In their search for a social compliance management solution, the client evaluated 3-4 top vendors, but eventually selected MetricStream. Their choice was largely determined by MetricStream’s expertise in social compliance solutions, as well as the scalability and flexibility of their technology, coupled with innovative capabilities such as AppStudio.
MetricStream developed a cloud-based social compliance management solution that would integrate almost 17 years of social compliance and audit data from the client’s systems. Today, the web-based solution scales across the global network of factories – from North America to Asia –helping the client capture factory information, categorize factories by risk, manage factory declaration and authorization, conduct social compliance audits, and remediate any issues that arise.
The system is designed to scale up to manage additional factories, and to support dynamic business relationships. Graphical reports and dashboards provide comprehensive, real-time visibility into social compliance and audit data across factories, enabling executives to proactively identify and address areas of concern.
Below is a brief look at how the solution is helping the client:
Classification of Sourcing Countries by Risk
The MetricStream solution serves as an important reference for users when creating or renewing manufacturing relationships. It helps categorize factory locations or countries into high risk, medium risk, or low risk, depending on various parameters such as the country’s geo-political situation or level of corruption. Based on the risk, users can determine whether or not they should source products from a particular country. They can also view which countries require frequent audits of their factories.
Factory Information Management
The solution’s centralized repository maintains factory data, including contract related information, manufacturer profiles and contact details, factory audit status and history, and references to allegations made against the factory. The solution also maps each “parent” manufacturer to the factories they own in an umbrella-like structure, so that it’s easy for users to locate and understand the relationships between various sourcing entities.
Factory and Production Authorization Management
The client leverages the MetricStream solution to create and manage legal agreements which indicate whether or not a manufacturer is authorized to start producing or distributing the client’s branded products. The solution supports multiple types of authorizations such as product authorizations (which indicate whether a company is authorized to use a specific factory) and factory authorizations (which indicate if the company is authorized to produce in the declared factory).
The solution streamlines the authorization process – right from generating the authorization form, to getting it filled in by manufacturer, to routing it for review and approval to the client organization. Once the form is signed, the manufacturers are allowed to start production.
Social Compliance Audits and Corrective Action Management
To determine if factories are meeting minimum compliance standards, the client conducts periodic social compliance audits on factories – either performed by the client’s auditors or by external audit firms. Both types of audits are supported by the MetricStream solution.
The solution enables a systematic and consistent approach to the process of scheduling an audit, assigning audit tasks (either to internal auditors or to the factory), conducting the audit, and routing the results for review and approval. Comprehensive audit data is captured by the solution -- including the details of the factory being audited, auditor profiles, audit assessment processes, audit results, and violations, if any.
If either the client audit or the third-party audit finds that a factory is not meeting social compliance standards, the solution helps communicate a corrective action plan to the factory, outlining the standards that they have violated, as well as the steps needed to rectify the issue. After three months, the solution enables a follow-up audit. If the factory has still not corrected the issue, its license is revoked.
The solution also helps identify and record zero tolerance violations such as bribery which prompt the client to immediately revoke the responsible factory’s product authorization.
Any allegations that have been initiated against a manufacturer or factory can be managed and tracked in the MetricStream solution. The solution captures a wide range of details including the type of allegation, date, initiator of the allegation, and involvement of the client organization. It also helps create and maintain action plans to address the initiator’s demand, and tracks the timelines and progress of these actions in real time.
The MetricStream solution standardizes social compliance reporting across global manufacturing facilities. It aggregates and rolls up data around social compliance risks, factory audits, issues, corrective actions, and allegations. Executives get a 360-degree, real-time view of the social compliance program across factories, and can easily drill down to view the finer details. Powerful reports and dashboards, combined with advanced analytics, help users slice and dice the data based on various parameters. Trend analyses reports help them stay in touch with the progress of social compliance programs at each factory.
Since the client’s factories are spread across different geographies with varying language requirements, communication can sometimes be a challenge. The MetricStream solution provides the client support for up to 12 different languages. Emails that need to be sent out to manufacturers regarding corrective action plans or assignments are automatically translated into the manufacturer’s preferred language based on their location.