Today, supply chain sustainability is more than just a marketing platform. Rather, sustainability and corporate social responsibility has moved beyond “greenwashing” and become some of the most effective methods to drive efficiency and reduce costs. One whitepaper from Oracle goes further, saying sustainability is actually the peak topic of discussion among supply chain leadership.
“Sustainability has replaced cost, value and speed as the dominant topic of discussion among purchasing and supply professionals.” — The Shape of Tomorrow’s Supply Chains
The authors of another industry report, however, found that businesses often lack the vision and leadership to pursue impactful sustainability. There are three basic questions that business leaders need to ask themselves to connect sustainability with efficiency and cost reduction:
Are We Measuring Sustainability Effectively? Measurement of sustainability projects has a two-fold importance: first, it allows the business to analyze the return on investment (ROI) of particular sustainability projects; and second, it can help the business gain greater insight into operations and pinpoint other ways to reduce both consumption and costs. Software solutions, such as Nootrol, are great ways to measure sustainability and discover where to improve.
Can We Ask Our Suppliers to Improve Their Own Sustainability? A business is only as sustainable as its partners. Within the supply chain, this means that all members of the supply chain — from manufacturing to logistics teams — need to be focused on sustainability. Businesses can ask its partners to “raise the bar” by producing and asking for strict adherence to guidelines and scorecards. Asking for compliance means increased business for the supplier, as well as lower costs for the business – and potentially, the consumer.
How Can We Improve Product Design to be More Sustainable? Innovation at the product-level is also an important area of focus for leadership. By developing more sustainable products, businesses are able to recoup efficiency gains from each link in the supply chain. Look to the cleaning product industry to see a great example of this. By focusing on producing concentrated-formula materials, businesses are able to reduce its product costs and transportation needs.
For further discussion, including other questions leadership must consider, check out this article on the Software Advice website.