The traditional tool used to analyse and evaluate the macro environment is either PESTLE or STEEPLE. The STEEPLE acronym covering socio-cultural factors, technological factors, economic factors, environmental factors, political factors, legal factors and ethical factors. All of these areas can influence the way a supply chain works and procurement operates. The macro environment exists outside a company, its industry or its sector. Whereas a company has control over its immediate, or microenvironment it has little control over its macro environment. And yet this environment can have a huge influence and impact on the organisation itself.

A Changing Environment

But this environment has changed. There is a new influence in the macro environment that can have just as big an impact on organisations and their supply chains as those factors already mentioned in PESTLE and STEEPLE analysis. This requires the traditional tools to be reviewed. The common factors in the macro environment that now need to be analysed and evaluated are technological factors, economic factors, media factors, political factors, legal factors, environmental/ethical factors and socio-cultural factors. This provides us with TEMPLES analysis.

With the advancement of technology, in particular, the sharing of information, more and more data is available to more and more people. The problem is how trustworthy is this data? Mainstream media and more importantly social media can have a huge influence not only on individuals and groups but on companies and organisations and even the government’s agenda. Yet the data shared is neither filtered or confirmed. An opinion becomes fact very fast and is shared even faster. Fake news has been defined as false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news.

Assessing The Impact of Social Media Stories

But what has this got to do with organisations and their supply chains? Mainstream media already covers new stories regarding the behaviour of businesses. It can influence the opinion of its readership or viewers; however, the organisations will always know where the news has come from and respond accordingly.

Social media is a big platform for customers to complain about products and services. Not everyone will directly contact the company for any issues, they may land on the social media company profiles or be shared surreptitiously to avoid detection.  The more complaints, the more the brand will suffer. Even worse, if a group wish to undermine an organisation to promote their cause they can do so indiscriminately without fear of prosecution or reprisal.

The organisation can find it difficult to identify the source of the information and has relatively no way of stopping it spreading. In a worst-case scenario, the rise of social media and the activists within it could flood the Internet with fake news regarding an organisation and its supply chain. They could cause so much chaos someone would do something irresponsible and when they did things would turn nasty. The organisation would find itself front and centre in a situation in which they are found guilty until proven innocent.

Conducting A TEMPLES Analysis For Procurement

All the more reason for organisations to conduct a thorough TEMPLES analysis of their macro environment. Understanding the opportunities and threats influencing their supply chain from technological improvements and advancements, economic strength and stability, media trends and followings, political policies and agendas, legal elements and regulation, environmental issues including ethical sourcing, and socio-cultural influences such as demographics and cultural differences.

This will require media content analysis. American political scientist and communication theorist Harold Lasswell explained that media content analysis involved identifying who said what, through which channel, to whom, with what effect. In TEMPLES analysis it would be necessary to pre-empt this by conducting ‘what if?’ scenarios identifying who could say what, through which channel, to whom, with what effect on the organisation and its supply chain. There would also need to be research as to what has already been said about organisations and their supply chains and through which channels. The analysis will also evaluate the best way to engage with these different channels including the plethora of social media channels that are springing up on the web.

If you want to find out about the effect the macro environment can have on supply chains, you may be interested in a CIPS Diploma in Procurement and Supply. For more information about procurement courses from The Oxford College of Procurement and Supply, simply get in touch with one of our course advisors on +44 (0)1865 515255 or email