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Customer or Organisation’s Code of Conducts are now in all parts of the supply chain. They have been an integral part of the office or factory noticeboard for well over 10 years..

Behind the code of conduct document is the reality of compliance to a raft of legislation, directives, procedures, maintenance plans and HR reports. To handle this requires departments and specialists in various operations. This is a necessity, but it must not be allowed to become a silo of function, working in isolation to its own plans, responsibilities and reporting mechanisms, with the rest of the operation being grateful that they don’t have to deal with all that stuff!!!

A code of conduct should be in the DNA of a company. Based on Robert Vernon Associates many years of varied experience  we have concluded that essentially there only 4 basic elements in any code and all businesses and their operations should be managing these elements, irrespective of customer or legislative requirement:

  1. Secure Social Conditions at the workplace
  2. Secure environmental performance and improvement
  3. Secure operational health and safety work
  4. No Child Labour in the factory

Breaking down a code of conduct into basic elements helps to simplify what at times can be something either too abstract, marketing verbage or too technical and detailed. Simplifying with basic elements as communication drivers for the workforce will help secure and achieve engagement and ownership in the operation. This helps to identify the needs, which can then be prioritised and delegated. Once the needs are clear then actions can be devised on the shop floor to handle non conformances or operational improvements, instead of plans being drafted in the supply chain office or company headquarters by Sustainability Teams.

A sustainable, compliant, efficient business depends upon everybody working together to achieve good business growth. The company Code of Conduct informs all stakeholders about an organisation’s values – in essence why they exist! They are no longer marketing gimmicks to be dusted down when the customer or senior managers plans a visit. Compliance to the requirements is vital for the customer offer. It needs to be assured 365 days a year not just on audits. Therefore engagement by everybody in the business is vital. Even if you do not agree with our 4 basic elements find your own, as a way of communicating and securing involvement. Avoid the silo of functions where its only one specific department or team that knows or thinks it knows what’s going on!!

Robert Vernon Associates can help turn your company’s code of conducts, values statements and supplier compliance requirements into reality. Making them not just the DNA of your company but that of your Supply Chain. For more information and a discussion please contact us..

Mark K. Astley