Proactive supply chain management starts with self-awareness

By Cally Edgren | Director of Sustainability | Assent
Cally Edgren, Director of Sustainability at Assent, on how to develop a long-term strategy for proactive supply chain compliance

A supply chain sustainability maturity assessment helps you understand where your business is at today – a critical first step in avoiding business disruptions, protecting market access, and achieving resilience. 

Supply chain professionals are feeling stretched to their limits with numerous, urgent requirements that seem to multiply every day. These include new PFAS restrictions, mandatory sustainability reporting, and crackdowns on forced labor in supply chains.

With all these competing priorities, many manufacturers find themselves trapped in a reactive cycle, rushing to meet one requirement after another – an endless chain of ad-hoc projects. A proactive, strategic program lets you anticipate and address new requirements before they restrict market access, rather than spending time putting out fires left and right. But to get there, you first need awareness about your supply chain sustainability program’s maturity. 

To develop a long-term strategy for proactive compliance, first assess where your current program is strong and where there’s a need for growth. Since compliance requirements are on the rise, your supply chain sustainability program needs to continuously improve to keep ahead and remain resilient against disruptions. A supply chain sustainability maturity assessment is the fundamental first step in meeting your compliance targets months, and even years, from now. 

Because manufacturers already have so much to deal with, most don’t have the time to properly assess their supply chain program risks and strengths. That’s why Assent created a five-minute online Supply Chain Sustainability Maturity Assessment tool to help manufacturers get started. Try it out here and see where your program maturity stands. 

Here’s why you need to measure your program’s maturity and what you’ll get out of doing it.

Benchmark maturity & uncover hidden inefficiencies 

Like a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), a maturity assessment will give you insights into where your program is doing well and where you need to prioritise improvements and investments. 

This ensures your time and resources are spent where you’ll see the greatest improvements. Considering your time, energy, and funds are all limited resources, having this business intelligence is foundational. 

Because supply chain sustainability maturity assessments go deeper into specific supply chain key performance indicators, they provide more value than a traditional SWOT analysis. Takeaways include: 

Risk visibility and materiality – How far ahead can you spot market access risks in your supply chain? 

Supplier engagement and onboarding – How is your connection with your suppliers, their understanding of your requirements, and their onboarding experience?

Stakeholder engagement – Are your stakeholders and executives actively supporting your supply chain sustainability or product compliance goals?

Data depth – How far into your supply chain can you see? Into the parts of parts level?

Transparency and reporting – Is supply chain data visible across all teams? Are you able to assess progress, make informed decisions, and mitigate your risks? Can you meet your reporting obligations to regulators and customers?

Risk management and mitigation – Does your program help you reduce your risks and avoid supply chain disruptions?

Build a plan for supply chain resilience

By doing a supply chain sustainability assessment, you’ll get deep insights into these key performance indicators (KPIs) and come away with a data-driven strategy for addressing the hidden risks in your program. 

To have an achievable and cost-effective plan, you need to measure where you’re starting from and where you want to grow. Without a maturity assessment, you can’t plan for effective resource allocation, meaning it will take you longer and cost you more to get to your destination, and you may not work on the right priorities at the right time. 

Manufacturers don’t have time to waste. While you’re growing your program maturity, there are still constant regulatory changes and market shifts to contend with. So save yourself time, money, and energy by focusing where it matters most. To borrow from Voltaire, don’t let the difficulties of trying to be perfect keep you from trying to be better! 

Dig deeper into your program maturity at Evolve 2023

If you have any questions about your maturity assessment results, join Assent at our annual supply chain sustainability conference, Assent Evolve. 

This year’s virtual event, June 14–15, 2023, includes a Maturity Assessment booth where you can take a guided assessment and talk one-on-one with a supply chain expert about your results. The conference will also feature iconic speakers includingErin Brockovich and Robert Bilott, whose sustainability activism inspired the films Erin Brockovich and Dark Waters.

Register for Assent Evolve today to access in-depth compliance and ESG sessions and to dig deeper into your Supply Chain Sustainability Maturity Assessment results.  

About the Author

Cally Edgren is the Director of Sustainability at Assent. She is an expert on materials compliance and market access certifications, and has a background in program and process development to support regulatory compliance requirements. Edgren has 28 years' experience in developing and managing global compliance programs.

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