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Category: Uncategorised

How do you evaluate a new supplier?

Identifying new suppliers to work with is always a hard decision to make. Even the combination of a recommendation from an industry colleague, and the supplier’s ability to showcase their capability, isn’t enough to make you sure that the new partnership will be successful.

While many companies take a calculated risk by appointing a new supplier, unsure whether problems will occur further down the line; there is a three-step framework that can help companies better appoint new suppliers – and ensure they are meeting standards long into the future.

The Altius supply chain performance framework is a great tool that pins new, and existing suppliers too, down to three key areas: capability, management and monitoring. Here we give a brief explanation of the framework and how it can help you.



Judging the capability of your suppliers gives your business a clear indication of their skills and experience. Failure to do this could result in you employing a company that cannot maintain the high quality of service you expect, putting your company and supply chain in danger of falling below standards.

To judge supplier capability effectively, you should:



The job of managing compliance extends well beyond the basics of information and evidence gathering for authorisation to work. Ongoing management of suppliers is required to ensure that contractual compliance is adhered to. For new and existing suppliers, you should be giving them the relevant policy, rules and specifications to help them stay compliant. Your job at this stage is to monitor that they are doing this correctly and on time.

To manage new suppliers effectively, you should:



To ensure that your supplier abides by your contractual agreements and meets their targets, you need to have a system in place so that you can monitor their progress continually. This can be in the form of an audit which will assist in identifying areas for improvement; it can also assess the performance of your suppliers, which is crucial to maintaining high standards.

To monitor and evaluate the performance of a new supplier, you should:


Best practice to manage new suppliers

Managing new and existing suppliers effectively is hard to balance, so here is a three-step framework to help you effectively evaluate new suppliers.

For more advice on managing new suppliers, take a look at our Introduction to Supply Chain Compliance Best Practice here.

Five questions you should ask yourself today on your modern slavery policy and process

The UK Government has set the turnover threshold at £36 million for companies that have to report on their supply chain modern slavery. Despite this threshold, the Government is still advising companies with smaller turnovers to analyse their supply chains to ensure they are ‘slavery free’.

Modern slavery is still a major concern in the industry, with only 30% of procurement and supply chain professionals believing their suppliers were compliant with the new legislation.

To assist you in the analysis of your current modern slavery policy and process, answer these five key questions on modern slavery:


1 – Do you ask what your supply chain are doing to combat modern slavery?

Requesting information on how your suppliers and contractors are dealing with modern slavery shouldn’t be limited to new suppliers on their PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire). You should also be asking your existing contractors and suppliers on an annual basis.

Surprisingly, 71% of supply chain and procurement professionals believe their biggest challenge with modern slavery is ensuring the compliance of existing suppliers, according to The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.


2 – Do you monitor if they are doing what they say they are?

Desktop and on-site audits are tools that you should be using to ensure your supply chain is abiding by the claims they are making. These audits should look into claims around modern slavery and find evidence of procedures and policies being adhered to.

As Altius’ Managing Director Gary Plant describes, “Having a clear compliance process for your suppliers and contractors to abide by is essential to ensure compliance within your supply chain, ultimately to reduce your exposure and cut your costs.”

“Whether you’re still working from a spreadsheet to monitor supplier compliance, or you have an automated software system, regular communication with your suppliers can help achieve greater levels of compliance.”


3 – Can you prove due diligence and cover your business if the worst were to happen?

While the importance of supply chain audits has never been underestimated in the industry, supply chain and procurement teams are finding it difficult to find time to conduct them and identify potential supply chain risks – two findings that were highlighted in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.

This time constraint means that some supply chain teams are missing out on issues and not completing auditing documentation on an annual basis as they should. Without the activity and paper trail that clears suppliers and contractors to work with you for another year, you and your company are at serious risk.


4 – Could you save money outsourcing this process?

Of course, auditing your suppliers and contractors on an annual basis is a massive undertaking of time and resource. However, to ensure you negate risk, this is a requirement – especially with the severity you and your company face if you fall foul of the new modern slavery legislation.

To ensure your supply chain is compliant to The Modern Slavery Act and amongst other legislations and certifications, outsourcing your compliance process may be an option. This outsourcing could also save your team valuable time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. See how Altius can help with your supplier and contractor assessments.


5 – Are you able to show transparency to your customers on your processes?

If your target client database is businesses over £36 million, the need to comply and create additional assets to show Modern Slavery Act compliance, is almost a compulsory measure. Businesses will want to see thorough processes and clear documentation that every one of your contractors and suppliers adheres to.

