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Compliance vs. Quality: Protecting Your Supply Chain

October 19, 2020

Compliance has not emerged with glory from COVID-19. For many, it became a source of rigidity that constrained cooperation, limited transparency, delayed important decisions and stood in the way of good commercial judgment.

But there is another way of looking at compliance and that is to see it as a component of quality management. For those who view it this way, supply relationships operate in a very different manner. They offer dynamism, smooth-flowing information and healthy relationships that can flex and support collaboration in managing the chaos created by the pandemic. That’s not to say these organizations don’t care about compliance. In fact, quite the opposite; they think of compliance as a component of a quality management system and ensure that it is designed and adjusted to support business resilience, not simply to impose rules.

Regulators recognize the benefit

Indeed, even the regulators have recognized the damage that compliance can inflict. As an example, the Federal Drug Administration’s recent ‘Case for Quality’ program seeks to shift emphasis and reward consistent high-quality production.

There is abundant research that shows the link between strong, healthy supply relationships and overall corporate performance (for example, the work of John Henke in assessing the automotive industry). World Commerce & Contracting has been conducting more global studies and questioning whether the future is about supply chains, or whether there is a need to think more about supply networks and ecosystems.

The experience of the pandemic has revealed the importance of visibility within and across supply chains. Without this, an organization is blind to areas of weakness and unable to offer support, generate loyalty or plan for alternatives. The many aspects of ‘protecting your supply chain’ are being explored in World Commerce & Contracting’s next TASK topic and can be accessed by members of the association at no charge.

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