First up, what exactly is the supply chain?
The Supply Chain is everyone involved in producing your final promotional product. From the vendors that supply the raw materials, and the manufacturers who convert them into products, to the warehouses, suppliers and distributors who deliver them to the customer (you).
And every link in the chain matters.
The QUALITY of the end product is dependent on the supply chain – How long will it last? What materials are they using? Is the manufacturer reliable? Quality promotional products that look good and last well are a direct reflection of your business. Choosing a trusted supplier ensures your brand is noticed for the right reasons.
Example: In 2014, McDonald’s fast food sales in Asia fell by 7% after one of its Chinese suppliers was found to be selling expired meat.
The SAFETY of the end product is dependent on the supply chain – Have all mandatory standards been adhered to? What factory audits are taking place? Is the product being adequately tested? When it comes to product safety, assumptions can be dangerous. Choosing a trusted supplier mitigates any risk to your reputation and ensures the safety of your customer.
Example: In 2018, a recall of blood pressure medication supplied by Zhejiang Huahai was issued after alerts of a cancer-causing ingredient was found.
The FAIRNESS of the working environment is dependent on the supply chain – Can you be sure your product isn’t being made in a factory that condones forced labour? That discriminates or harasses its employees? That underpays? Unfortunately, regular inhumane treatment of (mainly migrant) workers is not uncommon. Choosing a trusted supplier gives you peace of mind that you play no part in excusing that behaviour.
Example: In 2016, ASOS and Uniqlo were implicated in a scandal relating to child labor and unsafe working practices in their supply chain.
The SUSTAINABILITY of the environment is dependent on the supply chain – Is my product free from hazardous ingredients? Has it been sourced from environmentally sensitive regions? Does my supplier use planet-friendly packaging? Whilst the promotional products industry might not have the best credentials in terms of reducing waste, choosing a trusted supplier means finding one genuinely invested in reducing their footprint.
Example: A few years ago, an Australian government department ordered thousands of rubber wristbands to promote an environmental message. When the promotional wristbands arrived, they were individually wrapped in plastic. If the wrapping had made it to the ocean, it could have been a serious risk to the very animals the department was trying to protect.