For this reason alone, when some of the world’s biggest and best food and drink brands gather in Barcelona for the GFSI Conference next month, I want to put brand assurance on the agenda.
What do I mean by brand assurance? Put simply, it’s a shift in mindset, where risk management is viewed not only in operational terms, but as a critical foundation for strong, resilient brands. It means broadening the focus: from compliance, to true business improvement and performance management; from annual, point-in-time audits to real-time insight; from monitoring reactively to being pro-active about prevention; and from the vetting of suppliers at the beginning of a contractual relationship, to creating a culture of coaching, collaboration and partnership that underpins long-term value.
The change is already happening. At LRQA, we are hearing more and more from customers looking to make a shift - or who have already begun the journey – and there are two key questions they ask. First, how do I integrate technology into supply chains in a way that enables the next level of monitoring, real-time data and transparency I need? And second, how do I harness my own data – and tap into data elsewhere – to make supply chain assurance more risk-based, more predictively driven and more effective? In short, how do I create more visibility across my supply chain, and put my company most in control in those areas that matter most to us?
These are big questions. But in a world where stakeholder expectations and demands are spiralling ever upwards and the consequences of mis-managing risk have never been higher, they are the right questions to ask. I’ll be on the LRQA stand in Barcelona to talk about our unique capabilities in these areas - and where better than the GFSI Conference to have the conversation?
GFSI has become the ‘go to’ body for globally consistent food standards and a benchmark for brands that need to assure that their food is safe and of the right quality. It is the ideal platform on which to build a holistic approach to assurance which embraces not just food safety , but environmental and sustainability commitments and claims, ethical and responsible sourcing, health and safety , workforce welfare, cybersecurity and more.
Warren Buffet, a man who knows more than most about company value, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and about five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” As we look to the future of assurance, we’d do well to take his advice on-board.
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