal corrective and preventative actions they should be taking. Thanks to these CAPA recommendations, vendors and factories are able to immediately begin to fix issues without having to wait for guidance from brands and retailers. Brands and retailers can thus expect their workload to reduce significantly as less time is spent suggesting the same solutions to multiple organizations over and over again.
At Inspectorio we have been working closely with industry leaders, and have been able to curate a comprehensive set of solutions to address all the issues that could be identified in a COVID-19 Workplace Readiness assessment. We’ve integrated these solutions into our CAPA module to streamline operations; but we’ve also gone a step further. We have created detailed , comprehensive E-learning courses designed to help vendors and factories truly understand how to implement solutions. With Inspectorio Rise’s CAPA Recommender, your ecosystem is armed not only with what corrective actions they should take but also how to execute them – all within one platform.
The function of our CAPA module is to streamline the process of identifying issues and applying solutions. Thus, we provide as much automation and recommendations as possible, while simultaneously providing all stakeholders with visibility throughout the process. Both brands and suppliers can see and interact with these CAPA reports within the platform, by commenting, uploading files, assigning relevant personnel to each issue, and by specifying particular corrective actions and due dates. This centralized system for managing CAPAs makes it possible to get business partner facilities up to standard in the least amount of time possible.
Obviously, attempting to accomplish all the above through emails and spreadsheets would be a huge risk. Organizations have struggled to meet even less ambitious environmental and social compliance objectives with much friendlier timelines and less risk involved. With what’s at stake today, we encourage industry leaders to leverage whatever robust platform solutions will best support their operations. If you believe Inspectorio Rise could be that solution, reach out to us and let us know how we can help.
Analytics help you to understand which facilities need improvement and what type of improvement they need.
While self-assessments, verifications, and CAPAs let organizations rapidly identify which facilities are already ready for production and which need immediate action, most facilities will lie somewhere between these two extremes. To identify these facilities and the types of continuous improvement programs they need, automatically generated real-time analytics are key.
Analytics help brands understand whether, for example, their supply chain’s challenges are mainly infrastructural (like poor ventilation, lack of hygiene stations, etc.) or administrative (lack of workplace transmission prevention policies, business continuity plan, education and hygiene policies for keeping people safe, etc.). Identifying these trends without a tool like Rise requires sifting through thousands of spreadsheets, a process that’s difficult at best and avoided entirely at worst. Because the threat of coronavirus will likely exist for at least 18 months in the developed world and for several years in the developing world, brands and retailers must invest in helping their business partners improve on these areas. Organizations can leverage Rise’s analytics to know how to best allocate their efforts and resources to do this more effectively.
The coronavirus epidemic is forcing a positive change on the retail industry: pre-competitive collaboration to solve common problems so that all can benefit.
While finding a silver lining may be a bitter pill to swallow at the moment, it’s undeniable that coronavirus is promoting collaboration in the retail industry — an invaluable virtue for an industry that has long worked in silos. These silos have always been superficial in reality, as retailers actually share supply chains and distribution networks. Nevertheless, very little collaboration has taken place, and the industry has suffered for it. Now, brands and retailers are recognizing opportunities to collaborate on improving their overlapping supply chains, and the preparation of the global supply chain to operate safely despite COVID-19 is an encouraging example.
This benefits not just individual ecosystems, but everyone across these shared connections – leading to an industry unburdened by audit fatigue, and empowered to share responsibilities in ensuring standard compliance and management. This collaboration results in greater visibility and transparency, allowing for higher degrees of accuracy and quicker communication on next steps and decisions.
This pre-competitive collaboration allows industry stakeholders to redirect the time and effort they spend managing their respective silos, to sharing best practices and a united front towards maintaining or addressing compliance to standards. These resources are then better spent on improvements, when and where they are needed.
Reduced Audit Fatigue
While each brand and retailer will be held individually accountable by society for ensuring their supply chains aren’t breeding grounds for the next pandemic, that doesn’t mean factories that produce for multiple companies should be audited multiple times.
