Showcasing Supply Chains

A few years ago, Nike paid the price for the bad labor and human rights practices of its suppliers.  Now it's Apple's turn in the penalty box.

In stark contrast, McDonald’s has put its suppliers front-and-center in a series of heartwarming new ads.  McDonald’s put faces, names, and voices to these folks.  Frank Martinez, potato supplier. (pictured below)  Dirk Giannini, lettuce supplier.  Steve Fogelsong, beef supplier.


Pictured in their fields, on horseback, or perched atop piles of produce, McDonald’s has brought these hearty men into the limelight.  The ads are rich with subtle signaling.  Fogelsong's cowboy hat: we're part of preserving the American cowboy tradition.  Martinez's accent: we use minority-owned suppliers. Gianni's family story: we support the family farmer -- not just big agri-business.  


Don't get me wrong.  I love these ads.  They show how you can turn your supply chain into a brand asset.  I'm also not naive. McDonald’s has had its share of supply chain issues.  But these ads show what you can do when you're not afraid to shine a light on your supply chain.  McDonald’s has invited us behind the curtain in the hopes that we’ll like what we see.


Earlier this year, CROA together with the American Society for Quality and the Institute for Supply Management with help from Deloitte, launched what will become one of – if not the – largest, most comprehensive study into sustainable supply chain practices. Entitled The Sustainable Value Chain the study seeks to identify which management practices deliver the greatest value both in sustainability outcomes and ROI. The study includes an annual electronic survey and live interviews with supply chain executives from both the private and public sectors. 
The study will look up- as well as down-stream from extraction to reuse/recycle/disposal. It will also look longitudinally across multiple years. Ultimately we will develop a series of “do this not that” recommendations that will guide decision-makers in how they structure, operate, and measure their sustainable value chains.
To read more about the study, click here. To participate, click here.
Preliminary results from the first round of electronic surveys will be presented at the ASQ World Conference May 21-23. Final results for 2012 will be presented at the COMMIT!Forum October 2-3. I hope you will share your insights by participating in the study and join us for the results.
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