This transparency is not always easy to show when companies still rely on traditional database techniques such as logging contractor information on a spreadsheet. For ultimate clarity in order to pitch and win work from businesses over £36 million turnover, it is certainly worth investing in an online system that logs contractor data easily.


Modern Slavery Report

Not sure how compliant you are to the Modern Slavery Act? See how the rest of the procurement and supply chain industry are dealing with the recent legislation and what their biggest challenges in 2017 will be, in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.

How we can help businesses really care about their corporate ethical footprint

In 2015, the UK Government introduced the Modern Slavery Act, which requires businesses with a turnover of £36 million or over, to release a statement outlining steps they are taking to comply with the new legislation. What many companies miss is that the statement should also reference efforts to check their supply chains too.

This is in response to a global stance to wipe out modern slavery after the International Labour Organization estimated that 30 million people are enslaved today, and the profit generated by this labour is $150 billion annually.


Naming and shaming brands

Speaking on the legislation, Prime Minister Theresa May, said: “By increasing supply chain accountability, more workers will be protected, and consumers will have greater confidence in the goods and services they will buy.”

With businesses being ‘named and shamed’ when preventative measures are not being taken, understandably modern slavery has become a hot topic in recent months, with big brands being checked to ensure they are following the legislation and safeguarding their reputation.

However, research compiled in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report has found that 71% of procurement professionals felt they were ill-prepared for the new legislations and struggle to monitor their supply chain due to time pressures.


Improve your ethical footprint

Here at Altius, we can offer you a way to make sure you are not on that list, but, more importantly, with growing spotlight being pointed at all brands to show transparency in their supply chain, we can help you prove that you really care about your corporate ethical footprint, while saving time and money.

As the leading supply chain compliance provider, our award-winning team can help you:

For more information on how we can help you really care about your corporate ethical footprint, speak to our team today for a free supply chain health check, or complete your own health check below.

How to improve your retail supply chain compliance in one working week

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade with technology and software playing an even greater role in our industry.

Not only are consumers taking advantage of this development through online stores, in-store kiosks and transactional iPads, procurement and supply chain professionals are using technology to improve their internal processes too.

One part of the internal process that is getting more attention as a result is supply chain compliance. Despite some retail professionals still relying on spreadsheets to monitor supplier information, the majority have embraced new technology to take away the burden of compliance.

Improve compliance in one working week

Whether you’re operating off a spreadsheet or a new compliance software, procurement and supply chain professionals can always do more to ensure a more transparent, efficient and safer internal process. Using the points below, find out how you can improve your retail supply chain compliance in one working week.


Supply chain compliance framework

This supply chain compliance framework was created by Altius to give supply chain professionals the template required to align internal processes and ensure maximum supplier compliance.


Information – Authorisation – Verification

Judging the capability of your suppliers gives your business a clear indication of their skills and experience to proceed with their products or services. To alleviate red faces internally and potential problems with the work they’ve done, you should be assessing the capability of the supplier right from the very start.

This includes questioning them on their ability, their qualifications and also on the previous work they’ve done. This information gathering will help you verify their claims, making it easier for you to authorise them for use throughout your business. Are you currently doing this effectively?



Policies & Rules – Contracts & Specifications – Controls & Restraints

The job of managing compliance extends well beyond the basics of information and evidence gathering for authorisation to work. Ongoing management of suppliers is required to ensure that contractual compliance is adhered to.

For new and existing suppliers, you should be giving them the relevant policy, rules and specifications to help them adhere to the rules. Your job at this stage is to monitor that they are doing this correctly. Has every one in your supply chain signed and understood all of your documents?



KPIs – Behaviour – Audit

To ensure that your supplier abides by your contractual agreements and meet their targets, you need to have a system in place so that you can monitor their progress.

This can be in the form of an audit which will assist in identifying areas for improvement; it can also assess the performance of your suppliers, which is crucial to maintaining high standards. Have you set KPIs for your existing suppliers in the past and audited them against their results?


The importance of compliance

The importance of compliance, particularly in the consumer-facing retail industry, is paramount. By using these nine points above to question your internal process, you will effectively review and begin to improve your retail supply chain compliance as soon as possible.

Want to know more about how new retail trends will impact on you? Download our guide Retail 2020: A future insight of trends that will affect facility and property management and discover how retail trends will change the way you do supply chain compliance in three years’ time.

