The boom in products using artificial intelligence, connected devices and the Internet of Things is creating a huge opportunity for businesses everywhere. As a result, manufacturers are working with companies from many different legislative regimes across the world. So how can you make sure that everybody complies with all the rules and standards?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. In the workplace, on the high street, in homes (and even gardens), in cars, on our wrists and in our luggage. And this is just the beginning.
Already, there’s almost no escape from intelligent devices. And there’s certainly no escaping the business opportunity that the IoT represents to countless thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses across the world.
Progress is amazingly fast. This year’s CES exhibition in Las Vegas, which calls itself the ‘global stage for innovation’, introduced a massive array of new artificial intelligence-driven products – from robotic dogs for flat-dwellers to bathroom mirrors that read the news.
Global giants: not the whole story
One day, some of these products will be in use everywhere, while others will be entirely forgotten. But right now they have one important thing in common – the majority are based on global technology owners whose very familiarity engenders a sense of security about the integrity of their supply chain.
But that shouldn’t be the case.
The reality is far more complicated. Hi-tech supply chains often contain many different companies from different legislations across the world – and that makes ensuring compliance hard to achieve.
In fact, there might be many companies you know very little about. And there’s a very real risk that some of these might be a long way from complying with all relevant regulatory standards.
12%. That’s the number of companies registered in the Achilles Power and Tech community that are currently missing a documented Health and Safety policy. What if that company was a key player in your supply chain? And what if their breach was identified?
A single non-compliance not only brings the immediate challenge of sourcing alternative solutions, but also the less tangible impact on business reputation and credibility in the market place.
And let’s not forget, there can be serious business consequences for Health and Safety breaches – large fines are normal, and the costs might not be covered by business insurance. There’s also the potential of custodial sentences for the more serious offences.
Then of course there’s the consideration that ensuring worker welfare has positive effects not just on company reputation but can also increase productivity and profitability in the supply chain. In this Financial Times article the benefits of protecting staff welfare in global supply chains are outlined.
But there are straightforward ways of assuring that all your suppliers are fully compliant.
How to ensure compliance
One of these is to be a member of the Achilles Industrial Manufacturing community. Including automation, electronics and industrial-technology businesses from right across the world, this provides a totally transparent way for you to assess the capabilities, costs and compliance of suppliers.
It does this in two ways. First, all suppliers complete a detailed prequalification questionnaire covering a wide range of compliance aspects, from the environment and CSR to health and safety, ethical accountability and material compliance.
Achilles then checks all the information for accuracy and completeness.
Second, Achilles can also carry out audits into suppliers’ management systems, ensuring they also comply with recognised standards under those same headings.
And the benefits are clear: greater certainty and confidence about compliance levels in your supply chain, radically reduced reputational risk and many new efficiencies in your procurement processes.
Using confidence as an accelerator
What’s more, these benefits come together to deliver competitive advantage. Having that confidence means you can move fast – and few areas of business are moving faster than the world of connected devices.
Who knows what wonders will be showcased at CES 2019?
One thing’s for sure – those manufacturers with total confidence in every link in their supply chains are already enjoying a head start.