Samsung is the latest company to demonstrate just how difficult it is to ensure complete compliance with labour standards across constantly changing supply chains. For the Korean electronics manufacturer of the ubiquitous Galaxy series of smartphones, this case relates to the use of child labour in the Dongguan Shinyang Electronics factory in China.
However for for supply chain managers this is another example of the difficulties of sub-contracting production to meet seasonal demand spikes. These breaches continue to get a lot of attention. During the week after the breach was reported, the topic got an average of 138,000 daily impressions and 770 distinct mentions.
A number of social influencers noted was that this incident came just ten days after Samsung released its 2014 Sustainability Report in which it stated that no cases of child labour have been found in over 100 supplier audits. How companies with complex manufacturing footprints demonstrate that their supply chain management is a constant, multi-directional process with continuous monitoring and improvements will be critical on being able to report on it with transparency and confidence in future.