How information technology can help create responsible and sustainable cosmetics supply chains

By Anne Himeno | October 25, 2016

The number of issues that are present in today’s cosmetics and personal care supply chains are many. Think of securing sufficient and sustainable supply, fighting fraud, compliance with laws and regulations, labour conditions or environmental impacts to name a few. Consumers are also getting more and more aware of these issues and demand change. This puts cosmetics and personal care companies under increasingly pressure to act.

Because there are many natural and synthetic ingredients used in cosmetics, the number of supply chains where action is needed is also substantial. In order to effectively manage change, data needs to be collected and analysed across all these supply chains and their stakeholders. Using Excel will work up to a certain level. But once the amount of data, the complexity of data and the frequency of updates increases, Excel will very fast become too cumbersome to work with. A specialized database solution will be needed, that can handle the data and efficiently store it for later analysis.

Phased data collection approach

In order to create sustainable supply chains, you first need to know what you want to measure. Often companies start with wanting to measure too much in one time, running the risk that the focus on what is truly important gets lost. It  is therefore recommended to plan multiple phases to gradually increase the amount of data and information collected.

As soon as you know what you want to measure, you need to see where this data is available. In your supply chains, multiple stakeholders are present and at each node in the supply chains, data is present. Sometimes it is within ERP systems, usually in the case of large companies, but the further upstream you go the likelier it is that your supply chain data will be available on paper, or in Excel if you are lucky.

A specialized database solution will need to be able to handle all these sources of data. Using interfaces, upload functions or manual data capture options, including mobile apps, data can be captured and added to the database. This is also the case for data that was not available before.

Once all data is in place, you can start making sense of it by analyzing it using advanced analytics software. Visual maps, charts, graphs create more insight into the data. Thresholds can be defined, which trigger alerts enabling you to focus on the exceptions and non-conformities.


About ChainPoint

ChainPoint helps cosmetics companies to connect their supply chains and make them more visible and transparent. Using advanced web-based software, we connect all stakeholders and data sources in a supply chain and bring them into a secure online platform, enabling full visibility and traceability. This enables cosmetics brand owners and producers know exactly the impact they have in a supply chain and can act accordingly. Corrective measures and improvement programmes can be managed using the information gathered across the supply chain to fully mitigate risks, improve sustainability and seize new opportunities.

Cosmetics Solution Paper

In our latest solution paper we have highlighted the challenges and how ChainPoint’s technology can help solve them. Please download this complimentary report using the button below.Download our cosmetics solution paper


Posted in cosmetics, sustainable sourcing, responsible sourcing

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