A Simple Guide to Reaching New Levels in Sustainable Supply Chain Management

image: fresh ideasProgressive supply chain approaches over the past few decades have moved corporate efforts beyond the traditional buy/supplier adversarial relationship.  More recently, organizations have seen the value in aligning supply chain goals in a now commonly directed business sustainability framework.  As these sustainability concepts begin to emerge within supply chain discussion, companies continue to push for aligned business sustainability value pursuits.  

In a recent GreenBiz article, we find an example of this success through the eyes of one of the largest food makers.  “Kraft Foods is setting new standards on how to source through sustainable agriculture and keep packaging out of landfills.”

With countless examples, like those at Kraft, our sustainability consulting practice has found the emergence of sustainable supply chain management has provided an opportunity to leverage previous procurement advancements from an expanded perspective.  Some of the notable and commonly implemented practices include:

  • Supplier Integration: Creating integrated processes with supplier to improve communication, increase efficiency, and ensure common sustainable processes. 
  • Supply Chain Transparency - Implementing sustainable best practices within the supply chain will standardize operations and allow for transparency of customer expectations across the supply chain. 
  • Open Innovation - Engaging the knowledge of key supply stakeholders, a sustainable supply chain can make significant gains over the competition (who in comparison may be unwilling to share information across its supply chain). 
  • Risk Mitigation – Promoting greater understanding of sustainability within the supply chain will mitigate environmental, social, and market risks common to all. 
  • Continuous Improvement - A common understanding of sustainability concepts, goals and objectives provides a platform for ‘common’ performance measures and continuous improvement. 
  • Increase Partnership Profitability – In the end, proactively incorporating sustainability concepts into the supply chain can decrease cost and add the value to all supply chain partners. 

Our sustainability consulting work finds companies seeking out the unique value opportunity in sustainable supply chain management by creating aligned sustainability goals with suppliers.  Rather than regressing to the old model and passing along the cost and risk to suppliers, we are following the progress of leaders who are creating business sustainability incentives for existing and new sources of supply.

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