Two Unintended Consequences of Your Supply Chain Assessment, and How to Avoid Them

By James Barsimantov
Nov 14, 2017 3:35 PM ET


Regularly, you work to prepare a comprehensive supply chain assessment. Hours are spent building a robust questionnaire for your tier 1 suppliers. The goal is a 100% response rate, so that you have valuable intelligence to manage and improve your supply chain. Maybe the focus of your assessment is traceability and mapping, or perhaps calculating GHG emissions.  You send the questions and it takes the suppliers about two hours to complete. Two hours of work isn’t too much to ask, right? Or is it?

From a supplier perspective, the reality is that each company doesn’t act alone. Add nine additional companies to your comprehensive assessment. Now, despite everyone’s good intentions, our tier 1 supplier is responsible for completing not one, but ten detailed, lengthy assessments. Minding the tendency for each company to use a slightly different format, the simple two-hour request can easily become two days of effort, or more. Queue the supplier fatigue. 

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James Barsimantov, Ph.D., Cofounder & COO, SupplyShift, received his doctorate in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz with a focus on environmental economics and resource management. James has extensive experience in greenhouse gas emissions quantification, climate action strategy, energy analysis, and supply chain sustainability. He has developed sustainability rating systems, methodologies to quantify GHG emissions, and multiple client-specific tools. James has provided expert witness testimony in multiple cases on energy and climate policy and speaks frequently in both academic and corporate sustainability venues on sustainability measurement, life cycle analysis, and environmental policy. He teaches in the Electrical Engineering and Environmental Studies Departments at UCSC. James is the driving force behind SupplyShift, and has been instrumental in every step of product conception and development.