Triple transparency: Why a transparent supply chain in retail is paramount

‘Generous brands’ in the current retail climate have pioneered the information that consumers want to know about the businesses they’re buying from. Innocent Drinks, for example, have shown to be a ‘generous brand’ associated with good health, charitable causes, and tongue-in-cheek marketing campaigns that resonate with their consumers.

Christian Davies, Executive Creative Director at FITCH Design explains that it’s not just the ‘façade’ that consumers are interested in, but the actual supply chain decisions too.


Buying can be a force for good

“We believe shoppers will absolutely want to know what retailers care about. On a macro level, this trend will influence the products retail brands choose to provide. It will push us to continue to explore how the act of buying can be a force for good.”

The results for being transparent and open with consumers, will be staggering. To support this a survey by the Business Citizenship Report 2014 reported that:


Environmental factors

While savvy consumers will seek information to ensure their ‘generous brand’ is who they perceive them to be, consumers may still not be aware of the deeper procurement complexities. A lack of natural resources and high demand for raw materials in new markets, for example, will not be understood as such, but that will not stop them wanting sustainability at a fair price.


Not forgetting modern slavery

The International Labour Organization estimates that 30 million people are enslaved today, and the profit generated by this labour is $150 billion annually. For UK firms, modern slavery is now a legislative measure, and not just an ethical ‘nice-to-do’.

Our Modern Slavery Report showed a shocking 71% of procurement professionals felt they were ill-prepared for new legislations and struggle to monitor their supply chain. Growing pressures to prove ethical standards to customers means you need to be ahead of the game to offer transparency in your business.


Triple the transparency

Retailers need to be more transparent, not only to meet legislation and ensure their supply chain in retail is compliant, but also to appease the demands of consumers in 2020 and beyond. Ethical product purchases are at an all-time high, and it falls to retail facility managers and property managers to ensure their brands are ready for the change.

For more insights into the consumer trends that will affect the industry in 2020 and beyond, download our free report, Retail 2020 report today.

What impact ‘retailtainment’ in 2020 will have on a retail FM

Retailtainment in 2020 What impact will it have on a retail FM

As online retail spend continues to increase, high street retailers are under pressure to create physical spaces that are there to entertain, as well as sell. Traditional retail footprints are being challenged by pop-up stores that, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology, give brands “complete creative control of the brand experience and how their messaging is communicated to consumers”.


Rise of ‘retailtainment’

Consumers will be eager to be inspired to purchase products in store, even if they decide to buy online instead. Retailers will be actively seeking competent suppliers that can create eye-catching displays and entertainment at peak shopping hours.


‘Phygital’ retail spaces

Physical retail spaces are set to include more digital capabilities, creating ‘phygital spaces’. These spaces are expected to include more touch-screen interfaces for greater product customisation, and could be extended as far as restaurant customers ordering their food on devices.

One example of a company that has done just that is J D Wetherspoon with the introduction of their Order & Pay app. Now available at each of their pubs across the UK, the app allows anyone with either an iPhone or Android phone to order food and drink to their table, without leaving their seat.

This connectivity and the devices required would need strong technology suppliers that can deliver a simple and secure solution.


What’s the impact on me?

With more emphasis on entertaining and interactive retail spaces, supply chain professionals need to be confident that their contractors can offer the solutions they need whilst remaining fully up to date with the latest rules and regulations that are ever evolving. This is crucial to offer businesses the assurance that every person that steps foot on their premises is fully competent and compliant.

Professionals will also need to ensure that all suppliers are aware and understand the policies and rules of working with their brand. This management of supplier knowledge and capability is something that Altius can help with as part of their Managed Service.


More insights

For more insight into future retail trends, and how they’re set to affect every retail FM, download your copy of Retail 2020: A future insight of trends that will affect facility and property management.

How will change in the retail industry affect you in 2020? Download report

Altius partners with health and safety app Work Wallet

Altius agree partnership with health and safety app Work Wallet

Altius have announced a new strategic partnership with health and safety app, Work Wallet.

Work Wallet is a mobile app that aids connecting people, places and processes to help provide a safer working environment – an especially vital tool for those businesses in the rail, construction and logistics industries.

Speaking on the new strategic partnership, Altius COO, Len Simmons said, “Work Wallet’s intelligent approach to linking up data is where the difference lies. We’re really enthusiastic that our clients and their contractors will be able to significantly improve their processes with this platform.”

Director at Work Wallet, Adam Civval said, “I’m really pleased with this new partnership with Altius, both companies have a lot in common with being at the forefront of Digital Technology. This new link up will provide a great range of additional services and add tremendous value to both our client bases.”


