Protecting Your Outsourced Brand

Garment factory collapse could leave reputations in tatters. Here are seven principles that foreign companies operating in low-cost, outsourced production markets should follow to better protect their reputations:

1. If the workplace health, safety and environmental regulatory framework of your sourcing market is less stringent than in your home country, find suppliers that are prepared to accept your home country’s requirements as their standard;
2. That means you need to undertake thorough due diligence to identify and qualify your partners in your supply chain;
3. Be prepared to pay a premium to ensure your partners can meet the standards demanded by you and your customers back home (it may make producing overseas more expensive but your reputation will remain intact);
4. Publicize what you are doing to improve working and environmental conditions in the market you are sourcing from;
5. Put in place a strong corporate social responsibility program in the country you are sourcing product from to demonstrate your commitment to the local market and to create that shield for your brand in case something goes wrong (remember that Murphy’s Law is always in play);
6. Have a crisis plan, systems and processes in place to deal with a crisis in case it happens (that thing about Murphy’s Law again);
7. Constantly test and improve your crisis plan.

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