Adherence to strong ethics and governance practices is critical in the creation of resilient supply chain structures that can withstand global crises and deliver on set goals.
This was revealed during a stakeholder engagement forum for Supply Chain professionals in Kenya that organized by the financial services firm Liaison Group.
It also emerged that weak links within the system are always created during times of uncertainty, creating the perfect ground for illicit practices such as corruption.
Liaison Group Managing Director Tom Mulwa noted that supply chain management has in the recent past emerged as one of the greatest challenges to operating as a responsible business in Kenya.
It is for this reason that the government has continually focused on Supply Chain professionals in an effort to create an enabling business operating environment.
“We acknowledge the challenging environment that Supply Chain professionals continue to face in their day-to-day operations. Our goal is to bring on board all the relevant stakeholders so that we can create synergies and identify areas that require support. We see a lot of potential in technology, data, capacity building and upskilling that we find necessary in making the supply chain sector more resilient”, Mr Mulwa said.
He added that with increasing importance placed on transparency, consumers look beyond company practices to ensure organizations uphold adequate supply chain ethics.
Whilst supply chain influence and supplier standards have traditionally been recognized as a key part of any meaningful sustainability agenda, it has become an area of increased focus as stakeholders seek to make the sector resilient.
Speakers present noted that investment in transparent digitization has the potential to increase effectiveness, as well as help reduce human error in processes. This also goes a long way in promoting policy coherence and the harmonization of supply chain standards for the benefit of all stakeholders both in government and in the private sector.
“Increasingly, we are witnessing scenarios where the supply chain professionals have become the first target of victimization once a procurement deal has gone sour. However, we need to realize that the entire ecosystem needs to work on a collaborative basis so that the gains we continue to make can be realized for posterity. It is therefore imperative that we support any initiatives that will make the function stronger,” said John Karani, Chairperson of the Council of Kenya Institute of Supplies Management.
Rodney Masaya from TradeMark East Africa noted the evolving needs of the current corporate set-up, organisations expect their supply chain to be ethical to avert any business risks involving unethical conduct.
“Involving oneself in illegal business practices is a reputational risk on its own. The earlier supply chain professionals realize this the better as it has the potential to damage the image of an organization”, he said.
On her part, Dr Nancy Njeru, a healthcare Financing Specialist noted that the supply chain ecosystem represents a vital component in the delivery of specialized services to the common Mwananchi. This calls for strict observance of the laid down regulations to spur confidence in government operations. “We see an opportunity to work together with players in the Supply Chain through legislation and putting in place efficient service delivery channels. It is my belief that this forum will create the necessary pathways towards the realization of this agenda,” Dr Njeru noted.
The forum is part of a series of ongoing forums by Liaison Group to identify areas of convergence and cooperation between various stakeholders to promote shared value and growth.