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Retail roundtable in London
News • 28.06.24

Influential retail industry players discuss critical challenges 

Anthony Hanley
Senior Vice President | Supply Chain Compliance

This week, we had the honour of hosting a Retail Roundtable on the topic of “Mastering Supply Chain Excellence” at Sushi Samba London, co-hosted by myself, Anthony Hanley, and my colleague Amanda Reynolds. The session was graced with the presence of influential industry players such as Amazon, Rank Group, and WSH who represent well known brands such as Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino’s, making for a deeply insightful dialogue on supply chain challenges and innovations.  

Here are some of the event highlights and critical discussions we had that we would like to share with you:

Importance of Data

A unanimous agreement emerged on the pivotal role of data in mastering supply chain challenges. Without accurate baseline data, tackling complex issues like carbon footprints and modern slavery remains formidable. The attendees identified significant gaps and inconsistencies in current data management practices.  

Modern Slavery as a Priority

The urgency of addressing modern slavery was a recurring theme. Our keynote speaker, Lucy Mann from ‘Unseen’, indicated upcoming changes to the Modern Slavery Act, suggesting lower thresholds for compliance and higher fines, similar to the German Supply Chain Act. This regulatory evolution underscores the need for our proactive engagement and compliance.  

Interconnected Functions for Compliance 

The discussion frequently circled back to the necessity of interconnected systems across functions to avoid siloed operations. There’s a vital need to engage departments like HR, IT, and L&D, which also manage their sub-supply chains and are integral to overarching supply chain compliance.  

Challenges with SME Engagement

A major concern raised was the support for SMEs in compliance practices. The participants expressed a need for organised initiatives such as webinars, town halls, and ‘meet the buyer’ events to better engage SMEs. However, the lack of internal capabilities to host such events is a significant barrier, signalling a need for external support and shared best practices.  

The Ineffectiveness of Current Solutions 

Criticism was directed at current solutions, which are posing barriers due to complexity and cost. A dynamic, risk-based approach was advocated as more appropriate for effective supply chain compliance.  

Subcontracting and Compliance Challenges

The difficulty in ensuring compliance across multiple tiers of subcontracting was acknowledged as a critical industry-wide hurdle. There is a pressing need for solutions that can ensure all tiers, including the indirect supply chains, maintain compliance.  

Looking Ahead 

The challenges highlighted during our discussions reflect broader industry trends, where supply chain disruptions continue to impact retail operations globally. With changing consumer expectations and regulatory landscapes, it is crucial that businesses stay ahead through innovation, collaboration, and compliance.  

We look forward to our continued efforts in these roundtables, fostering not only compliance but also innovation and strategic partnerships within the retail supply chain sector.  

“Our participants agreed that baseline data is essential; without it, tackling complex issues like carbon emissions and modern slavery is impossible.”

Amanda Reynolds – Senior Business Development Manager

Reference:

  • Unseen – A UK charity providing safehouses and support in the community for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery  – www.unseenuk.org 

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