ASCM launches Enterprise Certification to improve supply chains’ focus on ecology, economics, ethics

The Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM) announced the launch of the ASCM Enterprise Certification, the first-of-its-kind, global cross-industry standards guide to benchmark progress and measure the ethical, environmental and economic initiatives of corporate supply chains.

“More than ever, consumers have a greater sense of making the world a better place. As technology has led to an increased expectation for transparency, consumers have come to expect that out of their supply chains,” said Peter A. Bolstorff, executive vice president of corporate development of ASCM, the group that grew out of APICS last year.

In an ASCM survey of more than 700 supply chain professionals, 83% of respondents reported they consider supply chain ethics either extremely or very important, yet only 31% believe themselves to be responsible for ethical supply chain compliance.

ASCM’s CEO Abe Eshkenazi said in a press release, “The gap between mindset and action causes accountability to fall through the cracks, which can damage an organization’s reputation, affecting its overall bottom line.”

Businesses will run into trouble if they are found breaching the ethical standards they claim to uphold. Living up to ethical standards requires better communication among both leadership and the organization as a whole.

Eshkenazi encourages companies to embrace ethical supply chains not as an obstacle but as an opportunity to grow. Building supply chains that are ethically, environmentally and economically conscious “provides innovative companies with another platform to achieve competitive advantage, grow their market share and make the world better through supply chain — at the same time,” he said.

ASCM said its Enterprise Certification leverages the entire APICS body of knowledge, including the supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model and APICS certifications: CPIM, CSCP and CLTD. The SCOR Framework serves as a model to guide organizations to optimize supply chain performance and improve supply chain processes and management.

Spend Matters’ Chief Research Officer, Pierre Mitchell, said: "I've been familiar with the SCOR model for over two decades and have appreciated how it's been expanded and folded into a more holistic approach to managing supply chains.”

Although there is a deep body of knowledge in total cost management, the focus on socially responsible and sustainable supply chains has historically taken a bit of a back seat, he said.

Mitchell said “I believe enlightened practitioners will find ASCM's diagnostics and guidance regarding responsible and sustainable sourcing to be very valuable and eminently practical, and therefore a solid pillar in a broader supply chain certification program."

The Standards Guide is a three-sectioned checklist helping to strengthen supply chain strategy. Each area of excellence in the guide incorporates relevant references to SCOR metrics and points readers to pages in the Framework document where readers can find more about the metrics.

Section 1 organizes criteria and questions for each stage of the supply chain (Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, Return and Enable) across ethical, environmental and economical dimensions.

Section 2 focuses on criteria and questions for key facilitators, which includes those involved in strategy, governance, workforce, and technology and knowledge management.

Section 3 centers on effective stakeholder engagement, including customers, suppliers, government and community.

The standards guide is available for free download here.

According to the ASCM guide, the early market feedback on the benefits of the ASCM Enterprise Certification include:

  • Serving as an unbiased standard demonstrating corporate commitment and accountability to build a circular economy
  • Providing a competitive advantage as consumers become more educated about “clean supply chains” and technology advances, making the data readily available
  • Addressing the entire spectrum of supplier capability from selection through management
  • Increasing desirability among job candidates who hold high esteem for organizations committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Outside of the certification process, organizations can immediately use the guide as an unbiased tool to assess supplier quality development or selection; help identify gaps within the supply chain to improve upon; and validate or update overall supply chain strategy.

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