Katie Shaw, Chief Programme Officer, Open Supply Hub
Data is the Holy Grail in the supply chain nowadays. However, gathering it and making sure it’s reliable and accessible is a huge problem for the industry. Could an open registry be the answer? We spoke to Katie Shaw, Chief Programme Officer at Open Supply Hub, about how opening up supply chain data that is typically siloed can encourage more effective and efficient collaboration across entire sectors
What is Open Supply Hub and who is it going to benefit from it?
Open Supply Hub will exist to open up global supply chain data for the benefit of all, and it will serve entire sectors. That means that all stakeholders within a sector will be able make use of the tool and its datal, whether they’re a major global company or retailer, a civil society organisation, a factory group, a certification or another supply chain stakeholder.
Our particular focus is on the electronics, consumer packaged goods, sporting goods, beauty, furniture and apparel sectors.
We will be mapping facilities in those sectors around the world and allocating a unique ID to each. By opening up this data, which has historically been locked away, we’ll enable improved insights about production facilities.Any organisation that is looking to work collaboratively within global supply chains will be able to make use of that data so that they can more efficiently and effectively collaborate across a range of different initiatives. For example, companies can disclose their supplier lists and in doing so, showcase their commitment to transparency and simultaneously they can improve insights about facilities in their supply chains.
What type of data are you going to collect?
At a basic level, what we need in order to create an entity within Open Supply Hub is the name and the address of a facility. Supply chain data is complex and messy and even data as basic as name and address information is notoriously poor across global supply chains. Every single line of data in the platform will be run through our duplication algorithm, Dedupe, to eliminate duplicate entries within the database and, over time, improve the quality of the data
There are additional data points that can be contributed to each facility in the database, such as the parent company for that facility, number of workers, type of product, type of processing and type of facility. However, these are optional – the only mandatory information we need to be able to create an entry in the database is the name and address of a facility
Are you going to rely on the facilities themselves or collect the data from third parties?
Data will come into the tool via contributions from organisations across the various different sectors mentioned above. What that looks like in practice is companies and retailers, certification schemes, multi-stakeholder initiatives and the factory groups themselves contributing data about their supply chains into this open data and open source hub.
A user will then be able to see who the contributor of data is for each facility. That will enable a better understanding of which organisations are connected to different facilities around the world, which helps organisations collaborate more effectively and efficiently on programmes at the facility level, whether that’s social or environmental improvement initiatives.
How do you ensure that what you receive is actually true and is up to date?
Given the sheer number of production facilities around the world, a door-to-door, in person verification process for a facility that comes into the registry t would be an enormous task to undertake and virtually impossible to deliver at scale in a timely manner. Instead, we use an open disclosure mechanism. Through multiple contributions of these different facilities, which are processed and matched by our deduplication algorithm, the quality of data will improve over time. In turn, users can make use of the data in the tool to inform their own supply chain mapping exercises. The potential to work with this data is huge – improved ESG reporting, identifying risks in the supply chain – the possibilities are endless.
Learn more about Open Supply Hub in the video interview now. If you’d like to participate in the beta-phase or would like more information, visit OpenSupplyHub.org.