SAI, along with technology partner Vertru, is developing a digital platform that will connect buyers and suppliers with the goal of improving labor practices and working conditions along the apparel supply chain in India and Bangladesh. The platform will give buyers greater visibility into their supply chains and grant suppliers that improve their production planning practices access to new buyers. It will also house a newly developed Production Capacity Calculator and will feature a mechanism for monitoring production capacity. Together, these and other features of the Platform will minimize the likelihood of suppliers taking on excessive orders, in turn reducing the need for unauthorized subcontracting and excessive overtime hours – key drivers of forced labor.
Read more about how improved production capacity measurement and planning lead to better working conditions.
A key feature of the platform is the Production Capacity Calculator, now in its final stages of production and early testing period. The calculator uses a unique algorithm to predict a supplier’s true production capacity. Its inputs include sixteen different indicators, including many that have not been considered in the calculations currently used in the industry, such as average order size, average number of working hours, power loss, and machine breakdown rate. The Production Capacity Calculator will assist buyers in choosing suppliers that have adequate capacity to fill production orders – and are therefore less likely to turn to risky practices like unauthorized subcontracting – and provide greater transparency throughout the supply chain.
Suppliers will also gain deeper transparency into their own operations, while benefiting from customized productivity and efficiency trainings, increased visibility with buyers and brands, and access to new tools. Some of these tools include: Buyer-Supplier Code of Conduct, Supply Chain mapping, Working Hours Optimization & Cost-Benefit Analysis, Workflow Mapping for Sourcing and Purchasing, and more. These tools will greatly benefit suppliers with their future production planning and enable them to better meet the needs of brands and buyers.
The tools, trainings, and other capacity building features of the program will be available to suppliers, including those not registered in the Buyer-Supplier Platform, to incentivize SMEs at various levels of maturity improve their social performance to a level that enables them to join the Platform and take advantage of its benefits. In this way, the program will also help create a pathway and market incentives to formalization for informal factories, allowing better oversight and regulation and decreasing the risk of forced labor and unacceptable working conditions.
Are you interested in testing the Buyer-Supplier Platform or have any questions about the Supplier Capacity Program? Contact [email protected].
The Supplier Capacity Project is funded by the European Union (EU), the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).