UK footwear brand Hotter to illustrate the commercial benefits from supply chain traceability at next week’s Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference

UK footwear brand Hotter to illustrate the commercial benefits from supply chain traceability at next week’s Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference

UK footwear brand Hotter to explain how commercial benefits have been achieved through supply chain traceability

Robert Perkins, Group Managing Director of UK footwear brand Hotter will be presenting how supply chain traceability has led to commercial benefits at the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018 taking place in central London on 15th November, next week – Sponsored by Stahl.

 

View the Conference Agenda

Only 8 Days Left to Register

 

Eurofins | BLC sat down with Robert to ask what the key benefits to traceability were for this UK-based brand with a global market;

 

What were the drivers for focusing on traceability within your supply chain?

There are two primary drivers:

Firstly compliance; in the broadest sense of the word, compliance protects the reputation of the Brand. Brands need to know whether they are compliant with environmental and social legislation globally and we need a mechanism to ensure reported compliance is true. Supply Chain Mapping has introduced a lot more rigour into our compliance program.

As both a brand and a manufacturer, we need to be confident about the materials we use. Due to the manufacturing part of the business we have a much greater interest in the raw materials, not just the finished shoe. In our use of robotics and PU moulding for example we need high levels of control over contaminants and substances.

Secondly commercial benefits; we work with a number of partners making key raw materials such as leathers or textiles. Hotter has always specified all major materials, but not necessarily the other supporting materials such as threads or interlinings. Now by using Supply Chain Mapping, we know where these supporting materials are coming from, meaning we can negotiate directly with one thread manufacturer for example, to supply all the threads. Supply Chain Mapping assists us with standardisation, quality control, consistency of fit and price negotiation. 

 

 

 

What additional benefits have you seen from Supply Chain Mapping that you didn’t necessarily expect?

We wanted to rationalise our supply chain as a way of getting more purchasing clout. As a business we look to punch above our weight and one way to achieve this is through larger purchasing volumes from fewer suppliers. What we didn’t at first realise was that the commercial rationalisation process would be beneficial beyond Tier one suppliers into Tier two and three. As the market becomes more international, the agility of the supply chain becomes ever more important.

We have also been able to use mapping to identify where there are common sub-suppliers to our primary suppliers. This knowledge has allowed us to get better strategic purchasing and further agility within the supply chain.

 

How did you overcome the challenge of suppliers not wanting to share information with you as part of the mapping exercise?

We evaluated our existing Tier 1 suppliers within different categories and picked several that we identified to be the best or could provide us with the volumes that we needed. We then approached them with the mapping project explaining that more work would come their way through engaging with the project and that failure to comply would risk in them being dropped from our vendor list; a carrot and stick approach.

We also explained to our suppliers that Hotter are trying to be a good citizen, that we felt that they were good suppliers and providing they could demonstrate compliance to legislation they would have nothing to worry about. 

Finally, we signed an agreement with our suppliers not to share their information.

 

What do you see your biggest sustainability risk to be?

Our biggest risk would be damage to the brand, through for example the inadvertent use of restricted chemicals from suppliers that are distant to us and that we don’t have full visibility over. There can be supply chain interactions that are further up the supply chain and remote that we may not fully understand. Supply chains are not static and the potential for future compliance failures is significant.

Supply Chain Mapping has identified some countries that Hotter are comfortable sourcing from, for example where we have an existing presence, where there is a strategic importance, and where we have invested. We also identified a small number of countries with a high compliance risk and have started to move away from them.

We need to know the countries and regions that we are sourcing from and to understand the local risks involved. We aim to match the compliance risk with sufficient commercial influence to ensure we satisfy the plethora of regulations. The big risk is not being compliant through ignorance.

 

What are the expectations of your customers around sustainability for Hotter?

Generally, we are targeting over 50’s in the ABC1 social groups. Our customers are typically professionals, well educated, often nearing the end of their careers or retired with traditional family values and high expectations of the brands they use. Our customers would expect Hotter to deliver on their values and use their money in a way that opposes issues such as slavery, pollution, corruption and bribery. There are lots of potential risks, Hotter is working towards making sure our customers are not party to any of these risks.

 

About Hotter

Hotter is the UK’s largest shoe manufacturer, manufacturing around 40% of all shoes made in the UK. The brand are experts in comfort and are a growing, progressive business with global ambitions. Hotter are the only shoe manufacture of scale left in the UK with a fully integrated business model of design, build, supply and sell. Having an agile business located on one site has helped the brand continue to grow through a tough trading environment.

 

Only 8 Days to Secure Your Place – Register Now

To find out more about how to make the commercial benefits of supply chain traceability a reality for your business, attend the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018. The half day conference will be taking place in 8 days on the 15th November in Central London. Join the conversation - Click here to register

Confirmed speakers include Stahl (Event Sponsor), Hotter, Modern Meadow, ZDHC, M&S, Eurofins | BLC, Chem-MAP and The Sauer Report.

 

View the Conference Agenda

7 November 2018

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