The Beauty and Burden of Choice on our Supply Chain

Buyers today have more requirements than ever before.

Can I please have the gluten-free, organic sprouted-seed bread? Oh, and make that locally grown.
How about a cotton t-shirt made without slave or child labor that uses recycled packaging, from a certified B Corp company?

How is our supply chain handling all these requirements; does the customer believe all your claims?

There is a path to trust and reassurance by leveraging technology and clearly defined requirements.

Every commercial transaction is based on a buyer’s requirements, regardless of how informal or structured these requirements are stated, they are at the core of every commercial transaction. In business settings they are often detailed through: contracts, purchase orders, requests for proposals (RFPs), tenders, etc. In consumer settings they can be as simple as a person saying “…I was looking for a [widget]…”, or they could be as formal as a series of statements or filters on an e-commerce website.

Through requirement statements, a buyer communicates with potential sellers EXACTLY what they hope to purchase and provides a framework for the seller to communicate with the buyer about the desired product. In effective commerce, the buyer will also offer incentives to complete the transaction. These can be: money, guarantees, time, references, endorsements, publicity rights, case studies, etc. Requirements (and Incentives) are what begin the commercial process.

When requirements are added to a Universal Data Container (or digital twin), the Commercial Trust Architecture (CTA) begins building the immutable data record that sits at the core of the Commercial Trust™ Protocol (to be discussed in a future post) and starts capturing the transactions that provide the transparency customers, regulators, and companies are increasingly demanding.

Looking at commerce from this perspective allows us to rethink how we communicate our requirements to our suppliers:

  • Are our requirements clearly specified?

  • Have we detailed what we want to know about the product, its origins, its environmental impact, and how the workforce is being treated?

  • Can we confidently – and accurately – tell customers the TRUE product story?

Capturing and communicating requirements up and down the supply chain is how we begin the Trust journey for our companies and our customers. What requirements (and incentives) would create better processes in your supply chain? Now, please toast that bread and use organic butter from grass-fed, free-range cattle!