In global, multi-tier supply chains, it is challenging for retailers and brands to have full oversight of every stage of production. This is particularly true when factories sub-contract production to other factories, informal facilities or home workers.
Impactt worked with a retailer of woven baskets to map its supply chain and identify who was working in its supply chain, under what conditions. The company also wanted to understand how to mitigate risk to the business while supporting meaningful change in workers’ lives.
In order to map the supply chain effectively, we built trust with the tier 1 supplier and gradually unravelled the story behind how and where the baskets were made. We learnt that the tier 1 supplier was sub-contracting work through middle men, who in turn contracted workers in informal units and home-workers.
We then gathered insights from actors in the supply chain on distribution of work, lead times, pricing, quality and business challenges. This was essential for us to deliver practical recommendations that would meet the needs of our client, its principal supplier and the workers. We also gathered insights directly from home workers on the benefits and risks of their profession. By listening to their concerns, we discovered that while the work provides them with independence and much-needed additional family income, they work long hours for low pay, and have little protection.
The retailer drew on our recommendations and insights to discuss cost price increases with its commercial team. For example, we helped the company to calculate how much more they would have to pay suppliers in order to allow their supplier to raise wages for informal and home-workers.