Last week, the Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine announced the recipients of its 2010 Green Supply Chain Awards. These awards recognize companies that are making sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategies.
This is quite an impressive list and perhaps it shows that “green supply chain” as an integral function in business operations may be cementing itself as a new “business as usual”. Why? I have spoken repeatedly about how small to midsized companies are being pressured by primary customers, or original equipment manufacturers are seeing trade barrier blockage due to emerging rules and regulations, and how advancements in accounting for corporate social responsibility effort are on the rise, to name a few.
“The purpose [of the Green Supply Chain Awards], according to Andrew K. Reese, editor, Supply & Demand Chain Executive is to “highlight a range of strategies and solutions that companies are employing to incorporate sustainability into the supply chain,” Reese said. “Our readers can use this information as a baseline to assess their own efforts in this regard.” Through an online nominations process, submissions were reviewed based on the clarity and content of the sustainability and related supply chain management goals and strategies, implementation measures taken and performance results to date.
From among the nominated companies Supply & Demand Chain Executive selected those firms that “stood out for their projects to incorporate sustainability objectives into their own supply chains or to enable sustainability in their customers’ supply chains”. Recipients ran the gamut from logistics and transportation companies (Maersk, DHL, YRC, CaseStack, Penske, Unisourse, Evergreen), , airlines and railways (Norfolk Southern, Cathay Pacific), clothing and footwear apparel (Timberland, Puma), healthcare (Kaiser Permanente), pharmaceuticals (Novartis), retail office supplies (OfficeMax), software and enterprise systems applications (Syspro, Cisco), among others.
Past recipients like Schneider Electric implemented a number of measures through its supply chain designed to manage the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) law entered into force in the European Union in June 2007. Taking proactive action with its suppliers avoided costly disruptions in its operations.
At D.W. Morgan Co. last year, the company introduced iPhone-based mobile communications system, and with it managed to eliminate roughly 50,000 paper way bills annually.
Finally, 2009 winner Conexant Systems consolidated its hubs to two major locations in Singapore and Taiwan. This consolidation allowed the company to allowing it to mix-and-match its chip sets at those locations, leading to significant reduction and reuse of packing materials, and reduced customer shipment frequency (by up to 75 percent). Now that is efficient!
These examples demonstrate how viewing at sustainability as a vital business risk management tool can be effective at all points in the product value chain- from Sourcing/Procurement, to Product Fulfillment/Logistics, Operations, Product Lifecycle Management Design , and other areas of the product value chain.
On top of the SDCE Green Awards list, Inbound Logistics named its Top 50 Green Partners list earlier this year (some of the third party logistics and freight companies are also listed on the more recent SDEC list I might add). Visionaries every one of them for being innovative and sustainable without negatively impacting their bottom line. I encourage you to look over the list and the great accomplishments each of these manufacturers and supply chain partners have achieved.
There are a myriad of “boots on the ground” examples where companies have tackled operational efficiency and optimization and managed to reduce their environmental footprint and pare costs of production and product distribution. All it takes is innovation, a solid cross functional team, leadership support and the will to finish the job. Perhaps next year, your company will make the list.