SAI is now welcoming garment manufacturers in Bangladesh and India to pilot an innovative blockchain based platform to improve production planning and advertise capacity, quality, and labor compliance to brands.
Social Accountability International (SAI) together with technology partner, Vertru, has developed a Production Capacity digital platform with the goal of improving labor practices and working conditions in the apparel sector, while also enabling bottom line business benefits. Garment manufacturers in Bangladesh and India can access it at no cost, gaining prioritized access to digital tools and free training. The Platform connects buyers and suppliers, giving buyers greater visibility into their supply chains and rewarding responsible suppliers with access to buyers. It includes a Production Capacity Calculator and a mechanism for improving capacity measurement and forecasting practices.
Faced with various business pressures, manufacturers in apparel supply chains often take on more orders than they can handle, and find themselves at increased risk of excessive overtime, unauthorized sub-contracting, and forced labor, health and safety issues, and employee burnout, absenteeism, and lower productivity. The Platform seeks to address these problems and minimize excessive, last-minute orders, enable responsible subcontracting and maximizing improvements and capacity without affecting quality. The project also focuses on purchasing practices, encouraging cooperation between buyers and suppliers on sourcing and production processes that enable social compliance and benefit both workers and business.
The inspiration for the Platform comes from innovations like Hotels.com and other platforms that transform how businesses optimize their capacity and attract more customers. Unlike other platforms, it will allow factories to maintain control over how much information to share about their operation, help suppliers meet social compliance requirements and manage expectations and help improve production planning to avoid overextension.
“This is a great opportunity for suppliers to gain deeper insight into their own production capacity, planning and operations,” said Louis Vanegas, Senior Director at SAI. “With the Calculator, they will be able to consider meaningful inputs they may not have had the ability to formally quantify before.”
Even for facilities that do not have serious concerns about excessive work hours or unauthorized subcontracting to meet deadlines, there are still many ways to benefit from this project, including:
- Increased exposure to buyers
- Direct communication with buyers
- Better production planning
- Ability to showcase commitment to compliance (certifications, associations, and initiatives you are a part of)
- Pricing leverage
- Better control of production
- Free training and tools
By participating in the pilot, suppliers will receive:
- Customized productivity trainings
- Access to production capacity calculator
- Access to Platform
- Brand recognition
- Certificate of participation
- Chance to win capacity building award from SAI
“This platform encourages increased transparency, responsible sub-contracting and supplier control over their available capacity,” said Stephanie Wilson, Associate Director of Innovation and Partnerships at SAI. “With these mechanisms in place, buyers and suppliers can demonstrate their due diligence on forced labor and other labor risks even at lower tiers of the supply chain.”
To join this exciting launch and test the Platform or for more information on how your suppliers can join, please contact Stephanie Wilson at [email protected]
SAI’s Supplier Capacity Program aims to improve transparency and working conditions in the global apparel supply chain. SAI began the Supplier Capacity Program in Bangladesh in 2019, with the support of the European Commission, and extended the program into India in 2020, with the support of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, UK Aid, and Norad.