Supply Chain Innovation

Training Factory Monitors in India and China

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's another hot afternoon here in Delhi, India as we finish up what have been two wonderful and challenging days of training on how to strengthen the FLA independent monitoring process. The first day started with a video welcome from FLA president Auret van Heerden, who outlined the key themes for the jam-packed workshops – improving consistency, corroborating findings, root cause analysis, movement toward greater sustainability, and introduction of the new Compliance Benchmarks and Audit & Tracking Instrument.

It was exciting to meet with so many experts in the field who actually do the monitoring that is so important to meeting FLA’s requirements and making sure that labor conditions in these factories pass muster. We were lucky to have four of FLA’s regional representatives, Tanida Disyabout, Youli Ge, Richa Mittal, and Aykut Kazanci, who dispensed an amazing amount of knowledge in a very short time.

We walked monitors through the entire IEM process – from the collection of documents from companies and monitors to posting of CAPs on the website. We answered monitors’ questions and emphasized FLA expectations, especially in regards to deadlines, quality, and reporting. In addition, we overviewed FLA policies for aborted audits, conducting an IEM where there are multiple facilities, and reporting worker complaints after an audit.

One of our newest regional reps, Aykut, who has responsibility for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, led a session on proper audit planning, including team formation, collecting pre-audit information, logistics, and dividing responsibilities. Aykut has brought a wealth of experience to FLA and really makes a difference in these kinds of trainings. For instance, in a session on sources and evidence, he was able to provide monitors with various examples and answered numerous logistical and other types of questions that these folks are likely to face in their work.

We also discussed techniques for conducting worker interviews, issues of “coaching,” how to approach sensitive issues, group v. individual interviews, on-site and off-site interviews and confidentiality issues. While this is only a small part of what we did here and what also occurred in the training sessions in China, it brought home just how effective our independent audits can be, what a difference they can make and how important it is to make sure that the monitors are properly trained.