Friday, June 10, 2016

Mapping the Supply Chain

There is a trend among the most ethical businesses to be more open about how and where goods are manufactured and about the environmental impact of the company's products. As part of this trend some businesses have created supply chain maps to inform consumers about the origins of the raw materials, products or ingredients that make up the company's products.

In the UK the retailer Marks & Spencer has released the M&S Supplier Map. In order to be more transparent with their customers M&S has created this interactive map to show the factories around the world where M&S source their branded clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, food, non-alcoholic drinks and household products.

Using the map you can view details on individual factories around the world which are part of the M&S supply chain. If you select an individual manufacturer on the map you can view a few details about the factory, such as the total number of employees and the percentage of female & male employees.

French yogurt producers Les 2 Vaches have also created a source map for their range of organic yogurts. This Google Map shows where all the ingredients used in Les 2 Vaches yogurts are produced or grown. The map also shows where the ingredients are stored and prepared.

If you select a marker on the map you can click on the '+' icon to read more about the farm or company which produces an ingredient or product used in Les 2 Vaches. The map sidebar displays the ingredients used in the yogurt. If you select an ingredient the map highlights the companies and farms involved in producing the selected ingredient and a supply chain is displayed on the map to show how the ingredient makes it to the final product.

Story Maps can be a great way for businesses to show how they source raw materials and to explain the manufacturing process which leads to the final product. Clothing manufacturers Loomstate has used Odyssey.js to create the Loomstate Difference, a narrative map which guides potential consumers through the manufacture of a Loomstate T-shirt, from the sourcing of materials to the finished product.

The map takes you on the complete production journey of a Loomstate t-shirt, from cotton farm to mill, from cotton to garment, from dying to printing, the map reveals the whole process of how a Loomstate t-shirt is created.

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