Managing Supply Chain Risks through Product Stewardship

Kate Sellers
August 21, 2018
A recent study by a management consultant showed that news of a product hold or stoppage by a customs agency can decrease the stock value of a publicly-traded company by an average of seven percent. That's potentially millions of dollars of lost stock value, in addition to the cost of lost sales and damaged customer relations.

Reducing that risk by effectively managing product stewardship, therefore, allows companies to move products around the globe in a way that is safe for workers, consumers, the environment… and ultimately for business.

One way to do so is to build supply chain resilience. Structural resilience happens when a company establishes safeguards against disruption. That involves proactive work to get out ahead of regulatory requirements and customer perceptions. That program you put in place a few years ago to methodically crank through the country-by-country requirements of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling? That's structural reliance. Functional resilience, on the other hand, results from the ability to recognize and resolve problems. Sometimes that happens on an emergency basis. Far too often, we test our functional resilience when "that call" - you know the sort - comes in from an irate customer on a Friday afternoon.

While the day-to-day tasks of managing product stewardship programs may sometimes feel all-consuming--re-write those Safety Data Sheets, finish the audit, clean up that submittal under the Toxic Substances Control Act--our work is about managing business risks. We make sure that products get to customers safely, reliably, and in compliance with global regulations.

To learn specific strategies for managing supply chain risks through product stewardship, register today for the upcoming NAEM webinar on Aug.27. We'll talk about how to identify and systematically address business risks and reinforce structural resilience in a product stewardship program.


About the Author

Kate Sellers
Kate Sellers is a Vice President and Principal Environmental Engineer with ARCADIS. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Product Stewardship Society and is the author of Product Stewardship: Life Cycle Analysis and the Environment (CRC Press, 2015).

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