Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

Does Your Supply Chain Have An Audit Trail?

A recent article in Industry Week on Lessons Learned from High-Profile Product Recalls had a number of good tips on what to do to prepare for a recall before it happens, but one tip in particular stood out. Specifically, the need for audit trails. Every risk management article these days talks about being prepared, identifying key stakeholders and information requirements, developing communication plans, preparing reverse logistics and fulfillment operations, and evaluating risk vs. cost, but few point out the need for good audit trails down to the component, and sometimes raw material, level.

Without a good audit trail, if a serious defect is discovered across a product line, or one or more food products you are selling is tainted with E. Coli or salmonella, you will have no choice to recall the entire product line because you will have no way to trace the defect back to the source and forward to only the affected units. For example, if all of the tainted soup cans came from a cannery in Michigan, then there is no need to recall the cans from Nebraska and Georgia. And if all of the overheating batteries came from one plant in China, and they were only used in two specific lines of laptops, and you have six, at most you will be recalling one third of the units.

So make sure you can trace each product back through each supplier, component manufacturer, and, in the case of food products, each grower. Otherwise, when a recall does happen, it could be financially devastating.

Open Call for Demos and Thought Leadership

While Sourcing Innovation is always willing to consider unsolicited guest posts on any supply management topic, right now Sourcing Innovation is interested in the following subjects and looking for thought leadership on these important issues that are going to shape supply management in the years ahead.

  1. Next Generation Sourcing
    Whether you call it Value Focussed Supply (CAPS), Next Practices (The MPower Group), the Supply Chain Value Creation Framework (Tompkins Associates), High Definition Sourcing (Bravo Solution), or Next Level Supply Management (Greybeard Advisors), its clear that the practice of supply management must continue to advance if a supply management organization wants to obtain, and maintain, world class status.
  2. Supply Chain Education
    I’m convinced that, right now, Supply Chain Education is Broken and that a new model is needed to fix it. I’m looking for supporting and contradicting views on the issue. We need to establish a dialogue around this fact before its too late because most of your experienced top talent is going to retire and walk out the door in the next five years.
  3. Next Generation Supply Chain Platforms
    Right now, everyone is buzzing over cloud and social network platforms, even though the cloud does not yet offer any apparent advantages over true multi-tenant SaaS and most social networks don’t let you do anything more than waste time poking your friends. We need to figure out what a true next generation platform really is, not what the hype mongers tell us it should be. (Hint: It’s not Twitter.)

*SI has never refused an open demo request, and doesn’t plan to start now, so all requests will be accepted, but it can only guarantee a review and write-up by the end of May to the first seven respondents.