Effective supply chain management is important to gain a competitive advantage through achieving operating efficiencies, meeting stakeholder expectations, innovation, and compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. Supply chain dependencies and disruption is one of our principal risks which we seek to actively mitigate (read our Principal Risks and Uncertainties on page 35 of our 2018 Annual Report).
Our supplier base is diverse to reflect the operations of our various businesses, which are spread around the globe. Responsibility for vetting and managing suppliers is therefore devolved to local management but must meet the Group’s ethical standards. Following the recruitment of a Group Vice President, Supply Chain, we have initiated a detailed review of key supplier contracts and opportunities for standardisation across the Group. Potential opportunities for gaining efficiencies and cost savings will be considered in 2019.
We know that our customers demand the highest standards from us, including how we manage our own suppliers. Our supply chain management policy can be found at www.spectris.com. We carry out regular inspections at our supplier sites and use the SA 8000 Social Accountability Standard to audit our key suppliers against specific criteria. In 2018, we incorporated anti-slavery and conflict minerals sections into the SA 8000 Asia Pacific supplier audit process. We comply fully with the modern slavery laws of the UK, France and United States, and all relevant employees have the opportunity to complete a modern slavery online training module to ensure full understanding of our obligations and liabilities.
The SA 8000 standard addresses various aspects of quality management and provides guidance and tools for companies to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer requirements, and that quality is continuously improved. Recently updated, the new version of the standard requires that key quality management principles are embedded in the organisation. All key Spectris global manufacturing operations are certified to ISO 9001. We are very proud that we can reassure our customers of the high quality of all our products.