Business owners face a number of challenges when it comes to sourcing products. Navigating quality standards, delivery times, legalities, contracts, and copyright issues is only part of it. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your suppliers are ethical as well. Finding the cheapest supplier isn’t always the best route! Smart Girl Brand shares some tips to help ensure that your suppliers aren’t harming people or the planet.
Ethics and Consumer Concern
When choosing product suppliers, most business owners only look at one thing: cost. But picking an unethical supplier to increase your bottom line is a fast way to lose the loyalty of your customers. Sourcing ethically, on the other hand, will boost your brand reputation and encourage customers to switch brands and buy from you. Many younger consumers consider a brand’s ethical values before buying from them!
Customers want to support businesses that are treating workers fairly and protecting the environment, and they’re willing to pay more for it. So, even if it means increasing the price of your products, it’s worth it to make the switch to an ethical supplier. Listen to what your customers want and be ready to spend a little more yourself to make them happy. Loyal, repeat customers are your most valuable asset!
Supply Chain Considerations
While ethical sourcing often means higher costs, there are other ways to save money throughout your supply chain. Reassess your supply chain process and look for ways to optimize your system. For example, you can invest in training programs to develop the skills of your employees, take advantage of logistics management software, and talk to your team to identify bottlenecks in your supply chain. If you need to hire more employees to improve your supply chain process, you can save by hiring freelancers through online job boards. According to Zenbusiness, there are even freelancers who can help you find vendors. When creating a freelance contract, make sure to include a description of the work, payment terms, and termination and indemnity clauses.
Do Your Research
When choosing suppliers, look past the price tag. Take the time to research suppliers thoroughly so you have a better idea of their operations and quality standards. Importantly, know how to spot signs of corruption or bribery. If your suppliers are located in areas that are typically vulnerable to exploitation, for example, you should be more cautious about working with them. Remember to also research the regulations and laws governing the manufacturing processes where your suppliers are located. Seek out suppliers that welcome you to visit their factories and talk to their workers. Finally, make sure they have the right permits and certificates to meet your ethical standards!
Online Platforms for Ethical Suppliers
Finding great suppliers can take time, but online resources can help streamline the process. There are several online platforms where business owners can find, research, and connect with ethical suppliers in their industry. For example, fashion brands can use platforms like Sewport to find ethical manufacturers that produce sustainable fabrics. Similar platforms exist for coffee producers, skincare product manufacturers, and suppliers in a wide variety of other industries.
Visit Your Manufacturers
One of the best ways to ensure that your suppliers are treating their workers fairly is by visiting them in person. Take a trip to your suppliers’ facilities and see what’s going on there. Talk to the workers, question the managers, and take photos of what concerns you. This is also a great chance to develop a stronger relationship with your suppliers and establish your expectations.