On the latest Assurance in Action podcast, our colleagues at GTS, Richard Cox, European Commercial Director and Charlotte Houchin, Global Key Account Manager, discuss supply chain management in international trade. Join them as they explain an overview of their work, the challenges and risks in the industry, and what GTS is doing to help.
Seth Martin-Wick (00:11)
Hello and welcome. You are listening to Assurance in Action, the Intertek podcast which discusses key assurance trends and topics. Our episode today features two of my colleagues from our government and trade services team, Richard Cox who is the European Commercial Director and Charlotte Houchin, who is the Global Key Account Manager. Our topic today is on supply chain management and international trade, so I would like to welcome our friends Richard and Charlotte to kick off the discussion.
Richard Cox (00:42)
Okay. Hi everyone. My name is Richard Cox and I'm based in the UK and I'm the European Commercial Director for Intertek Government Trade Services and I'm joined on this special podcast with Charlotte Houchin who is Global Key Account Manager for Government Trade Services.
Charlotte Houchin (01:05)
Hi everyone. We are trade compliance specialists at Intertek Government and Trade Services. Welcome to our special podcast aimed at discussing our solutions to supply chain risk management available within the industry. Entities involved in international trade such as exporters, importers, retailers and manufacturers alike, are concerned about their supply chain management and the risks involved and how this impacts on their business and brand. You need to be able to trust that the goods you're trading not only reach their intended market swiftly and efficiently, but also meet the quality standards you demand. But how can you do that, particularly now when travel to meet and verify new suppliers is not so easy?
Richard Cox (01:51)
Well, that's a pretty interesting question, Charlotte. Whilst the global trade environment has historically been complex and challenging, over the last past two years the pressures on supply chains has increased and businesses have become acutely aware of where these pressures lie. And trade participants, including exporters importers, many retailers, manufacturers and various financial institutions, are becoming ever more concerned about supply chain management and the risks involved and how this impacts their business. Supplier diversification is certainly one way to mitigate concentration of supply chain risk.
Charlotte Houchin (02:39)
Are there not, however, significant challenges associated with working with new international suppliers, especially when they're operating in unfamiliar countries or regions?
Richard Cox (02:49)
Well, yes, you need to be really able to trust that the goods being traded not only reach their intended market swiftly and efficiently, but also meet the quality standards not only for you, but also your clients demands. But there are solutions in the market that you can use to do this, from technology to partnerships with businesses that are actually experts in this area, effectively acting as your eyes and ears in the market.
Charlotte Houchin (03:19)
Okay, so what stages of verification would you suggest businesses look at to be sure of the suppliers they're considering?
Richard Cox (03:27)
I'd consider firstly checking that they are actually a genuine and legitimate business by validating the legal and trading entity, as well as checking if they are ISO 9001 certified, which is the internationally recognized quality management system QMS standard, and then probably validating the supplier or manufacturer's sites to verify that the facility meets all the required standards and legal requirements. And you should also validate the production process to maintain quality control and ensure that the products being produced meet the standards required and your high quality standards that you put in place and in turn, reduce the amount of reworks needed and rejections. And I would then recommend a number of things prior to shipping these products, including labeling checks. Right language, are they in the right language? Are they the right sizes as well as quantity checks to remedy any issues before your goods actually leave the country, which will minimize delays and potential disputes with new manufacturers or suppliers.
Charlotte Houchin (04:40)
Okay. Once the products are manufactured, how confident can buyers be that those products will arrive in good condition? If you can't supervise shipping, et cetera, what can they do to mitigate that risk?
Richard Cox (04:52)
Well, the goods handling process is an important factor from how containers are loaded and unloaded, but also making sure that the necessary documentation is available. There are suppliers who specialize in this carrying out inspections to ensure that correct goods handling procedures are actually in place. Put in place, and they did, too.
Charlotte Houchin (05:14)
Businesses want to trade with confidence is integral to support them in mitigating all the risks that we've highlighted today.
Richard Cox (05:23)
Yes, absolutely. Of course, yes. Because of the international trade expertise that we have and our global reach, we're in over 100 countries with over 1000 facilities. We've developed a comprehensive portfolio of pre shipment solutions to support businesses involved in international trade. And we have on the ground support to mitigate risks in your supply chain. Trade Able provides trade support and expertise by delivering a comprehensive portfolio of pre shipment solutions to help with securing your imports and to support trade facilitation. And now there are solutions to support risk mitigation across the entire supply chain. And we can tailor any package to meet specific requirements, including a broader assurance support if needed.
Charlotte Houchin (06:15)
Thanks, Richard. And where would our listeners be able to go to find out more about TradeAble?
Richard Cox (06:21)
You can find more about TradeAble on our website, Intertek.com/tradeable, but we can also invite you to learn more about the different stages of supply chain verification in a new episode of this podcast series coming very soon. And I just like to thank you for your listening and I hope to see you soon.
Charlotte Houchin (06:44)
Thanks, Richard. Thanks, everyone. Goodbye.
Seth Martin-Wick (06:48)
Thank you for listening to another episode of Assurance in action. For more episodes, please give us a follow wherever you listen to podcasts and we are also on Twitter and LinkedIn, links to which will be in the description of this podcast. Thank you for listening.