Is Supply Chain Media Monitoring Worthwhile?
The saying “all press is good press” falls dangerously flat when it links your organization with one of your suppliers engaged in questionable behavior.
The mere suspicion of bribery or data breach is enough to cast doubt on your practices, raise concerns over your strategic decisions or prompt journalists to keep digging until they find something juicy and generously offer you real estate above the fold.
The simple answer to the question, is supply chain media monitoring worthwhile, is yes. But oftentimes, this is the only thing businesses will do to mitigate risks. While media monitoring is an important component of an effective supply chain risk management strategy, it is not enough on its own. Here’s why.
Building an Effective Supply Chain Risk Management Strategy
Once the bad news hits the wires, it’s almost always too late to gain back control of the situation. There are already enough natural or uncontrollable supply chain risks to manage as it is, exposing oneself to avoidable mayhem should not be on the agenda.
If you’re not early, you’re late. The best way to ensure your suppliers are aligned with your corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals is to proactively monitor their engagement and encourage their commitment to data security, compliance, and sustainability before the news is involved. Conducting routine virtual supply chain audits, gathering supplier surveys, mapping your global supply chain, and securing your vendor data are all important pieces of the risk management puzzle to include along with media monitoring.
Let’s take a look at the basic elements of an effective media monitoring solution and explore the many other ways you can continuously keep abreast of potential risks and problematic areas in your global supply chain.
Supply Chain Media Monitoring
There’s a vast hub of activity that can trigger alerts online; blogs and social media have earned press passes and content can go viral in a matter of hours. Other less traditional channels include NGO and non-profit organizations reports, court filings, and lists of watched or banned entities.
At a minimum, you should be paying attention to articles about your suppliers in these subject areas:
- Modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuse overall
- Bribery, corruption, and money laundering
- Conflict minerals in high-risk areas
- Respect for sustainable and ethical production standards
- Corporate social responsibility
- Environmental protection, human safety, and security practices
- US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) radar lists or subpoenas (ketchup anyone?)
On top of these issues that are continuously under the scrutiny of the media, the public, and global organizations, other weak points that can appear in your suppliers’ operations are:
- Legal cases that may lead to substantial litigation costs and outcomes
- Financial health and solvency possibly artificially maintained by heavy borrowing, government aid or cash-infusion prospecting
- Rumors or introductory steps of a merger and acquisition
- Erratic investments or ill-advised partnerships that could jeopardize profits and lead to bankruptcy or supply disruption
Nearly every industry is affected by the risk of scandal, reputation tarnish, and/or the dire prospect of being investigated for ties to irresponsible or criminal partners. Once the consumer has turned away and forged a negative opinion of your brand, wooing them back requires a lot of energy and money.
Virtual Supplier Audits and Assessment
How well do you know your suppliers? How efficient are your audits in terms of data reliability? Are you able to maintain their level of engagement and responsiveness year in, year out?
The ever-increasing awareness of environmental, ethical, and social issues has led organizations to implement corporate social responsibility policies and publicly demonstrate their dedication to supply chain transparency. While this is highly commendable, such efforts are not necessarily mirrored in suppliers’ business practices.
Regular audits are necessary to keep visibility and mitigate risks, but field audits appear to be a thing of the past, for 2 reasons:
- They are expensive, cumbersome, and mobilize too many resources
- The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to reinvent human collaboration and interactions (here’s how virtual audits are key due to social distancing).
With an all-digital automated supplier assessment program, you can transform data into insights and distribute your efforts according to risk probability; you can then opt to proceed to virtual audits more or less often.
An effective supplier assessment program should allow you to:
- Customize questions
- Assign a range of weights to results
- Identify potential high-risk suppliers
- Develop scoring and assessment to match your goals
- Integrate with compliance programs
- Store data and documentation in a single platform
- Benefit from sustainability reporting insights
Check out our case study highlighting our client’s CSR program and the custom virtual audit solution we developed to measure their suppliers’ level of performance.
Beyond compliance legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the US Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMMC), making sure your suppliers have cybersecurity protocols in place is crucial to protect your business and your customers.
The more digital technologies advance, the more cyber threats we can expect. Last year, 300 incidents impacted the supply chain from ransomware to data breaches and targeted threats. A cyberattack against even the smallest entity in your network can compromise several suppliers in a cascading effect.
Source Intelligence’s state-of-the-art cybersecurity software solution allows you to collect supplier data in multiple categories, assign unique risk-scoring attributes, and get real-time risk KPI’s.
Start Your Journey to Transparency
Monitoring your supply chain through the media is a quick way to fix a problem you may have missed, but it cannot be your only supplier management tool. The risk is not worth it.
Source Intelligence offers an AI-powered media monitoring program that allows you to subscribe to alerts of news articles based on your choice of negative, positive, or neutral information (or all of the above) regarding your suppliers.
We know that every business is unique in the risk management strategies it needs, so we work with you to customize what your ideal solution would be. Our goal is to make supply chain management as easy, cost-effective, and dynamic as possible to make transparency accessible for any business.
Request a demo to see how our risk management solutions can take the heavy lifting off your shoulders and help you sleep at night.