Product and Supply
Our suppliers are based in the US and Canada for the North American business, and in the UK and EU for the UK and Ireland business. Therefore, our supply base is essentially domestic, with our suppliers taking care of the importing/manufacture, inventory management and printing capabilities required to ship thousands of orders on a daily basis.
We are acutely aware, however, that our end-to-end supply chain is a long and complex one that extends far beyond our domestic supply partners to the manufacturers of the base product across the globe. As such, our business activities can have a significant impact at many levels. Our intention is to make that impact positive from a social, economic and environmental perspective.
To set the tone, the Board has developed, approved and issued a social and ethical policy. The purpose of this policy is to set broad guidelines within which the Group should conduct its business operations in accordance with best practice and in compliance with relevant legislation such as the Modern Slavery Act. The policy addresses such issues as working hours, wages, discrimination, collective bargaining, health & safety and child labour.
These broad principles are reinforced in our “4imprint Supply Chain Code of Conduct”. This is based on the International Labour Organization’s “Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work” and the Fair Labor Association’s (FLA) “Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing”. The 4imprint Supply Chain Code of Conduct was updated during 2017 to be fully aligned with the FLA’s Workplace Code of Conduct including the new code element on Fair Compensation. 4imprint team members are actively involved in the FLA’s activities.
At the operational level, this means that 4imprint’s goal is to work with suppliers who are diligent in managing their sourcing practices and selecting manufacturing facilities, who commit to ensuring safe working environments where employees are adequately compensated and who are able to develop the necessary manufacturing, design and quality capabilities. These ethical sourcing expectations are communicated and reviewed through our document “4imprint’s Expectations of Supplier Factory & Product Compliance”, signature of which reaffirms the supplier’s commitment to these principles within their own organisation and supply base. In addition, 4imprint representatives are actively involved in our US trade association, Promotional Product Association International, in particular with its leadership and training programme in supply chain management.
In support of our supply chain expectations, our product sourcing professionals schedule regular visits to both domestic supplier facilities and to the overseas factories where the base product is manufactured. In addition, we conduct a programme of independent audits of overseas manufacturing facilities in conjunction with our key suppliers. Our preference is to work with suppliers and manufacturers on areas of concern and to develop a corrective action plan, although ultimately business would be re-sourced if compliance is not achieved.
Underpinning all of our product supply efforts is our aim to match remarkable customer service with great products that meet functional, environmental and safety standards in each market of distribution. Our internal supply chain compliance team works to stay abreast of current and developing standards, as set by the regulatory bodies, and liaises with our supplier partners to manage and validate product testing and other quality assurance procedures.