Supply Chain Stories

Factory Monitoring

June 29, 2021

When you consider the phrase “factory monitoring,” there may be a certain element of mystery to it. How does it work, you may be wondering, and what does it accomplish? It’s worth unraveling this mystery – the process of measuring and improving factory performance enables us to change the world for the better. Apparel manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, decorators and end users all benefit from this process.

This is how we can ensure that all SanMar products are manufactured according to our responsible sourcing standards. For this reason, all of the suppliers and factories SanMar works with are required to participate in SanMar’s Factory Monitoring Program.

Through this program, SanMar sets clear standards and helps us find suppliers who share our values, demonstrate respect for human rights, provide safe and healthy working conditions for employees, and who are stewards of the environment. These standards are met by measuring factory performance and identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.

The program benchmarks performance against SanMar’s Global Operating Principles (GOP), our code of conduct, which is based on the Fair Labor Association (FLA) base code, and core International Labour Standards. Our Factory Monitoring Manual sets out the standards we expect our suppliers to meet, as well as a comprehensive monitoring program to support suppliers in working toward meeting these standards.

We recognize that issues can be systemic and require long-term, sustainable improvements to address root causes and drive change. We don’t treat this as a checklist and know that there isn’t always a quick fix. Instead, we are committed to a process of working with suppliers over time in the belief that our collective effort will lead to significant and impactful results.

Started in 2007, our Factory Monitoring Program reaches 75,000 workers in 115 sites located in 20 countries.

Measuring Performance

Measuring Performance and Continuous Improvement

All the factories manufacturing our private labels and licensee products complete a self-assessment social and security questionnaire during onboarding and every two years after that. We also carry out third-party social and security assessments at our factory sites periodically, based on our internal risk assessment.

All of the Tier 1 factories producing SanMar’s private labels and licensee products have completed their Self-Assessment Questionnaire and are audited prior to placing orders. Factories are then audited periodically. In the 2019-2020 audit cycle, 95% of these factories have been audited by our third-party auditing firm.

Continuous Improvement

Our factory monitoring team works closely with all our suppliers and factories to support continuous improvement and uses audit findings to identify recurring non-compliance and trends.

We believe that workers’ voices can be used as a strong tool to continuously drive improvement at the factory and to have a stable and satisfied work force, so we provide social compliance training at all of our factories. This includes e-learning lessons on worker communication, consultation and participation.   

Supply chains are becoming increasingly long and complex, and the challenges we associate with them are growing as well. With this in mind, building strong supplier relations based on trust and transparency is key to achieving long-term and sustainable improvements to working conditions in the supply base.

Measuring and driving continuous improvements in our global supply chain is a shared responsibility between us and our suppliers. This is factory monitoring in a nutshell, and we’re very excited about the ways it’s enabling us to change our business for the better.

2020
CR Report