The concept of sustainability is growing in the public consciousness, and companies must focus their efforts to protect their employees, the environment, and investors by taking steps to manage their supply chain. For many organizations – especially those just beginning to take meaningful action – this endeavor is daunting, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, smart project management can help avoid common pitfalls on the path to a low-risk supply chain.
A Holistic View of Compliance
One common mistake companies make is to allow separate departments to manage their sustainability within a silo, never knowing if efforts are being duplicated or creating more work for other parts of the organization. Instead, the first step should be to identify all of the relevant parties that can highlight the totality of the compliance requirements as well as relevant dates. Organizing these groups to undergo this process will establish a baseline on which to build.
The next step is to identify current and possible future stakeholders. Every organization already has existing customers and deliverables, and whatever proposed sustainability plan the company creates must satisfy those realities. However, taking the time to analyze industry trends and predict tomorrow’s stakeholders, like new regulators, environment groups, growing competitors, and others, can help maintain a company’s agility when faced with new demands and pressures.
Third, create a master calendar for all compliance deadlines throughout the year. A cloud-based calendar platform can ensure that everyone who has access will always the most up-to-date information without worrying about file versions. Some important deadlines to track include:
- Regulatory filings.
- Technology updates.
- Website disclosures.
- Validation and certification of data.
- Benchmarking and other processes.
But don’t stop there; every organization is unique, so all deadlines need to be accounted for.
Finally, all regulations need to be identified and their requirements must be studied in order to develop a plan to meet them. Failure to do so can result in costly fines, a disruption in business, and loss of public trust. The best way to ensure that no regulations are missed is to get the right parties involved from the very beginning.
Benefits of a Holistic Approach to Compliance
With these three simple, common sense steps, the benefits should be readily identifiable. Get the relevant groups involved and on the same calendar makes compliance efforts efficient and comprehensive. Additionally, holistic sustainability planning gets organizations focused on leading indicators instead of lagging, which can potentially prevent a supply chain disruption, environmental damage, and employee injury or even death! Furthermore, greater visibility across the company not only taps into the total available knowledge within the organization, but it shares that information with groups and educates them on other compliance requirements. Finally, having a unified compliance program internally will make it easier on suppliers when they don’t have to field duplicate requests.