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September 4, 2023

Engaging suppliers: the key to a successful traceability project

Transparency is a central issue in the fashion industry: from consumers to governments, all stakeholders now demand clear information to encourage conscientious purchasing. To meet this need, one key word is essential: traceability. With suppliers spread across the globe, it is becoming increasingly difficult for growing fashion brands to guarantee the transparency and sustainability of their production practices. Tracing the supply chain requires the collaboration of a fundamental player in the entire industry: the supplier. In this article, we explore the importance of engaging suppliers in the supply chain, and how Fairly Made®️ works hand-in-hand with them on a daily basis to achieve this goal.

Key players in the industry

Suppliers play an essential role in guaranteeing the traceability of a supply chain. Involved in every stage of garment production, they hold vital information on the origin of raw materials, production processes and quality standards. However, in a globalized fashion industry, their management can sometimes be a real headache. Between supplier diversity, communication, performance monitoring and compliance with social and environmental standards, the challenges are many. What's more, suppliers located at the bottom of the supply chain, distant from the brands, don't always feel concerned by the demands addressed to them. To guarantee a responsible supply chain, it is therefore crucial to establish a relationship of trust.

A benefit for brands

Thanks to the active engagement of suppliers, brands benefit from extended visibility over their supply chain, enabling them to monitor and evaluate the environmental and social performance of their partners. This evolution in transparency gives them the ability to make informed decisions to optimize their practices. This approach translates into a significant improvement in their environmental footprint, more efficient use of resources and better working conditions throughout the value chain.

Involving suppliers in a traceability and impact measurement approach also strengthens the brand's image, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the origin of the products they buy and the impact of their manufacture. Brands that can demonstrate their commitment to responsible supply chain management gain trust and loyalty. By integrating ethical and sustainable practices, they align themselves with the values of consumers wishing to support responsible brands, helping to build a solid, long-term relationship with their customers.

Worker in a textile factory

How to engage them?

To establish an optimal relationship with the many suppliers who can collaborate with a brand, several best practices can prove very useful. First of all, calling on textile industry specialists is essential: their expertise enables them to ask manufacturers the right questions and obtain the information essential for a fruitful collaboration. At Fairly Made®️, we have established fluid communication with suppliers, enabling us to share a common language. We also attach great importance to discussions on the technical aspects of their work, which is much appreciated by them. Secondly, the utilization of a centralized information tool can assist brands in enhancing their relationships and understanding of partner suppliers, while also providing them with a comprehensive overview of the entire supply chain.

That's why we provide brands with a team of experts who understand the challenges which suppliers can face, as well as our SaaS platform for traceability and impact measurement. The in-depth investigative work carried out by our textile engineers enables brands to track and measure their suppliers' performance in terms of sustainability, environmental and social commitment, and material traceability. Our platform centralizes the data obtained by our experts, including information on certifications held by factories. An effective way of ensuring that every stakeholder of the production chain shares the same values.

Fairly Made®️ and suppliers

At Fairly Made®, we have developed a unique approach to ensuring the traceability of your production chains. Our teams of textile engineers and analysts outsource this complex task, tracing every stage of the supply chain, from garment to raw material. To do this, we use two specific forms: a factory form and a material form. When creating the factory forms, we request information such as composition, certifications and technical questions. These questions concern the operations carried out by the supplier, as well as the origin and destination of the materials. We take care to ask questions that the supplier can answer. This approach enables us to establish bottom-up traceability, by documenting each actor identified by the previous supplier through specific forms. The information obtained is then verified by our experts and centralized in the platform.

"The Fairly Made®️ platform's intuitive interface, coupled with its expert knowledge in traceability and the textile industry, enables seamless communication with subject-matter specialists. Acting as an intermediary between suppliers and brands, Fairly Made®️ contributes to improving information exchange among all traceability stakeholders."
- Ângela Teles, Product development and R&D projects officer at Riopele, one of Fairly Made®️'s partner suppliers

This rigorous and complex work consolidates collaboration between brands and suppliers and provides greater visibility over the entire supplier base. By identifying each link in the chain and gathering the most relevant information, brands have a precise overview of the origin of their products, as well as the steps through which the product has passed. This also helps to reduce the risks associated with non-compliance and improve the overall sustainability of operations.

Fairly Made® has already brought together over 6,000 manufacturers committed to this transparency approach, to provide this indispensable visibility for all players in the ecosystem, from brands to consumers, not forgetting partner suppliers. Yes, because while it's true that our platform provides brands and customers with an overview of product traceability and impact, it's important to emphasize that it's also a win-win solution for factories, which can become aware of their own performance in order to comply with corporate requirements. And since we firmly believe in the fundamental importance of suppliers, we'd like to give you a sneak preview. Our experts are working on a new feature specially designed to make life easier for them and to highlight their commitment. To find out more, stay tuned...

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