Strategic Sourcing & Procurement: Great Starting Points to a Green Supply Chain

26 Aug

Reports surfaced this week about a Deloitte survey of a relatively small group of 50 executives taken from late 2009 to early 2010. However, the survey covered five industry sectors: automotive, consumer products, process and industrial, technology, and telecommunications.

While there was disagreement in some industry’s over what constituted a ‘green job’, there was widespread agreement in a number of areas.  Almost all surveyed indicated that sustainability priorities were at least partially aligned with their companies’ priorities. A total of 65 percent discussed priorities related to improving the environmental sustainability of their companies’ products.

Also, according to the survey, there were several areas of ‘greatest opportunity’ for becoming more sustainable while enhancing business profitability:

– 46 percent cited opportunities related to manufacturing process and operations

– 31 percent brand enhancements and perception

– 21 percent supply chain

The survey indicated a clear recognition (and a growing one) that ‘sustainability’ as a business enhancement plays an importance role in the future of business.  In its summary, Deloitte cited four key success factors that can aid a company’s ability to leverage sustainability, increase business value and emphasize supply chain management:

– Aligning sustainability strategy with business  strategy.

– Integrating sustainability into operations and processes across the value chain.

– Structuring non-traditional collaborations and extending existing collaborations.

– Setting up a governance structure that is supported by the right infrastructure.

On the supply chain point, the survey recommended as I have several times in this space the importance of driving sustainability upstream (vendors) and downstream (customers) in the product/service value chain through collaboration.  Efforts taken throughout the value chain broadens the reach of sustainability initiatives and makes it less isolated.

Implications to Supply Chain Management

So if you’re a supply chain pro (as I assume that if you’re here, that’s the case), you may be asking “Where do I get started down this green path’?”  The aspects of supply chain management that can benefit from a sustainability focus, are well, all of them:  product design, planning/ forecasting, manufacturing, order management, transportation, distribution, service management and reverse logistics. However, if you wish to start somewhere and get some huge bang for your buck, start with sourcing and procurement.

When you think of sustainable sourcing, consider it as a process of purchasing goods and services that takes into account the triple bottom line  or TBL (People, Planet, Profit) aspects of a product and its use. Sustainable sourcing considers how products are made, where and from whom they (and their components) come from, how they are transported, and how they are ultimately disposed of. Companies excelling at sustainable sourcing strive to ensure that their products and components meet or exceed environmental and social expectations.

To meet this need, many organizations are revamping their spend analysis tools to layer in a sustainability component (looking at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), or full range of costs- from an environmental and social perspective as well as financial). Simply put, TCO is:

Total Acquisition Cost- Total Lifecycle Cost = Total Cost of Ownership

In future postings, I will delve more deeply into TCO related methods to supplement spend analysis in the procurement process.  In the meantime, rest assured that more companies that are seeking to manage the life cycle environmental impact of their products.  They’re finding sustainable procurement to be a valuable tool to quantify and compare a product or component’s lifetime environmental and social impact while positioning the company for smart growth in a rebounding economy.

This post was originally published on my New Green Supply Chain Blog, which can be found at https://community.kinaxis.com/people/DRMeyer/blog

2 Responses to “Strategic Sourcing & Procurement: Great Starting Points to a Green Supply Chain”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Strategic Sourcing & Procurement: Great Starting Points to a Green Supply Chain (via ValueStreaming) « In A Future Age - August 26, 2010

    […] Reports surfaced this week about a Deloitte survey of a relatively small group of 50 executives taken from late 2009 to early 2010. However, the survey covered five industry sectors: automotive, consumer products, process and industrial, technology, and telecommunications. While there was disagreement in some industry’s over what constituted a ‘green job’, there was widespread agreement in a number of areas.  Almost all surveyed indicated that su … Read More […]

  2. Does Buying Green Make a Difference? « 3BL Media's Commentary and News - September 27, 2010

    […] to address internal and external supply issues, businesses addressing these areas are creating supply chain management alignment through increased eco awareness, cooperative business relationships, and applied […]

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