Written by: Tara Palmer – The Pro Forum Community of Practice
Having a sustainable supply chain has many benefits for business financially and from a public relations point of view. Some benefits include a reduction in your businesses environmental impact, continuity of supply to your customers, protection against potential reputation damage and it opens up new opportunities for business as potential partners recognise your green initiatives.
But how do we make our supply chains more sustainable? Where do we start?
Firstly you can start by mapping your supply chain, you would be shocked by how many businesses have no idea where their products are really coming from and the impacts their supply has on people and the environment. It is crucial to know where you supplier’s sit within the supply chain, where they are located physically and how important they are to the business. If your able to remove certain suppliers from your supply chain and potentially use suppliers closer geographically it will reduce transport costs and emissions and better support local business.
Secondly you need to have open channel of communication with your suppliers. Having an open honest relationship with suppliers enables you to adequately convey your expectations for your supply chain. Having clear and defined expectations will not only create a strong relationship with your supplier it will ensure your products are received on schedule and in the expected condition.
Thirdy, implement a baseline for your supplier performance. Having clear baseline expectations for your supply chains sustainability is a great way to gauge suppliers sustainability and will highlight deficiency and inefficiency. This will also make it clear if there is a need to move on from certain suppliers and find others who fit more clearly with your organisations views.
And finally continue to push for supplier’s performance improvement. Continue to look for potential ways to improve your supply chains sustainability.
These are all big steps but having a sustainable supply chain is essential to the environment and to your businesses bottom line and its overall success.