The International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA) has recently launched an initiative – IMPA ACT – that aims to introduce a marine industry-wide standard for responsible supply chain management (RSCM). Although in its infancy, IMPA ACT has been established to induce minimum social, environmental and economic standards in the supply of products to the shipbuilders and managers, in accordance with the UN’s minimum expectations for business best practice.

The superyacht industry supply chain is historically characterised by its complex network and its protracted nature. And although IMPA ACT’s initial focus has been recruiting commercial shipping members, programme manager, Tatiana Stotz says the superyacht industry has a valuable role to play in its future, while reaping simultaneous benefits from its aims.

“The thing that really benefits the relationship between the buyers and suppliers is that the buyers will also try and adopt the same principles that the suppliers are being asked to adopt”, she explains. “It’s a different approach to the traditional top-down approach to supply chain management; it’s much more collaborative.”

The focus of the initiative is not the auditing of suppliers but instilling a culture of due diligence and risk management for a sector that is both diverse and populated by small enterprises. Stotz says it will effectively act as a tool to help these businesses identify the gaps in their internal processes to improve their performance.

Secretary general and COO, Stephen Alexander with Thome Ship Management's Ryan Dalgado.

And speaking to Marine Trader magazine, COO and secretary general, Stephen Alexander said: “Something that the purchasers on the working group were absolute in ensuring was that this project should be a process that strengthens and develops relationships with their suppliers and the tools provide the framework to do exactly that. [T]his is not just a management system that the owners implement and the suppliers adopt, but rather a collaborative tool that facilitates working together, sharing knowledge and experience and shaping the outcomes in a partnership way.”

While the supply chain is the target of the initiative, for the superyacht sector at least, it will be the yards and managers who have the greatest power of advocacy. By supporting IMPA ACT, they will necessitate the need for suppliers to adopt this code in order to remain commercially competitive, once they have been audited and awarded IMPA ACT-endorsed supplier status.

“The issue has been time and cost of auditing one’s own company; it’s been too much for a single company to take on by itself”, Stotz says. “So there’s a real incentive for an industry standard, and a preference from the suppliers to go through this standard once…and that saves them time in the long-run.”

The project is still in its infancy, so the focus remains shipping, and this has meant the recruitment of Singapore-based Thome Ship Management. Commenting on the initiative Thome’s procurement and supply chian manager, Ryan Dalgado said, “Thome is deeply committed to a responsible business approach, which includes zero accidents and zero pollution alongside sustainable business growth. The IMPA ACT programme fits perfectly within our vision and mission.”

This year's Global Superyacht Forum (17-19 November) will adopt an unprecedented focus on the lessons that the superyacht industry can take from other sectors, inviting key figures to share their thoughts, whilst evaluating the efficacy of initiatives and projects with similar aims to IMPA ACT.

To register your place at this year's very special 20th anniversary edition of GSF, please contact Suzie on or call her direct on +44 207 801 1014. Full details of this year's programme can be found on the website.

The Global Superyacht Forum 2014 is sponsored by: Awlgrip, Caterpillar, Cathelco, Cayman Registry, Clyde & Co., MTN, Palladium Technologies, R&Q Marine Services (Yachtsure24) and Struik & Hamerslag.

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