One of the most important aspects of any business operation is safety — and it’s not just limited to industrial facilities, which conjure up images of hard hats and dangerous chemicals. Safety is and should
be a concern everywhere.
From docile o;ce settings to large construction projects, many agree that
the health and welfare of individuals is priceless. For supply management
executives, this often transcends their own firms and into the activities
of supply chain partners and contractors. Often, internal personnel and
suppliers are working side by side, so incidents caused by nonemployees
can impact the buying firm greatly.
One of the most obvious places a procurement firm’s value on safety
is seen is through supplier selection. Gathering data about a supplier’s
safety programs, safety records and other information to make a sourcing
decision is common. The challenge is ensuring one has accurate
information and the ability to interpret that information to get a true picture
of a supplier’s safety character.
Automated systems can track such information as a supplier’s certifications,
licenses or U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logs.
If there have been incidents with a supplier, or if that supplier was ever not
selected due to safety concerns, those can be noted. A certain number or
type of incidents can raise flags or alerts; they may disqualify a supplier or
prompt the procurement firm to investigate further before proceeding.
Additionally, interpreting and scoring safety data can be a concern. For
example, if a potential contract employee has a vehicle incident on record,
but it was an accident that occurred o; company time but in a company
vehicle driven with permission, should that be interpreted as severe a
VALUES IN THE
BY ROBERTA J. JENNINGS
Procurement professionals must be proactive by
conducting thorough, contextual research on
suppliers and conveying expectations to them.