Ask Mary: Creating a Supplier Compliance Program (Part 1 of 3)

    The debate on the subject of supplier compliance and chargebacks continues with one big change: it is no longer the question of whether to establish a compliance program or not, now the topic is when and how do I start a supplier compliance program. Due to the impact of the economy on retailers’ bottom line, retailers simply cannot flounder on this issue.  They must act immediately to ensure that they stay in business in the coming years. 

    ask mary supplier complianceI met with the Vice President of Supply Chain for a Fortune 100 retailer and we agreed that the major obstacle to implementing a supplier compliance program is the merchandise (buyer) area for every organization. He told me how he handled the buyers and I will share this tip with you. He asked the buyers:

    “Is it good business to accept merchandise that you did not order, or shipments that do not arrive on time?”

    Obviously the answer is a resounding NO! Thus why would retailers accept these types of transgressions as a norm for doing business? It is not good business to lose sales due to lack of compliance on fill rate or merchandise that does not make it to the stores on time.

    In the 2nd installment of this series, I will provide a list of some of the key points that will give you a starting point for establishing a supplier compliance program. In the 3rd installment, I will discuss chargebacks.

    If you have any questions concerning supplier compliance and its importance, please contact me at

    -Ask Mary