BFM podcast explores drive to set single audit standard for industry

The latest episode of the Industry Matters podcast from British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) explores the opportunities available through a new partnership with ethical auditor, Verisio.

The podcast features BFM MD Phil Spademan, Verisio’s Leon Reed and Director at One-Call Furniture, Paul James who take a deep dive into how the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) can add value to businesses across the industry.

The discussion, led by BFM’s Marketing and Comms Manager Jo Audley-Charles, centres around the differing requirements for ‘ethical health checks’ from retailers and how the BFM’s partnership with Verisio will help shape an industry standard that will prevent the need for repeated audits.

SMETA is a comprehensive social compliance audit based on International Labor Organization (ILO) standards and the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code.

It helps companies identify improvements and ensure that manufacturers can demonstrate ethical practices across their supply chain. BFM members can now access this service at a discounted rate through Verisio.

BFM Managing Director, Phil Spademan said: “This is something that is important and will only get more important to every single member that we have. We’ve got a really good deal with Verisio. It’s a massive discount on what the normal rates are, so that our members can make sure they’re following all the ethical guidelines and that they are doing that at a very competitive price.

“What we’re aiming for is a standard that has been informed by manufacturers and retailers, so everyone agrees what that audit should look like and our members can just do one test, rather than doing several tests and repeating things, and spending far more money than they actually need to.”

The podcast was recorded at the January Furniture Show and Verisio will also be in attendance at the BFM’s first ever Furniture Component Expo which will be held at Telford International Centre on April 24 and 25.

The expo offers a showcase for suppliers of components, tools and machinery used within the UK furniture manufacturing industry, alongside suppliers of key services, with a planned programme of seminars taking place over the two days.

As a new BFM partner, Verisio’s team will be on hand at the event to talk through the benefits of the SMETA audit for BFM members. Verisio CEO and founder, Leon Reed, said: “We’ve done quite a number of factory audits on furniture suppliers here in the UK and globally.

“It’s a really good way of health checking a business. The benefit of going through these audits is having somebody independent coming in and making sure your systems really are robust.

“It gives retailers and companies that are using those suppliers the ability to make commercial decisions on whether they continue to use those suppliers. What we’re seeing more and more is that it’s becoming part of the tendering process for most organisations.”

Paul James is a Director at One-Call Furniture, a BFM member company that is already working with Verisio. He said: “The whole process is real validation for what we believe.

“We’re very proud to be a British manufacturer and very proud that we have a great workforce and good practices in our business. It gives our customers confidence that not only do we have good product, good pricing, great service, but the behind-the-scenes functions are actually up to the high standards they expect.

“It’s not good enough to have the right price for the right product and give a good level of service. The level of customers we deal with need to know, and need to have that confidence, that we’re working to the highest benchmarks in the industry as possible.

“With a Verisio audit, they can be assured that our health and safety standards, our employment regulations, our factory machinery audits are all absolutely first class and it’s not only me or one of our other directors saying it – it’s an independent source verifying what we do.”

To listen to the latest Industry Matters podcast, go to: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/bfmindustrymatters/episodes/BFMs-Industry-Matters-Podcast-Verisio-Special-e2h7up7

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