The supplier assessment/audit process is only a starting point for performance management. It ensures that at a point in time all relevant laws are being complied with and other aspects of sustainable performance are being undertaken to basic minimum standards.


If this is just treated as a "tick-box" exercise to satisfy the customer, then it will be costly and time consuming for a supplier, yielding little benefit. However, those suppliers that view this as help to identify areas of performance improvement, through efficiency and worker motivation have found that the investment is repaid many times over.


Examples range from reduced costs of energy consumption or worker sick pay (through reduced workplace accidents) or labour (by changing from 2 shift systems with excessive working hours and expensive overtime to a 3 shift system) to improved productivity through greater employee motivation (from better working conditions to grievance procedures).


It takes the senior management to view this as help to find a way of better running their business, rather than a bureaucratic burden and once this ownership and commitment to continuous improvement occurs, then the change starts. 


Business toolkit for suppliers : this explains in simple terms how good management practices - as requested by brands through their responsible sourcing requirements - are an essential part of ensuring a sustainable and resilient business model. The toolkit was co-authored by AB-Inbev, Coca-Cola, Diageo and Partner Africa, and gives practical advice on how to improve productivity, quality and work force management - areas which are inextricably linked.


If you need more insight into how to embark on a robust responsible sourcing programme you can download our Responsible Sourcing Journey (RSJ). This was developed by AIM-PROGRESS to provide guidance to companies when then put in place their responsible sourcing strategy.