Monitoring factory compliance is a complex task that has become even more complicated during Covid-19. In addition to keeping tabs on social and environmental standards, companies now have a significant interest in ensuring health and safety practices that protect workers from the virus.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, Inspectorio saw an opportunity to simplify the audit process.
Despite the interconnected nature of the fashion supply chain, auditing has traditionally been a siloed activity. A factory may be working with multiple retailers with overlapping benchmarks, but without a way to share data across disparate systems, the manufacturer is tied to the time-consuming process of doing individual audits for each customer. On the brand side, comparing audit results to their own standards is often a manual task.
Inspectorio’s Rise platform was designed to streamline the compliance auditing process by centralizing it on one platform.
“As consumers hold brands and retailers more and more accountable to their environmental and social standards of production, brands and retailers have pressure to monitor the compliance of these standards efficiently and effectively at scale,” said David Klein, co-founder and president of Inspectorio. “Rise was born to address each and every pain in the current operating model of facility compliance monitoring with a platform solution that truly leverages the interconnected nature of our supply chain.”
Rise follows the earlier launch of Inspectorio’s centralized Sight platform for quality control, creating a similar collaborative solution for compliance. Within Rise, companies can create tailored questionnaires for their partners and configure their own scoring parameters for the assessments. For retailers and brands, the platform offers an automated alternative to manually matching third-party standards to their internal codes of conduct.
Each party has a single identity within Rise. This enables vendors to share third-party audit results with all their customers to avoid repeat assessments.
Another key change is the switch from fragmented data collection to a centralized platform for all stakeholders. “Improvements cannot be driven if the underlying performance data cannot be viewed equally nor efficiently,” said Klein. “Data is only valuable if you can translate it into actionable insights.”
Aside from facilitating easier collection of data, Rise helps companies make needed fixes faster. Companies can set thresholds that automatically trigger corrective or preventive actions.
Klein describes the platform as “standard agnostic,” which makes it easier to scale across the industry. “Companies can integrate any audit data regardless of the third-party standard, a reality that third-party standards’ proprietary platforms cannot accommodate and thus perpetuate more data silos,” he added.
As the fashion industry grappled with factory reopenings during the pandemic, Inspectorio added features to Rise to help companies navigate health and safety precautions. This included a library of guidelines, online training courses, automated corrective and preventive action suggestions and a dashboard that enables brands and retailers to monitor what happens on the factory floor in real-time with the help of QR codes. In light of the new needs of the industry, Inspectorio made access to Rise free for companies that wanted to participate in the initiative.
Industry Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) partnered with Inspectorio Rise to help apparel workers return safely following COVID-19 closures. The fashion industry is a significant employer in the country, with apparel making up 84 percent of all manufacturing output. As the pandemic struck, 1 million of the 4.1 million Bangladeshi individuals who work in the garment sector became unemployed. Eager to reopen, the partners also wanted to do so responsibly. Rise enabled Industry Bangladesh and the BGMEA to more easily disseminate guidelines across the country to get back to work safely.
“All members of the supply chain have a duty to produce more sustainability for this generation and the next,” said Klein. “The interconnected nature of our supply chain reinforces the need to work together on issues that affect us all. Technology provides the means to achieve that goal, but we must work in the form of pre-competitive collaboration. This lack of pre-competitive collaboration is our industry’s biggest obstacle to overcome.”
What’s the most important issue the fashion industry has yet to address?
“The fashion industry’s footprint on the environment.”
For more on Sustaining Voices, which celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action, visit sustainingvoices.com.