About the app

Work Wallet provides a comprehensive toolkit for businesses to help reduce their Health and Safety liability. With full audit history and change management, businesses can rest assured knowing they have full visibility of their Health and Safety processes. As standard, the app includes:

Real-time reporting of data

Say goodbye to paper processes and information taking an age to be shared across the business. With Work Wallet, data, reports and notifications are updated in real-time, creating highly proactive and relevant information.

Proactive safety alerts

By joining up key pieces of information, Work Wallet becomes a “Digital Man on the Ground” – helping to watch out for missing information, gaps in training and alerting managers to items needing attention, before it evolves into an accident.

Full audit log of updates

With the updated law in Health & Safety fines, it is increasingly important for businesses to have a full audit history of the steps they have taken in the prevention of accidents in their work environments.


Savings for Altius members

Altius are pleased to be partnering with Work Wallet to help provide compliance and quality of service to their Supplier Network. As an Altius member, we have negotiated the benefit of a saving of over 40% on the Enhanced package, giving you a great set of tools to enhance business operations.

For more information on Work Wallet and the offer for existing Altius members click the link below.

Find out more about Work Wallet

Three experts give their opinion on the future of retail supply chains

The retail supply chain is evolving rapidly. The internet has arguably been the biggest change in the industry with over £133 billion now spent online – a 16% increase on the previous year.

This remarkable level of spend has meant the supply chain of traditional retail companies has had to fundamentally change in order to meet the demands and behaviours of consumers.

In response, the industry embraced an ‘omnichannel’ strategy – an approach to align and integrate all sales channels within the same transactional and logistical infrastructure. But what else should retail FMs prepare for in their retail supply chain?

We’ve gathered the opinions of three experts on how the future of retail supply chain is set to change by 2020.

Sarwant Singh

Sarwant Singh is Senior Partner at market research company Frost & Sullivan and specialises in mega trends and the future of mobility. In his Forbes article in 2016, Sarwant gave his opinion on how technology, in particular, will change the supply chain industry.

From unmanned mobile robots in warehouses to drones for online fulfilment, the current supply chain is undergoing a major transformation. With the possibilities in artificial intelligence, the future supply chain holds the promise of being completely autonomous and self-orchestrated.

The supply chain of tomorrow will be leaner, faster and most importantly, self-orchestrated. This unprecedented pace of change will be driven by a few radical technologies that will be cautiously adopted by industry participants over the next 15 years. Here is a view of the top five Frost & Sullivan has identified from its comprehensive analysis on the Future of Logistics:


Christian Davies

Executive Creative Director at FITCH Design, Christian Davies, introduced an extensive report back in 2015 that outlined his opinion on the way retail will change as we approach the year 2020. While the report focussed on the retail trends that are being pushed by consumers, it sheds light on how these changes will affect retail supply chains as a result.

Retail will change more in the next five years than the last 50. This change is not just driven by economic, product or industry trends. Rather, tomorrow’s store is being shaped by new behaviours, needs and demands of shoppers.

By 2020, generation X will be enjoying the fruits of their peak-earnings decade of their careers. Millennials will no longer be the kids in your store. In fact, they are more likely to be shopping for their kids. Retail today is “under-delivering” against millennials’ expectations and success at retail in 2020 will only be achieved by embracing this somewhat challenging idea. We see six trends for retail’s future:


Kantar Retail and PwC

Following their joint report two years ago, Retailing 2015, researchers at Kantar Retail and PwC unveiled their new report in 2016 Winning in a polarized world. In the report, they looked into the infrastructure and logistical changes that retail supply chains need to prepare for.

Based upon updated research and the combined views of our retail industry professionals, we believe successful retailers of 2020 will be those most likely to properly position themselves to master the highly dynamic marketplace in which they operate, a marketplace that will likely be increasingly polarized. The polarization of 2020 is expected to manifest itself in a variety of ways:


More retail supply chain trends

A report, created by the UK’s leading retail supply chain compliance specialist, Altius, is now available to download. The report, Retail 2020: A future insight of trends that will affect facility and property management, features other key retail trends that are set to affect supply chain professionals across the UK and beyond.

To read more from key retail researchers on the state of the industry in 2020, download our free report today.

How will change in the retail industry affect you in 2020? Download report

Five benefits of investing in contractor management software

Altius Exigo - Contractor Management Software

Contractor management software is a brilliant way of managing supply chain compliance. Far from the approach of using a dated spreadsheet to manage suppliers, smart software frees up your time, keeps processes transparent and ensures you keep control of your supply chain.

