Arshad Matin had barely got his feet under the table as president and CEO of Avetta when the pandemic hit. Fuelled by a genuine desire to “make the world better and safer”, the experienced executive had no sooner laid out his plans to the board than the company, like everyone else, was plunged into crisis mode.
But the supply chain risk manager’s staff and clients were in safe hands. Not only did the company keep its early promise not to lay off a single employee but it enjoyed its best year of growth.
New opportunities emerged, too. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for many but it also heightened awareness of risk. Matin believes Avetta has a huge role to play, not only in growing its platform and client base but also in the management of ESG data points, an area that has been turbo charged this past year.
Last month a court in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered Shell, the oil behemoth, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. Pointedly, it found the company’s existing strategy was “not concrete and full of conditions”, adding this was simply “not enough”. Matin told American Occupational Safety that the shift towards meaningful ESG action represents a huge opportunity for Avetta as it continues its work to make the supply chain safer.
To that end, its platform collects millions of data points from about 150,000 suppliers that provide insights into best practices and guidance, as well as key statistics on incidents and lost work days. Employers in high-risk industries in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe – like telecoms, electricians, oil rigs – that rely on this data for safety and risk assessment now want to use this capability to know how their supply chain is performing around specific ESG metrics.
Matin explained: “These companies are saying, ‘just like you are helping us in safety – we want you to do this for greenhouse gas’. Our technology was built originally for safety but it’s a very configurable system. It's easy for us to add new fields and expertise. Suddenly our scope for the target market has become much bigger.”
Safety technology, he added, was trailblazing at its inception; now customers want to use that expertise to help them measure ESG.
Avetta’s key data points reveal its positive impact. Every year, it’s seen a 7-12% decrease in incidents with suppliers and workers. In the U.S., the company’s clients have reported an annual decrease of the total recorded incident rate (TRIR) of 7%. Over time, these figures have compounded to result in about a 50% decline.
In addition to safety, there is another benefit: cost. Doing this independently is expensive, Matin said. His message, therefore, is clear: working with Avetta will make you safer, faster and more efficient.
COVID-19, and its threat, has only honed these instincts. From a business perspective, his immediate focus was on its own people. Avetta came out early and said it would not be laying anyone off and it’s kept its word, despite not asking for any government stimulus money.
The second key decision Matin made was to keep investing in the business. Stressed clients wanted to know how prepared the supply chain was to deal with the challenges of the pandemic, so it quickly rolled out new features and products that allowed its customers to “take the temperature and preparedness” of their supply chain. One concern was of suppliers going out of business, so Avetta launched a tool that allowed them to rank these companies by risk of bankruptcy.
Matin said: “We did a bunch of things for our customers. We saw a little bit of a dip [in performance] but then we just kept growing, and we ended up having our best year ever. We grew our employee base, our customer base, our supplier base, and we have a bigger portfolio of products. We feel very good about where we are as a business.”
With the depth of the pandemic’s impact now in full view, from the tragic death toll to economic instability, companies will be on high alert moving forward. Managing risk is paramount, and the rise of the ESG movement now forms part of this. Matin believes Avetta has a huge role to play in solving this puzzle.
“We’ll make you safer, faster, and save you money,” Matin said. “And we will take care of you.”