4 Industries Moving Towards Better Supply Chain Transparency


Transparency within the supply chain used to be quite the grey area. With consumers more interested than ever in knowing exactly where their products come from, the need for supply chain transparency is vital.

Consumers today demand to know the origins of the products they are purchasing. Knowing a product has been ethically sourced or produced in a sustainable manner increases value, and creates loyalty and trust between consumers and companies. While it may seem like creating total supply chain transparency would be a no brainer, many businesses worldwide still turn a blind eye and fail to place importance in this necessity. Scandals continue to arise each year as company after company is faced with the consequences of hiding how their goods are produced.

According to The Toronto Star, more than 40 Canadian drug companies have been cited for serious manufacturing violations, putting patients at risk by selling prescription drugs that companies sold with knowledge that they were defective. In this case, not only were companies hiding test data about the production of their goods, but they were additionally putting consumers at risk. In February of this year, Bloomberg News reported finding many popular Parmesan cheese brand manufacturers were using wood pulp and cellulose as cheap fillers in their products. While the FDA in the USA regulates that companies can legally use cellulose as a filler, consumers were outraged at the lack of supply chain transparency in the manufacturing of this product.

From Cotton to the Tech Industry

Although there are continuous reports of problematic companies, there are many industries working and moving towards supply chain transparency:

  • Cotton Industry – Although the apparel production still has a long way to come in terms of total supply chain transparency (with a specific regard to manufacturing), this industry is working harder to be completely transparent with consumers and the exact methods of production for the products they are purchasing.
  • Floral Industry – Companies in this industry are beginning to take charge and are pushing for more transparency. With a large reputation for permitting unsafe working conditions, companies are now providing information to consumers about how they are creating ethical farming practices to ensure the well being of their farmers.
  • Organic Foods – The food industry has major strides to make in terms of transparency, however the farm to table movement has helped in leap starting that transition. Informing consumers about more local products gives them a connection to those producing their food. With clearer supply chain transparency, farmers are receiving better fair wages and safe working conditions, while consumers benefit from ethically sourced and fresher products.
  • Technology – While this industry has faced major backlash for using unregistered workers, unfair wages and poor working conditions, many startups and technology companies are utilizing tools that allow complete transparency with consumers. These tools offer product traceability so consumers can determine exactly where and how a product was manufactured, and if it was produced in an ethical manner.

Although there are major adjustments that need to be made in numerous industries worldwide, more companies are beginning to understand the importance of supply chain transparency and are developing methods to better inform consumers. Better supply chain transparency increases value for businesses, and in return increases consumer loyalty and overall brand strength. Not only can a lack of transparency be damaging to business, it can also put consumers at risk.

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