Who would be held accountable if:
- You purchased goods from a supplier who, unbeknownst to you, purchased those goods illegally from a supplier in another country?
- A supplier of yours was caught using child or slave labor even though you found no evidence when you personally visited and audited that supplier?
- One of your suppliers experienced a tragedy that left hundreds of its workers dead as a result of that supplier’s failure to provide safe working conditions for its employees?
- The media reported that one of your suppliers was treating animals inhumanely?
Who would/should be held accountable?
There are two correct answers to this question:
- Your organization as the ultimate destination of the supplied goods or services
- The company in the supply chain with the most recognizable name
When unthinkable things that can get the general public riled up happen in a supply chain, the media goes on a veritable witch hunt. The media has a thirst for casting blame. Apparently, that’s how to get people’s attention long enough to get them to watch the news, or buy a news publication, or visit a website.
This culture of blame is having an effect on procurement principles. What has been called socially responsible purchasing (making procurement decisions based on good intentions) is morphing into what might be described as socially defensible purchasing (making procurement decisions to avoid getting negative publicity).
Are you adapting to this shift in our profession?
It’s a crazy one.
And one of the many emerging challenges that I’ll be discussing on my blog as well as in my opening keynote speech at the first annual Next Level Purchasing Association Conference in Pittsburgh in September. Stay tuned!