Here we look at six key benefits that you can take advantage of by investing in contractor management software.

1 – Take control

Unlike standard spreadsheets and questionnaires, some software solutions allow you to formulate your company’s requirements and convey these quickly and easily to your suppliers. Introducing requirement changes, for example, is done in a controlled manner, rather than manually checking and approving the newly signed documents for every supplier.


2 – More transparency

Understanding your requirements and communicating these to your suppliers is hard enough without factoring in changes to requirements. Through some software solutions, you and your suppliers can work collaboratively, ensuring mutual understanding at all times of what is required.


3 – Better protection

When things go wrong, you need to be in a position to say why and how they went wrong. Contractor management software can allow you to track everything automatically. Look out for solutions with built-in audit trails enabling you to see the exact status of a supplier from any previous point in time.


4 – Greater efficiency

Managing, assessing and keeping on top of your supply chain’s compliance can be very time consuming. Software solutions can release you from the day-to-day managing of the compliance of your suppliers.


5 – Enhanced visibility

Accessing accurate information and up-to-date reporting can be difficult without the right tools. Some software solutions provide a real-time view of compliance, enabling you to check the current and past status of any supplier at any time.


Solution from the world leaders

Altius, the world leaders in supply chain compliance, have launched their Exigo system – designed to specifically manage compliance across the supply chain, providing a real-time, collaborative solution that will scale with your business.

With automated processes and workflows, real-time status tracking and reporting, and ready-made templates to gather supplier information on health and safety, CSR, etc. Exigo can be your complete contractor management software.

Other features

Find out more about Altius Exigo today.


Five skills required by modern retail supply chain professionals in 2020

Confidence in supply chain competencies in the future is set to drop to an all-time low, according to Deloitte’s latest report, Supply Chain Talent of the Future.

While 87% of supply chain leaders are confident that their organisation has the competencies required to meet demands of the job, this figure dropped to 77% when leaders were asked about their confidence in five years’ time.

Combined with all survey respondents, confidence levels in supply chain talent in five years’ time dropped even further to just 44%. Deloitte’s report was quick to point out the role that technology is set to play in the industry, hence the reason for the decline in confidence.

“The coming years will likely be one of those eras of dramatic transformation thanks to a combination of accelerating technology development and widespread experimentation with new operating models.”

The retail industry faces more change than most industries, but what can modern retail supply chain professionals do to get ahead and increase confidence amongst their leaders and peers?

Amidst the technological boom, here we look at just five skills required by supply chain professionals, as identified by Deloitte’s report.


1 – Strategic thinking and problem solving

74% of respondents believe strategic thinking and problem-solving will become one of the key skills required in five years’ time. Supply chain models will be under experimentation and professionals will need to study the ‘bigger picture’ in order to meet the wider demands of the company.


2 – Ability to communicate and collaborate

While 68% of respondents said the ‘ability to collaborate across functions’ will be one of a number on skills required by supply chain professionals, 65% said the ability to persuade and communicate effectively is required too. Whether they are speaking to teams internally or suppliers on a strategic level, communication is a paramount tool to keep the company ticking over.


3 – Leading and developing others

It is no real surprise to see that leading and developing others is still an important skill required. 66% believe this will be an important skill to have in the future, which reflects a growth in its importance compared to only 41% in the current climate. Any failures to develop the next generation, of course, effects the future supply chain excellence – this is much the same position that the industry faces now.


4 – Manage global teams

Respondents believed there would be a 23% increase in demand for supply chain professionals to manage global teams. This also extends to virtual teams who may be working from home, but still have a critical role to play in the supply chain function.

As a good starting point, current ‘supply chain leaders’ have already revealed in the report that they facilitate virtual workplace practices (37%) – making the transition to working with a global and remote team, a lot easier to do.


5 – Negotiate with value chain partners

While the ability to negotiate and collaborate with value chain partners now is seen as the most important competency by respondents (51%), this will not be the most important in five years’ time. While technology will provide professionals with the data required to drive better value, this leaves them in a position to be more strategic, as well as focus on generating the talent.


Are you prepared for other changes?

The supply chain talent pool and skills required aren’t the only changes that are set to occur in the industry. The retail industry is set to see dramatic change as consumers push for greater customisation, brand transparency and entertainment.

To read more about these trends, download our free guide, Retail 2020: A future insight of trends that will affect facility and property management.

How will change in the retail industry affect you in 2020? Download report

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