UK could face ‘supply chain crisis’, warns CIPS

Gurjit Degun
21 July 2014

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British businesses could be “sleepwalking into another supply chain crisis”, according to David Noble, group CEO, CIPS.

His comments follow a survey by the Institute which found around 80 per cent of supply chain professionals in the UK cannot guarantee there is no malpractice in their supply chain.

Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of the 1,047 senior business decision makers and supply chain professionals said they have no visibility of their supply chains beyond the second tier. More than half (51 per cent) said the horse meat scandal has not led to supply chain risk being taken more seriously.

The poll also found 11 per cent of business leaders admitted it is likely modern slavery takes place in their supply chain. The Modern Slavery Bill is due enters committee stage in the Houses of Parliament today (21 July) following the second reading earlier this month.

The research “hints at a worrying disconnect between supply chain professionals and senior decision makers,” said CIPS. The survey found 13 per cent of senior decision makers are half as likely as supply chain professionals (27 per cent) to say that their company’s supply chains are opaque.

Noble added: “Consumers and business leaders have entered into a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ pact on Britain’s supply chains. Neither consumers nor business leaders have learned the lessons of the horse meat scandal and are content to remain ignorant of the malpractice that could be operating throughout their supply chains.

“If the Modern Slavery Bill is to have a chance of eliminating slavery from British supply chain and we are to avoid repetition of the horse meat scandal, then we must empower procurement professionals within their businesses. A professional ‘licensing’ of all supply chain and procurement professionals is becoming critical to avoid the UK sleepwalking into another supply chain crisis.”

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