Factory audits play an important role in successful production. Such assessments are needed to identify challenges and solutions to existing problems within the supply chain sector. Here at ODM, we provide training on Sedex Audit Processes as well as QC & factory audits at Chinese factories as a core part of our service. The below photo was taken at a Sedex Training for new B members, which the ODM team attended in Shenzhen China.
What is Sedex?
Sedex stands for Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. It is a non-profit organization with a very strong market presence in the UK. Companies who wish to address ethical and responsible supply chain issues in their supply chain. Their web-based database enables suppliers to share ethical data, such as ethical audit reports, with their customers. Likewise, customers can keep track of their suppliers and view the ethical reports shared with them.
SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) was developed by the Sedex Associate Auditor Group. Two key purposes of this Sedex audit are transparency and sustainable improvement.
There are two types of audit under SMETA- 2 pillar audit and 4 pillar audit. The 2 pillar audit comprises of labour standards and health & safety. It has requirements for the environment, but this is based on the law of the country. The 4 pillar audit comprises of an additional two areas: environment and business integrity. Factories are to select their audit type based on client’s request.
This Sedex audit has 5 steps in its process:
- Opening meeting
- Document review, factory tour, management interview
- Employee interview
- Pre-closing meeting
- Closing meeting
During the audit process, communication between all parties is important. Good communication will allow the audit to be carried out smoothly. All the reviews and interviews also should be adhered to as they are part of the factory being transparent. Only when a factory is transparent can they be better advised on how to improve.
Audit standards can be based on local law and regulations, ETI base code or any special requirements by the client.
The SMETA Sedex audit content comprises of 14 codes:
- Management systems and code implementation
- Forced labour
- Freedom of association
- Health and safety
- Child labour and young workers
- Wages and benefits
- Working hours
- Regular employment
- Sub-contracting and homeworkers
- Entitlement to work, migrant and agency worker
- Environment – 2 pillar/4pillar audit
- Business practices – 4 pillar audit
Importance of ethics/ethical sourcing while doing business
It is important for a factory to be ethical. Being ethical means that a factory can comply with all the local labour laws and regulations. It also means that workers are in a healthy and safe environment. With an increased focus on human and worker rights, it is important to ensure factories maintain these ethical standards. Not only does an ethical factory have a higher ability to produce better goods, consumers feel safer purchasing goods from ethical factories. There is a sedex compliance audit checklist which must be completed in order to reach ethical standards of work.
ODM strongly feels that ethics is very important while doing business. Working with ethical factories is important to us. Not only does working with ethical factories allow us to be accountable to our customers, it also allows us to be accountable to society at large.
This training was conducted by SMT Global, a private audit company licensed by Sedex to provide training for new B members.
How can ODM help you?
We also are experienced in designing and manufacturing various promotional items, such as POS displays, gift with purchase items, etc. Enquire @ ODM for more ways and explanation on how you can vastly improve your business. Our product designers will be able to provide you with multiple unique and interesting ideas for you to wow your audience and increase brand recognition. The specialists here is capable of assisting you throughout every process to ensure a pleasant experience. Contact ODM now!
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Why should my brand source for a factory with ethical standards?
Human and worker rights is an increasing concern for consumers, therefore it increases their confidence and trust in the brand. It also encourages better quality of products and encourages the use of sustainable materials. The products manufactured for the brand becomes more consistent when the factory is able to operate in an ethically established standard.
How do I determine if the factory complies with the ethical requirements of my brand?
The ODM Group conduct factory visits and quality checks at our factories during the manufacturing process to ensure that the production phase complies with the client’s request.
Who can benefit from Sedex Audit services?
Sedex provides guidance for auditors, buyers and also suppliers on how to practice ethical auditing. In general, it is an auditing methodology that is useful for everyone that participates in a supply-chain environment.