Untangling the Supply Chain
Untangling the Supply Chain
CAMPAIGN: Environmental and Social Responsibility
Although industries like to imagine their supply chains as neat and orderly organization charts, the reality is that more often they are tangled, fluid, and full of potential for the unexpected. Many companies have been impacted by a negative event, only to discover that it occurred at a sub-tier company that they were not even aware was part of their supply chain.
One way FCA US, a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies, addresses this uncertainty is through our Supplier Sustainability Panel. This forum was created several years ago to engage a cross section of suppliers, chosen to represent all commodity groups, company sizes, and varying levels of expertise in sustainability. The Panel addresses current and emerging issues, shares best practices and develops messaging and solutions that can be modeled and then disbursed throughout the FCA US supply base. The influence of this work is multiplied across the automotive supply chain due to the considerable overlap of suppliers among automakers.
“As one of AIAG’s founding partners, FCA US embraces the spirit of our mission, to streamline and harmonize business practices within the supply chain, and is one of the first automakers to implement a Supplier Sustainability Panel as a way to open two-way dialogue with its suppliers,” said Tanya Bolden, Director for Corporate Responsibility for Product and Services at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). “We value collaboration with our internal and external industry stakeholders, as it is through these engagements that we identify issues and share sustainable best practices.”
A key focus of the Panel since its inception has been to instill the message that operating responsibly and sustainably is good for suppliers’ business, an approach that benefits every tier. The immediate customer of each tier in the supply chain is often the one best positioned to influence their supplier toward the adoption of sustainable operating principles. The Panel helps FCA US reach through the many layers of the supply chain to communicate the value of operating responsibly and sustainably.
A particular strength of the Panel is that it provides experts for our peer-to-peer mentoring program. Under the program, suppliers can ask for help with sustainability issues such as creating a supplier code of conduct or teaching employees about sustainability.
“The success stories freely shared within the Supplier Sustainability Panel can often be replicated or serve as a starting point for initiatives that work for us or our suppliers,” said Doug Andrews, Manager of Environmental Health & Safety and Sustainability at Lear Corporation, an FCA US supplier. “That willingness of companies to offer ideas or concerns is key. This is not about proprietary information; it’s about using our presence in industry to make the world a better place.”
In 2016 we changed the structure of the Supplier Sustainability Panel to expand its influence and potential impact by incorporating it into the FCA US Supplier Advisory Council. This forum includes the most senior executives from approximately 20 key suppliers, who meet regularly to address strategic issues.
Engagement is strengthened due to the senior-level participation of the Council, which helps to foster top-down endorsement. It also demonstrates the increasing integration of sustainability into our core business, rather than as a standalone initiative. The change also creates a focused sustainability network for the member companies in which their sustainability experts can connect with industry peers.
Todd Yaney is part of the sustainability team for FCA US, a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. His responsibility includes supply chain sustainability, which allows him to work closely with suppliers who range from expert level in sustainability to those who are just starting to learn its value in their operations. Closing that gap presents challenges and rewards unique in his 30 years with the company, most of which has been spent engaging with suppliers.
For more information on our supply chain transparency, please visit http://reports.fcagroup.com/sustainability/2015/our-stakeholders/suppliers/supplier-management#start