As part of the knowledge exchange in the build-up to the Responsible Business Summit New York, Liam Dowd, managing director at Ethical Corporation, speaks with Jamie Barsimantov, co-founder and chief operating officer at SupplyShift, about his involvement at the event and what he sees as the biggest opportunity for SupplyShift in the next 12-18 months

Liam Dowd: What is the focus of your session?

Jamie Barsimantov: The focus of the panel discussion is on supply chain responsibility and responsible sourcing. More specifically, it’s regarding the environmental and social information that companies are either already collecting from their suppliers or want to collect, either at the first tier or across multiple tiers.

The focus isn't on the technicalities of collecting that data or which data you should collect. The focus is on how we use that data to make change, specifically with how we use data cross-functionally to influence and improve purchasing decisions.

LD: Why is this important for companies?

JB: If companies want to make the best purchasing decisions, their procurement professionals need the ability to get the full scope of their supplier metrics (cost, delivery, sustainability) in one place.

Too often we find that data is collected in silos and it's only used by one team to highlight its specific need. With this approach, there’s very little room to create supplier insights that are used not just by the team that collected them, but by the purchasing team and the organisation as a whole. We feel access to this information is vital as it allows someone who's about to make a purchase decision to select one supplier over another due to them having a better score – across multiple critical factors. Companies need great tools that enable access to insightful analytics and, more importantly, they need access to dashboards that combine sustainability data with other types of procurement data.

Our mission is to enable companies to combine their environmental and social information with other key metrics such as quality, cost and lead time. Usually, if a supplier is performing well with regards to sustainability impacts, that’s a good indicator that they’ll perform well in other areas too. And if companies can get their supply chains on track toward more responsible practices, that’s a huge step toward becoming a more responsible business overall.

There is synergy potential for a company looking to assess recyclable plastics. (Credit: yanik88/Shutterstock)

LD: Why are you involved in the event?

JB: Well firstly we have many customers that go to your event, as well as companies that could use our products. It’s important for us to engage them on what SupplyShift does and how we can help them access the information they need to start making better decisions for their business, our planet, and its people.

Secondly, and what is interesting is, because SupplyShift is a network, when one company assesses their suppliers in one way, those answers are then available for any other company assessing the same suppliers. There’s a lot of synergy between the experiences of one company and the opportunity that presents to another company. We want to share those opportunities and utilize those synergies to help companies optimize and improve their supply chain activities – for both the buyers and suppliers in their networks.

LD: What do you see as the biggest opportunity in the next 12 to 18 months?

JB: I've talked to several companies in the past few weeks that have done an assessment on Topic X or Topic Y. For example, a lot of them are now looking at recycled content and recyclable plastics – an emerging issue. They’ve done this with 100-200 key suppliers and they now need to expand to 2,000-5,000 suppliers. So, although they’ve managed to assess suppliers with the highest risk or highest spend, that isn’t helping them understand the full scope of opportunities and risks that lie within the supply chain.

So, everybody needs to scale, but in an intelligent and efficient way. And that’s where we see the opportunity for our network. Companies are realising the customised approach only goes so far, as it creates extra work, extra cost, and isn’t scalable across industries and topics. We strongly encourage companies to use standardised approaches. We have a network that is flexible, can address critical issues, and provide detailed information that can be replicated. That’s how we can create responsible sourcing at scale – and that’s the opportunity we see, both for SupplyShift and for the industry.

Jamie Barsimantov will be leading a session at the upcoming Responsible Business Summit New York titled ‘Making responsible sourcing mainstream in procurement decisions’. Speakers joining Jamie on this panel include: Jon Hixson, Vice President for Global Government Affairs and Sustainability, Yum! Brands, and Brent Wilton, Director of Global Workplace Rights, Coca-Cola

To join SupplyShift and 400+ peers at the Responsible Business Summit New York, simply reserve a pass here.

Main picture credit: Smile Studio


SupplyShift  supply chain responsibility  Responsible Business Summit New York 

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