Purchasers willing to open supply chains to public

5 June 2013

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5 June 2013 | Adam Leach

Almost two thirds of procurement professionals would be willing to commit to transparency by letting members of the public inspect their supply chain.

The latest SM100 survey found 65 per cent of buyers would be happy to allow the public to scrutinise their supply chain, with 35 per cent opposed.

The finding follows the announcement last month that fast-food chain McDonald’s is to let a team of “quality scouts” go behind the scenes to see the facilities and processes that compose its supply chain. These public volunteers will then produce reports on what they saw, to be published on a new McDonald’s website explaining how its products are made.

David Smith, head of procurement at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, responded by saying he would be happy to open up the supply chain. He told SM: “In some areas, it’s critical to ensure internal and external customer satisfaction. Patients have been involved in food tasting, for example.” 

A buyer working in the higher education sector, who asked to remain anonymous, commented that he would also be open to greater transparency, but when asked what potential risks there might be, told SM: “The public itself not taking up the offer, but sales staff trying to use the opportunity of introducing their products.”

Of those purchasers who said they would not be comfortable opening up the supply chain, Tom Dexter, global category manager at AstraZeneca, highlighted the potential dangers for staff working in the pharmaceutical sector.

“As a pharma company we utilise animal testing within the R&D supply chain.  While this is minimised wherever possible and the animals have the best possible care, providing this information into the public domain could put individuals in our supply chain at risk of personal attention by activists,” he told SM.

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