One of the most critical elements that impacts the level of service we provide as a relocation management company (RMC) is how our global supply chain functions. Tracey Gatlin, vice president of global supply chain at Plus provides us with her reflections on integrity, fraud and minimizing risk within the supply chain.

I passed this article along to her for her thoughts and Tracey replied with the following.

In supply chain management, you develop and nurture partner relationships. You often create a personal connection with the individuals who represent your partners. In discussing last quarter’s performance review, you discover that you like the same Sci-Fi movie genre or you went to the same middle school, but never knew one another!

But, as is stated in this article, you need to know whom to trust. Like any relationship, you work to establish a level of trust with your partner and their representatives. Williams quotes Vito Giovingo, a former risk advisory consultant, who states, “It is a case of not trusting blindly, but you also don’t want to presume everyone is a bad actor.”

Anyone can be fooled from time to time but knowing how to identify “fraud” in a supply chain is key. As the article suggests, fraud comes in many forms. Using an assessment tool is one broad way to measure your risk vulnerability, but an assessment may not always capture where you may truly be at risk.

In relocation, some fraud may be harder to identify. Perhaps, you were led to believe a partner has their own temporary housing inventory, but then discover they are actually using the inventory of other temporary housing providers. What about a partner who is knowingly providing inaccurate data in their reporting to show a lower than actual household goods claim ratio? Are these situations implications of fraud?

Ensuring that everything that can be done to protect the integrity of your supply chain and maintain compliancy means doing all the best practices stated in Williams’ article, but I find the most important is that your entire organization must have the same viewpoint. Williams cites Katie Hausfield, J.D., Compliance has to be enforced from the top down. It is understandable that a company will want to push its business to grow, but you have to do it ethically and in the right way.

I’ve always felt that as a supply chain professional, I need to know that I have the support of my leadership to uphold the company’s and our clients’ ethical standards. More importantly, I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror each day and know that I upheld my own integrity.