How the Easter Bunny Ensures Supply Chain Traceability

The Easter Bunny faces a number of challenges related to supply chain sustainability and traceability. This articles highlights solutions that can help the Easter Bunny – and supply chain, sourcing, and procurement executives – tackle these issues.


These days, the Easter Bunny is facing a huge supply chain challenge: To make kids happy around the globe, he needs to deliver chocolate to millions of households


worldwide. Because he is a modern and responsible Easter Bunny, he cares about supply chain sustainability and traceability. He wants cocoa that is sourced from suppliers that provide fair working conditions, with no illegal practices, such as slave or child labor. He insists on only using high-quality chocolate for his Easter eggs. He also insists the packages are accurately labeled with any relevant ingredients and allergen information, such as whether or not the chocolate contains nuts. He does this because he wants to avoid recalls and to do a good job. He wants to make his “customers” happy and ensure their safety. And, last but not least, he actually doesn’t want to come into conflict with any laws.

If you are a supply chain, sourcing, or procurement executive, you certainly understand the challenges the Easter Bunny has to overcome, especially in light of increased pressure to ensure supply chain traceability, product safety, and sustainability. You and the Easter Bunny both need to know your suppliers, raw materials, and products – whether you are in the food, manufacturing, or pharmaceutical industry.

According to the Ethical Corporation, traceability and environmental concerns are the biggest issues to watch for. Nearly 30% of the community believes traceability and environmental improvements will be the key issues in the years to come.

According to a recently published Informatica whitepaper, the increasing need for supply chain traceability has three key drivers: 

1.      Regulatory compliance: Improve supply chain security (such as food safety), comply with regulations, simplify recalls, ensure product safety, and improve inventory accuracy.

2.      Image and brand: Demonstrate sustainability and transparency, gain consumer trust, reduce risk of brand/image damage due to clumsy recalls, and improve supply chain confidence.

3.      Environmental and ethical standards: Ensure safe working conditions, follow fair trade and fair wage standards, and use methods that do not damage the environment, e.g. MSC.

 Lack of Data Quality and Usability of Tools

In reality, quite often, supplier and vendor information is managed in multiple siloed systems across regions, departments, or business units. Adding, changing, or correcting the information in one system doesn’t automatically reflect in others. As a result, supplier information is inaccurate, inconsistent, incomplete, and fragmented, making one single trusted view of supplier data impossible

For supply chain traceability, you also rely on vendor-supplied product and raw material information. A trusted view of raw materials and products depends on two things:

  • the quality of the product and raw materials data you receive from your suppliers, and
  • the capabilities and usability of the tools you implement for exchanging and managing this information.

If this sounds familiar to you, it may help to leverage the right technology.

Use Multi-domain MDM as the Foundation for Supply Chain Management

According to a recent report from the Aberdeen Group, leaders in supply chain management are 73% more likely to use multi-domain MDM. Master Data Management (MDM) serves as the ideal foundation for several applications that support supply chains. Using MDM to manage product, raw material, and supplier master data helps create one single trusted view of consolidated data and supports supply chain traceability efforts.


Know Your Suppliers and Sub-Suppliers

When it comes to knowing your suppliers, a supplier management application, underpinned by MDM, offers a new way to manage supplier lifecycles, mitigate risks, reduce costs, and support a demand-driven supply chain. Not only it does help improve supplier collaboration and relationships, it also enables cost savings and supports regulatory compliance.

A clear 360°-view of your suppliers can strengthen your capability to select and monitor suppliers in terms of ethical, environmental, and compliance standards. It provides a


better understanding of who your suppliers are, who they work with, who their sub-suppliers are, and where the products or services are coming from for better supply chain visibility and traceability. You can quickly pinpoint vendors or sub-vendors that do not share the same environmental, sustainability, or ethical values (for example, bad working conditions, unfair wages, or child labor). This will help you mitigate any risk or compliance issues related to your business.

Collaborate on Product Information for Your Brand’s Image

Some retailers and manufacturers are now starting to use a supplier information management application, providing integrated access to their product information management (PIM) system – both master data-fueled. This allows suppliers to easily upload product catalogs and update information about their business, contacts, and products within the same system.

Merchandisers, product managers, and procurement or marketing managers can use the PIM app to collaborate (create, enrich, edit, and approve) on the products, making it ready for sales and marketing. Embedding data-quality rules ensures that the data you receive from and share with trading partners is consistent and complete. High-quality product information across all sales channels improves the customer purchase journey and a brand’s image.

Ensure Accurate CPG Labeling for Compliance

If you are selling food or consumer packaged goods (CPG), the labeling must accurately reflect supply chain attributes. In the food industry, inaccurate labeling or undeclared allergens are a major reason for recalls. This includes product information like country of origin, ingredients, nutrition facts, or allergens to ensure product safety and compliance along your supply chain – from your suppliers to the point of sale.

The most convenient way to achieve this is by leveraging master-data fueled product information management (PIM) which provides direct access to a data pool, like 1WorldSync via Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). Automating the process of receiving accurate and current GDSN product facts from your suppliers will further support your organization’s supply chain confidence and compliance efforts.

Happy and Healthy Easter!

Download the White Paper: 5 Data-Driven Challenges You Must Overcome to Strategically Manage Your Supply Chain


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.