Audit fatigue is already a severe problem in the compliance industry, with vendors having to report the same environmental or social compliance information to different clients repeatedly. The industry should strive to avoid such duplicative efforts when it comes to COVID-19 preparedness audits. Traditionally, avoiding audit fatigue has been difficult because of a lack of trust and a lack of access to data; that is, even if an organization trusts a factory’s claim that they’ve already been satisfactorily audited, the organization cannot access the data and so much execute their own audit. By bringing all players onto the same network, Inspectorio Rise facilitates the sharing of verified data so that everyone can benefit equally.
On Rise, once a vendor or factory completes a self-assessment for one retailer, they can reuse that same information when working with another client. Furthermore, if that self-assessment data has already been verified by a third-party, it can be presented as such. This lets other clients know it is trustworthy and that an additional audit is unnecessary. With the COVID-19 situation changing so rapidly, it’s crucial that brands and retailers work together to get factories up and running safely in the most efficient way possible.
Ease of adoption
The technology you choose needs to be easily adopted in order to be successful in the short timeframe available.
Time is not on our side. Each new coronavirus update brings news of lower company revenues and valuations. This means it’s critical not only to adopt digital solutions, but to adopt them fast. However, this can be extremely challenging when adoption needs to happen across dozens of countries, thousands of organizations, and tens of thousands of users who are often not tech-savvy. Therefore, make sure the technology partner you choose guarantees seamless adoption in the following ways:
Look for user-reported ease-of-use. At Inspectorio, we receive daily usability feedback from thousands of worldwide users and we deliver on suggestions within two weeks. Thanks to this quick turnaround, we are proud to say we have a “Net Promoter Score” (a common metric among technology companies of how much users love their systems) that is well above the industry average.
No matter how easy the system is to use, additional resources should always be available for users to get the most out of it. Fortunately, virtual learning has now replaced the never-ending PDF “user manuals” of yesteryear. Here are some of the best tools that all leading technology providers should be offering:
Help Center/Knowledge Base
Instead of never-ending PDF documents, tech companies should now offer guidelines in engaging, easy-to-navigate online Help Centers. These Help Centers should include videos, images, and links to facilitate learning, as well as allow for user feedback to help E-learning teams improve the documentation.
Online Academy Courses
Tech companies can go a step beyond by offering more engaging and informative Online “Academy” Courses, which allow companies to train thousands of users to use the platform in a short period of time. This virtual learning prevents disruption during the transition phase. Courses walk users through the basic functionalities of the system, provide support, and ensure retention through exercises, quizzes, and more. A good Online Academy Course should also provide role-specific courses, course completion tracking, and frequent updates announcing new courses to learn new features.
As we mentioned previously, we are now also leveraging Inspectorio Academy to educate vendors and factories on how to implement corrective and preventative action plans to ensure their facilities are ready to operate in the world of COVID-19. To find out more about Inspectorio Academy, click here.
Automated Step-by-Step Guides
What’s even better than learning by reading, memorization, and execution? Having the system guide you through each step, one at a time. Technology solutions now exist that allow users to simply indicate what they want to do, and the system tells them exactly where to click to accomplish it.
Live Chat Support
Last but certainly not least, there’s live chat support. When all else fails and a user doesn’t understand how to do something, they shouldn’t be prevented from doing their job — every hour the person can’t move forward is revenue lost for your organization. If none of the above resources have clarified the solution, then human help is needed. However, the burden of tech support shouldn’t be on your organization. That’s why your technology partner should offer live chat support.
This is particularly important in the context of a self-inspections program. It is unrealistic to expect all of your global partners to use the system and not have questions; it’s even more unrealistic to expect your organization’s support team to answer questions from thousands of worldwide users. Thus, in order to launch a successful self-inspection program, your technology partner needs to offer live chat support.