As your supply chain increases in size and geography, managing suppliers becomes a huge challenge. You may have hundreds, or even thousands of suppliers in your supply chain, and keeping track of how they fit into your business isn’t easy. Many companies find themselves with a folder of different spreadsheets (with overlapping information), aimed at managing different subsets of their supply chain.

Most ERP software doesn’t manage supplier outreach and collected compliance data efficiently. So you have to export the data you need to work with, but still keep it under control. All those exports, documents and emails can quickly become disconnected and difficult to interpret. Putting that data into a platform specifically designed for supplier outreach and document collection means you can stay organized and get updates on progress in real-time.

Let us introduce one of the most effective supply chain data management tools you may have never heard of – Tagging.

What is a Tag?

Tagging is a premise based on a feature that many websites, or software platforms use as a content organization tool. We can apply this same broad definition to supply chain compliance. Tagging is a data organization tool and is a feature that strong supply chain data management platforms offer.

Type

Type is the term or keyword that is applied to a piece of data. Common tagging terms include – product type, business division, region, and spend. Tags can apply to both internal and external business criteria.

Value

Value is associated with the “Type” to describe the specific instance. For instance, if the Type is ‘Spend’, values could be ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’. Value’s allow you to sort data based on the specific tag you’re analyzing.

Example: Let’s say you’re trying to organize your supply chain by the different products you sell. You can use a ‘Product Type’ tag to do so. Within the product tag, you can assign values like; Toys, Furniture, Bath & Kitchen, and Home. You can then apply a tag to each supplier, indicating their relevance to a particular product you sell.

How are Tags used?

Tagging is a premise based on a feature that many websites, or software platforms use as a content organization tool. We can apply this same broad definition to supply chain compliance. Tagging is a data organization tool and is a feature that strong supply chain data management platforms offer.

How does Tagging optimize compliance data management?

For compliance data management, Tagging is your organizational backbone. Here are a few situations where Tagging can be applied to optimize your supply chain management:

Special Supplier Attention

After the deployment of a routine supplier assessment, you receive data back from a supplier that has some indirect indicators of slave labor. Beyond your classic risk rating you can use a ‘risk type’ Tag on that supplier, and use the ‘slave-labor’ value to further monitor and take action on the risk of slave labor being present in your supply chain.

Customer Reporting Needs

Your largest customer has just requested your CMRT for the upcoming reporting year. This request now requires you to roll-up your suppliers (relevant to this customer) CMRTs to accurately report your conflict minerals compliance information. Applying a ‘customer’ Tag to your suppliers will allow you to connect the suppliers you use for a particular customer. Rolling up all CMRTs now just requires filtering by tags and executing the report. Customer Tags are an extremely powerful tool that our clients use to connect multiple tiers of their supply chains.

Product Compliance Assessments

Your legal team relayed the message that your new customers in Europe now require you to comply with REACH and RoHS. They told you to look at two areas of your product line for substances of high concern (electronic accessories and battery equipment). Utilizing product type Tagging, you can easily dive into the products in question and make a quick determination.

In short, Tagging is a practice that should be implemented by companies with supply chains of all sizes. It’s a scalable way to organize your supplier data, closely monitor questionable suppliers, easily reply to customer requests, understand unique product compliance needs and more. At Source Intelligence, we say that more Tags equal more supply chain intelligence. If you’re interested in learning more about our Tagging feature, click here. If you’re interested in learning how Tags can be applied to your supply chain, click here.

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