7 Steps to Streamlining Supplier Due Diligence with Product Stewardship and Compliance Software

7 Steps to Streamlining Supplier Due Diligence with Product Stewardship and Compliance Software

Product Stewardship

When faced with frequent regulatory change and demands for information, it’s more important than ever for your business to have integrated, smoothly functioning product stewardship and compliance software to optimize your company’s supplier due diligence. The ability to effectively manage change – whether it be new markets, updated regulations, new suppliers, or new product introduction – is the number one challenge for most organizations.

It’s notoriously difficult to balance something like product compliance. Responsibility is global, information is intensive, and the whole issue cuts across multiple functions. Yet even with what we know about it, most organizations are stuck with a program managed by one or a few internal employees, with limited access to good systems and good information.

Consider the opportunity and advantages of managing this complex, work-intensive issue via a single, integrated solution. This solution would enable an organization to unify cross-functional teams (for example, sourcing, compliance, and engineering simultaneously), streamline supply chain engagement, and manage regulatory and customer requirements.

Here’s how to do it yourself.

Step 1: Leverage available software support

It’s crucial to utilize the resources available around you in your search for a wholly integrated and cohesive tool for product stewardship. The ideal system is one that takes the manual work out of managing supplier community and allows you to focus more critically on product lifecycle management & sustainability.

Step 2: Streamline supplier engagement and automate workflow

Once you’ve decided on the program that will be working to alleviate unnecessary complications related to product stewardship and supplier due diligence, it’s important to make sure that you, your employees, and your suppliers are all on the same page. When suppliers are fully engaged and can better see the whole picture, they can provide better and more complete information. Similarly, when employees are operating on an automated and consistent basis in their workflow, they can do better work and perform more efficiently.

To accomplish this multi-level kind of integration and collaboration, you will need to streamline your supplier engagement through a web-based platform, leveraging flexible industry standard reporting templates. It’s an unnecessary challenge to ensure improved supplier engagement and workflow without a system that allows for coordination of cross-functional activities.

Step 3: Communicate situational program and supply chain status

After you’ve ensured all levels of your company’s product stewardship and compliance software are on the same page, it’s necessary to create and maintain consistent communication of your program’s situation, as well as the supply chain status. The key to transitioning to a more sustainable product stewardship solution in these areas is first to get started, and then to build on that success incrementally while partnering with an organization that holds experience in helping organizations overcome the same challenges.

Using the correct tools, organizations looking to advance more sustainable practices within your business’ supply chain can collect and validate upstream supplier and manufacturer information. This information is concerning sustainability goals, policies and practices that have direct community impact as well as impact on products produced by their downstream manufacturers and assemblers. 

Step 4: Integrate with business ERP/PLM systems

With a fully communicative and consistently updated system in place, the next step is to integrate business ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) efforts. This allows for streamlined supplier due diligence campaigns and sharing of product/material compliance insights. Integration of a complete system with an organization’s ERP and PLM systems ensures effective management of change and better-informed decision making. Organizations should be able to connect their internal ERP systems (e.g., SAP, Oracle, etc.) and their product engineering systems (e.g., PLM) with their chosen product stewardship software for integrated, automated data sharing and better-informed decision making around product design and product lifecycle management.

Step 5: Centralize product compliance tracking

Following integration of product stewardship and supplier due diligence software with already-instated business activities, you can then move on to centralizing and coordinating the work efforts of cross-functional teams via a single tool. You should be able to anchor and automate supplier and manufacturer engagement and data collection to better inform smart, environmentally sound product design and production activities. It’s necessary to be able to get down to the fine details of the process and utilize your software to track detailed product information from start to finish.

Step 6: Maintain awareness of regulatory priorities and customer requests

Once you’ve centralized your product compliance tracking efforts into an easily understood and easily accessible format, you’re then able to start focusing on external influence. This primarily refers to the two biggest influencers of product stewardship efforts: regulatory priorities and customer requests. It’s vital to be able to communicate material compliance and regulatory insights to product engineers as part of the design process, as well as quick response to customer requests for information with smart searches and automatic roll-up across business units and product lines.

The best way to go about maintaining awareness around product compliance requirements and necessary changes is to prioritize regulations and customer requests initially, and then extend to other priorities over time. The same kind of guideline establishment and then progress from that baseline as was outlined in Step 3.

Step 7: Continuous collaborative work with support team

Finally, it’s necessary to keep the ball rolling once you get started! Providing procurement and sourcing teams with an easy-to-use platform with which they can segment their suppliers and engage them for information with industry standard and customizable questionnaires is vital. The ideal software platform will allow you to combine both your compliance and sustainability objectives. This also lends to the flexibility needed in order to address product or supply chain compliance obligations as well as market-driven or customer-driven sustainability objectives. The ideal software support team will be readily available to help you make that happen.

Now you know what to do – but how are you going to get there? Introducing Gensuite’s Product Steward™. As part of our Product Stewardship and Sustainability software suite, it takes product stewardship and supplier due diligence around the world – coordinating procurement, shipping, and global compliance for a product’s life cycle using integrated, cross-functional EHS software. It takes the manual work out of managing a supplier community and allows you to focus more critically on product lifecycle management and sustainability.

Gensuite’s Product Steward™ gives you the opportunity to join a community of practitioners, working collaboratively to address emerging business priorities and regulatory obligations through a platform built for rapid flexibility and innovation. Assisting with creating a fully integrated product compliance software system, it helps you streamline product compliance, product sustainability, and supply chain sustainability programs with company goals, values, and previously instated efforts.

By leveraging the availability of Gensuite’s Product Steward™, you will be able to:

  • Better understand regulatory compliant materials and products
  • Improve supplier engagement for quick access to information and documents
  • Advance more sustainable practices in your organization’s supply chain
  • Collect and validate supplier and manufacturer information on sustainability
  • Integrate organizational ERP/PLM systems with Product Stewardship software
  • Maintain supplier due diligence communication through automated data sharing
  • Establish awareness of regulatory priorities and customer requests
  • Communicate with your software support team throughout use

Find out how your business can use Gensuite’s Product Steward™ today!

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