Product and Supply
Our direct tier 1 suppliers are based in the USA and Canada for the North American business, and in the UK and EU for the UK/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, however, acutely aware that our end-to-end supply chain is a long and complex one that extends far beyond our domestic supply partners across the globe to the tier 2 manufacturers of the base product and ultimately to tier 3 suppliers of raw materials or components. 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 & Ethical Policy Statement. This policy statement sets broad guidelines within which the Group should conduct its business operations in accordance with best practice, in compliance with relevant legislation and respecting human rights and ethical practices throughout our value chain.
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 is fully aligned with the Fair Labor Association’s Workplace Code of Conduct. 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 tier 1 suppliers who are diligent in managing their sourcing practices and selecting tier 2 manufacturing facilities, and who commit to ensuring safe working environments where employees are adequately compensated and respected. These ethical sourcing expectations are communicated and reviewed through our document ‘4imprint Factory & Product Compliance Expectations’, signature of which reaffirms the supplier’s commitment to these principles within their own organisation and supply base.
Such principles have taken on additional importance and meaning during 2020 as we have worked to ensure that the health and wellness of our suppliers’ employees is appropriately considered before restarting business operations after lockdowns and disruptions.
Although COVID-19 curtailed visits to suppliers and limited auditing opportunities in 2020, the monitoring and development of our supply chain (tiers 1 & 2) continues to form an important part of our business. During 2020 we appointed Elevate as our lead auditing firm for both North America and offshore. We are already utilising their remote auditing program for North American based suppliers. Their expertise and analytics in this space will enable us to raise the reach and quality of our programmes in the years ahead.
We consider that training and education, for our own teams and those of our suppliers, forms an important part of our supplier-focused activities. 4imprint supply chain professionals continue to lead the work of our US trade association (Promotional Products Association International) in supply chain management, driving education and collaboration in our industry’s supplier network.
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.