BRC publish draft standard for agents and brokers

For several years now when I have been given a soapbox to stand on and rant from I often raise concerns about the role of agents and brokers in supply chain risk management.
Those who have heard me speak will know that my position is that the responsible agents and brokers have a valuable role to play.
But the cowboys!
Now they are a different story.
Therefore I am pleased to see that the BRC have issued a draft standard for agents and brokers, so pleased that I have downloaded it and had a good read. And on balance it is a great step forward.
It follows the usual format of the BRC standards but I can see some real benefits in the following areas:
A requirement for a robust HACCP plan which includes:

  • Supplier approval
  • QA checks on products
  • Non conforming product management

As part of the HACCP there is a requirement to give consideration to the risk of Fraud e.g. substitution or deliberate adulteration.
There is also a robust section on Complaint Handling which raises the bar for complaint investigation and complaint reporting,
The section relating to supplier and sub contracted service management will again raise the bar for many agents and brokers. It contains the usual best practice including having a supplier approval procedure  based on the results of a supplier risk assessment which has taken account of:

  • the nature of the product and the associated risks
  • customer specific requirements
  • legislative requirements in the country of sale or importation of the product
  • source or country of origin
  • potential for adulteration or fraud
  • the brand identity of products

The supplier approval procedure can be implemented using the usual tools and techniques such as on site supplier auditing, supplier monitoring, supplier self audit and by exception

  • legally enforceable warranties from the supplier
  • a historical trading relationship supported by documented evidence of performance reviews demonstrating satisfactory performance

Where approval is based on the above exceptions  the reasons for the exception shall be documented.
It will be interested to see how this is interpreted by certification bodies