Supporting Sustainability Throughout the Supply Chain

Companies can support sustainability throughout their supply chains with many different approaches. Reducing paper by automating manual business processes, optimizing shipments and loads with end-to-end visibility, saving fuel and lowering emissions by avoiding supply chain disruptions, and sourcing materials from suppliers with like-minded sustainability goals are just a few examples. Ed Rusch, vice president of corporate marketing for Elemica, offers these suggestions to utilize technology and a business network to balance growth, revenue, and costs while greening your supply chain.

1. Empower trading partners. An industrial strength collaboration platform and communications framework designed to facilitate real-time and accurate information exchange help create efficiencies and remove waste.

2. Upgrade for efficiency. Redesign your supply chain network to bring items closer to home where it makes economic sense, and globally source where assurance of supply balances savings. The shortened supply chain reduces mileage to save on fuel consumption and minimize risk.

3. Be proactive. Increase visibility into supply chain operations, including event management that enables tracking and monitoring of material flows as they happen. Incorporate analytics to identify patterns as they develop for data-driven, proactive action.

4. Optimize transportation processes. Carrier collaboration and automated processes reduce mileage and carbon emissions. Ensure orders are shipped on time, to the right location, and in the right quantities for successful first-time deliveries.

5. Use slot-booking applications. Look for an application that allows you to schedule appointments at docks for arrivals or departures to ensure the distribution center has the right team and equipment to facilitate loading and unloading to reduce wait times and idling.

6. Prepare for interruptions. Avoid supply chain disruptions that require expedited shipments to meet customer service deliveries, which can impact transportation spend and the environment.

7. Develop flexibility. Promptly adapt to business changes with minimum impact on the environment by building flexibility into supply chain processes.

8. Reduce excess inventories. Extra stock contributes negatively to the environment by unnecessary energy and resource consumption during manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing.

9. Optimize material flows. Collaborate with suppliers for a 100- percent accurate inbound flow of materials and services, reducing the unnecessary waste of resources.

10. Automate manual processes. Automating procurement, sourcing, inventory, logistics, and order management limits the use of paper to save trees and other resources.

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