Updated Feb 18, 2020


SmartLine Platform for Leveraging Worker Voices to Improve Supply Chain Transparency


Paige Belt

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Major multinational brands have used our platform to survey 10K+ workers with our SmartLine technology. In 2016, we began building Symphony in Bangladesh, and have collected data on 50+ factories from 2,700+ workers that supply to 90+ brands. Our revenue goals set at about $1.1M for 2016 as we add workers and clients every day. Additionally, we have data on 50+ factories in Turkey, from 3,000+ workers, and we plan to launch Symphony there in the coming months.
C&A Foundation and C&A, RSI, FLA, N Brown, the Equitable Food Initiative, USAID DIV and Humanity United.
Through our projects in Bangladesh and Turkey in 2015, we have collected some initial data to help estimate the size of our potential impact on factory working conditions. In Table 1, we present the results of our work in one apparel factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh. We partnered with a major supplier to a major brand, to implement the SmartLine in their factory in Bangladesh, starting in November 2014. Table 1. Apparel Factory A*, Bangladesh Sample Size = 50 Apr-May 2015 Oct-Nov 2015 Difference in Mean (s.d.) Mean (s.d.) Means (s.e.) Enough time to complete work? 0.65 (.48) 0.98 (.14) .33 (.09) (no=0, yes=1) Toilet kept clean? 0.56 (.50) 0.93 (.26) .37 (.10) (no=0, yes=1) No verbal abuse? 0.58 (.50) 0.90 (.31) .32 (.10) (no=0, yes=1) Overall factory rating 2.81 (1.0) 4.35 (1.31) 1.54 (.25) (1 – 5 scale) Over the 6-month window of our second SmartLine survey at this brand, we found that the SmartLine drove statistically significant increases in workers having adequate work time, clean toilets, and overall worker satisfaction, while significantly reducing the incidence of verbal abuse. Across the board, the SmartLine helped improve each of these 4 areas by more than 50%. Given the long-term relationship and close collaboration with this brand, we consider these figures to be an upper bound of our expected Symphony impacts. In Table 2 below, we present some initial data from our work in Turkey, with a major brand. Starting in July 2015, LaborVoices began rolling out the SmartLine to this brand's suppliers and factories. Table 2. U* and S* Factories, Turkey Sample Size = 74 July 2015 October 2015 Difference in Mean (s.d.) Mean (s.d.) Means (s.e.) No 2 week periods without rest days? .79 (.40) .69 (.46) -.10 (.07) (no=0, yes=1) Toilet kept clean? .31 (.46) .43 (.497) .12 (.08) (no=0, yes=1) No verbal abuse? .64 (.48) .75 (.41) .11 (.08) (no=0, yes=1) Overall factory rating 3.0 (1.38) 3.39 (1.47) .39 (.25) (1 – 5 scale) Over the initial 4-month window of the SmartLine survey, we find that we drove improvements in toilet cleanliness, a reduction in verbal abuse, and increases in overall factory ratings, of about 15% to 30%. Notably, however, we saw that more workers worked 2 consecutive weeks without off days in October 2015. While these results are less pronounced than our other results above, we believe they will continue to improve, as the brand and factory managers continue to become more familiar with our data and have more time to address the issues identified. We consider these results to be a possible lower bound of the impact of the SmartLine.
Registered in United Statesin United States

Focus Areas:

Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, Gender, Rule of Law and Human Rights and 6 MoreSEE ALL

Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, Gender, Rule of Law and Human Rights, Child Protection, Digital Development, Digital Inclusion & Connectivity, Public-Private Partnerships, Technology and Policy and RegulationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia and 5 MoreSEE ALL

Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Turkey and United StatesSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Countries Implemented In
Verified Funding

Innovation Description

Our mobile Symphony platform provides on-demand, ongoing visibility into labor conditions in global supply chains. We crowdsource factory reviews from workers via their mobile phones and communicate this intelligence in real-time to brands and factories, while enabling workers to identify the best factories to work for. We look at serious labor issues such as wages, overtime, child labor, abuse and harassment and fire safety.DIV funding is supporting the expansion of the platform.
How does your innovation work?
Problem/ Opportunity: Multinational brands spend billions of dollars on inspection-based audits to evaluate whether their suppliers are complying with local labor laws and meeting codes of conduct. Audits provide severely limited snapshots of factory conditions and are insufficient to detect issues and prevent tragedies such as building collapses, factory fires, child labor, forced labor, and sexual harassment. Brands need reliable, ongoing data so they can cost-effectively reduce their risk of negative PR incidents and supply chain disruptions. Solution: Our SaaS platform, Symphony, enables brands to subscribe to year-round, realtime data on labor conditions at a price comparable to a single 3-day audit. Brands have access to true factory conditions based on anonymous feedback from workers. It serves as an early warning system for brands to monitor, identify and measurably resolve issues in their supply chains before they become urgent. Simultaneously, Symphony enables factory owners to monitor their facilities and make preemptive improvements, while also enabling workers to identify the best factories to work for.

Planned Goals and Milestones

After working on a consulting basis for several years, we are moving to a pure product approach with Symphony. Customers subscribe to real-time data and alerts for $99 per month per facility. We anticipate acquiring multiple customers in each facility, including multiple brands that source from that facility, factory owners, government, and other stakeholders. At higher price tiers, our platform supports client-requested worker questions, integration with other data sources, and more customer accounts to our product.
Our initial focus is on the $200M+ market for audits in apparel, followed by the $15B+ market of corporate responsibility, including the electronics, automotive, agriculture, and mining sectors.Over 5 years, we anticipate collecting data on 7K apparel factories from 576K worker users, while positively impacting 6M+ workers. As our databecomes ubiquitous, we anticipate catalyzing a race-to-the-top, as factories compete to show brands and workers that they offer best-in-class working conditions. Workers will benefit from improved safety standards, faster resolution of grievances, and other tangible improvements in their workplaces.
Funding Goal2,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted2,700


Sep 2019
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United States