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How Digitizing Quality Control Strengthens Supplier Insight & Collaboration

Following the unprecedented trials of the past two years—from factory closures to shipping delays—it’s become clear that companies need to anticipate the unexpected. But to do this, they will need to reshape their supply chains from a siloed, linear model to a collaborative network.

According to an exclusive whitepaper from Inspectorio for Sourcing Journal, “Quality Control’s New Paradigm,” passive and manual supply chain management is no longer enough to guard against these risks, including potential quality issues. Instead, brands need a more proactive, digitally connected method for overseeing production across the globe.

The term “quality control” has typically been used to describe occasional on-site product audits, but the practice needs to expand to include a constant pulse on manufacturing. By tracking the movement of merchandise through the manufacturing process, companies can see where potential problems may arise and reroute goods accordingly. For instance, if a factory enters quarantine, materials can be sent to another facility.

“Having better visibility into the status of products in the supply chain will help companies plan and prepare for disruption, find alternative suppliers and transporters, or even communicate with the customer to inform them of any delays,” said Dr. Hiep Cong Pham, logistics and SCM cluster lead, School of Business and Management, RMIT Vietnam.

In a 2020 McKinsey survey, 85 percent of executives noted that their digital tools for supply chain management were insufficient. For some companies, the pandemic provided an impetus to invest in supply chain technology. And per Pham, digitalization has become a “survival tool.”

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“Businesses that saw an opportunity to embrace technology to improve performance are the ones that are ahead of what may come in the future,” said Daniela Ayllon, senior account manager at Inspectorio. “Covid-19 has proven that tech needs to come at the core of business.”

Inspectorio’s SIGHT platform acts as a quality control hub. SIGHT gathers data about suppliers into one singular platform, tracking how each individual partner is performing.

Digitization and data not only enable improved oversight; they also enable an evolution of supplier-buyer relationships from transactional to collaborative. Rather than having blanket quality procedures for all factories, gathering more granular data opens the ability to determine the unique risk levels for each supplier. This can then guide the degree of quality checks.

As travel became challenging during the pandemic, factory visits were replaced by virtual assessments. Going a step further, brands can empower factories that pose a lower risk by allowing them to self-assess their quality with digital tools that guide them through the audit process. Not only does this show trust in suppliers, but it can also save auditing costs.

“With self-inspection, brands and their suppliers have found a new way to collaborate not only on the foundation of communication, but also trust,” Ayllon said. “Trust and cooperation will also nurture these relationships. It’s a solution where everyone benefits.”

Inspectorio Whitepaper 2022

Read the full whitepaper to discover how digitization makes a difference in quality management and how Inspectorio is helping clients improve their supplier connections and collaboration. Click here to download your copy.