July 17, 2012 | Palo Alto, California: One of the largest and most recognized department store chains in the U.S. has chosen MetricStream Social Compliance and Audit Management Solution to strengthen and automate its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives for achieving excellence in responsible sourcing and social compliance. The solution based on MetricStream GRC Platform will help the retailer standardize and integrate end-to-end social compliance initiatives - including supplier on-boarding and information management, communication of internal compliance policies or the code of conduct, scheduling and execution of third-party inspections, compliance audits, issue tracking, and collaboration with suppliers to implement corrective action.
Home to numerous brands, exclusive lines, and private labels, the retailer contracts with thousands of suppliers, who in turn contract with hundreds of manufacturing facilities worldwide. As part of its CSR initiatives, the retailer is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders and participants across its supply chain are treated fairly and ethically, and that all suppliers adhere to fair labor practices. The retailer has developed and enforced social compliance policies and supplier codes of conduct covering multiple areas such as wages, benefits, working hours, underage labor, slave labor, health, safety, discrimination, and environmental sustainability.
To ensure compliance with these policies, the retailer actively monitors supplier factories, and conducts onsite inspections and audits through its internal audit team as well as third-party audit service providers/ monitors. Both groups work with the suppliers to manage audits across global locations, validate internal compliance findings, and report issues. At regular intervals, the retailer provides training to all its suppliers on its policies, ensuring that gaps are identified and mitigated well in advance. If non-compliance is identified, the retailer takes appropriate corrective action, and follows it up with regular evaluation.
As the retailer’s supplier base increased in numbers as well as global spread, so did the number and complexity of compliance requirements, supply chain risks, and supplier audits. In response, the retailer decided to implement an integrated solution that would simplify and improve the efficiency of social compliance and audit processes, and drive excellence in terms of setting up higher standards and industry benchmarks in supply chain social compliance.
MetricStream Social Compliance and Audit Management Solution was chosen to automate and consolidate all social compliance activities, audits, and requirements in a single enterprise platform. The web-based solution will streamline compliance audits, inspections, monitoring processes, and associated tasks - beginning with audit planning and scheduling, and extending to resource allocation, audit execution and field-work, recording of audit findings, issue management, audit process tracking, and reporting.
Third-party auditors can access assigned tasks, easily update their tasks, capture information, and upload their findings which will then be automatically routed to the relevant stakeholders in the retailer and supplier organizations. With the MetricStream solution’s offline audit capability - MetricStream Briefcase - available on tablets and handheld devices, auditors and compliance monitors will be able to conduct audits and gather information even from remote factories, supplier locations, and retail stores which don’t have network connectivity.
The solution will provide social compliance intelligence to help identify any potential issues and gaps in the social compliance program. It will also standardize reporting processes across the enterprise to enhance decision-making. Graphical dashboards with drill-down capabilities will provide real-time visibility into compliance activities across the globe, enabling executives to closely track the status of each supplier’s compliance.
With the increasing number of allegations and incidents of non-compliance with international labor standards and fair labor laws, brand-led businesses need to ensure that their CSR initiatives are well-implemented and are fostering a culture of responsibility and accountability across the supplier network. By facilitating a proactive approach to auditing and managing CSR and social compliance, and by adopting integrated compliance and audit management solutions from MetricStream, organizations can protect their brand value, sustain trust, fulfill their social responsibilities, and contribute effectively to their communities.
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