The recent Bangladeshi garment factory collapse has left over 700 people dead and many companies asking themselves questions. While some advocate for moving production back to countries with better labour and construction standards; production costs remains a hard reality companies must tackle. Nearly all consumers lust for low cost goods and outsourcing remains a safe bet to deliver them. Yet, with live reporting, readily available smartphones and a more conscientious consumer class, un-safe working conditions on the other side of the globe can impact a company’s’ image and revenues at home.
In 2005, while living in China, a good friend of mine worked for a quality control company. Major retailers and manufacturers hired their firm to visit and inspect plants across the country. The stories of bribery, trickery and attempts to corrupt the inspectors were alarming – everything from gifts, to escorts and missing managers. Nevertheless, they did their best to gather data and inspect sites, but most quality control companies or outsources still do not have the means to conduct regular and rigorous inspections of their supply chain.
Smartphones and tablets can help companies around the world manage their supply chain and hold their inspections to a high standard. With software like our EHS Audit and EHS Audit Mobile (or other similar tools), you can share your audit checklists to teams of inspectors around the world: because everything is collected digitally (notes, details and photos), data is time-stamped and associated to a person, ensuring a complete audit trail. You can issue corrective actions, track responsibility and quickly act on major issues. With hard data in hand, suppliers have little choice to reform or lose a contract. At Nimonik, we believe all people deserve to work in a safe environment. Frequent audits of workplaces for safety and environmental violations remains the most powerful way to ensure plant managers respect laws, codes and standards.