Balancing Corporate Responsibility and Stakeholder Expectations at Altria Client Services

In anticipation of her presentation at this December's ENDS US 2018 conference, we reached out to Crystal B. Wersching, Senior Director of the Procurement Center of Excellence at Altria, to take a closer look at strategies that support responsible supply chain management, procurement efforts, and R&D processes in the electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) and e-cigarette industries.

Your presentation looks at managing the supply chain responsibly, whilst balancing stakeholder’s expectations. Can you tell us a bit about the corporate responsibility strategy at Altria Client Services?

Wersching: At Altria, our strategy is to work with diverse, high quality suppliers to innovate and address societal issues within the supply chain.  Our supply chain approach includes:

  • Developing a diverse supplier base
  • Communicating our expectations
  • Assessing supplier performance and requiring suppliers to remediate findings
  • Engaging with our stakeholders

How does this currently work in collaboration with the R&D process?

Wersching: Our Procurement team works closely with Product Development to ensure that materials and services needed to produce new products can be sourced responsibly.

How do you see the regulatory environment in the ENDS industry evolving?

Wersching: Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the regulations that govern the ENDS industry.  As the regulating agencies become more educated on ENDS products, we should start to see clarification of regulatory requirements, allowing companies to bring compliant products to market faster.

What are the implications of these changes for major consumer brands?

Wersching: Major brands will need flexible supply chains that can react quickly to regulatory changes.

What impact will these regulations have on the supply chain and procurement performance?

Wersching:  Supplier relationships will become increasingly more important to ensure that suppliers are providing materials and services that meet specifications that comply with regulations.  Additional criteria to measure supplier performance will need to be implemented to monitor and assess performance.

What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

Wersching: Networking and connecting with other companies to learn about what they are doing in this space and share best practices

Hear more from Crystal during her presentation "Managing Supply Chain Responsibly", which will take place on Day 1 of the conference - December 6 - at 11 AM Eastern.