Just Style Interview with Dr. Marsha Dickson: Can Supplier Ratings Reform Apparel Purchasing Practices?


Can supplier ratings reform apparel purchasing practices?

A new initiative has been launched to try to improve the purchasing practices of apparel retailers and shared publicly.

The idea is that sharing this information and increased use of temporary labour.

While Better Buying<sup><span style=”font-size:10px;”>TM</sup> is still in its feasibility stage, testing of the data input and the initiative is expected to become fully operational next year.

“The purchasing practices of brand quick production continue,” explains Marsha Dickson, Irma Ayers Professor of Human Services at the University of Delaware, who co-leads Better Buying.

“By providing a way for suppliers to safely voice a wide range of concerns and retailers as they consider ways to transform their business practices in support of human rights in their supply chains.”

The scheme will collect suppliers’ anonymous ratings of brand scored to identify those buyers who perform best.

Suppliers will be asked to rate across different parameters, ranging from whether adequate time has been allowed for production, the extent that actual orders vary from capacity booked, and terms have been met. They will also be asked to rate the quality of the relationship they have with their buyers.

Sharing this information on a public platform will also allow buyers to post details about the work they are doing to improve purchasing practices and to respond to their ratings.

“Better Buying<sup><span style=”font-size:10px;”>TM</sup> will provide more detailed information for brand retailers on a broader set of purchasing practice issues than has commonly been available in the past,” says Doug Cahn, principal of The Cahn Group, who co-leads Better Buying.

A long-time professional in the field of labour and better protections for workers.”

The initiative began in August 2015 with background research on purchasing practices and Vietnam.

A survey of suppliers was used to narrow down potential measures of purchasing practices that would be most important for business success and that have readily available data that suppliers would be willing to provide in rating buyers’ purchasing practices.

A multi-stakeholder workshop held earlier this month in Geneva identified refinements that can improve the value of Better Buying<sup><span style=”font-size:10px;”>TM</sup> for all stakeholders – and scoring data will begin this summer.

“Ratings systems are becoming increasingly important to socially responsible investment firms and has the potential to make a significant impact.”

Seed funds have been provided by C&A Foundation, while Fair Factories Clearinghouse is the technology partner for the initiative.