New eco-operation study sheds light on supply chain sustainability

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Courtesy of Intelex Technologies Inc.

Achieving verifiable sustainability throughout the supply and demand chain can be a daunting task for any company, especially for those who have a substantial amount of partners involved from top to bottom. As global product manufacturers are now placing more emphasis on being competitive and environmentally conscious as a result of social, economic and regulatory factors, pressure has mounted for companies to apply a “lean and green” makeover to their product sourcing, logistics, transportation, distribution and operational practices. In order to address the challenges, issues and opportunities associated with this trend, The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum in partnership with Global Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN) have developed The Acceleration of Eco-Operation initiative. A rich repository of resources and information compiled from industry experts and associations as well as a comprehensive industry survey, The Acceleration of Eco-Operation initiative is aimed at helping improve bottom lines through enhanced trading partner visibility, flexibility and sustainability across the entire global supply and demand spectrum.

The BPM Forum, a comprehensive online survey of supply chain, operations, finance and executive professionals representing multiple industries was conducted in Q2 of 2009. It was designed to gauge how companies are presently dealing with the challenges associated with current supply chain demands, costs and environmental concerns. One hundred and twenty five professionals from around the globe participated in the survey resulting in insights as to what are the common priorities, pitfalls and progresses that supply chain professionals are facing today. The results of this survey were paired in a report with the detailed insights from 20 corporate and faculty leadership committee members outlining best practices and viable solutions aimed at helping companies begin to implement efficient and environmental practices within their supply chains.

The survey revealed that “nearly 90 percent of the respondents said their management subscribes to the principles of Eco-Operation, and nearly half said their executives believe in this mantra to a large extent.” This is a promising indication of the level of acceptance and understanding by the participants as to the fundamentals of the Eco-Operation initiative. The corporate leadership committee members were also in agreement as to the cost, compliance and carbon reduction advantages associated with Eco-Operation implementation. Although a good understanding and belief in the principles of Eco-Operations was noted, the report indicated that most companies are substantially lacking the means, metrics and visibility into their entire supply chain to successfully execute any of them. Almost two thirds reported inadequate visibility across all the tiers and levels of their supply chains. This lack of transparency can have a substantially negative impact on performance. As stated in the report, “The lack of transparency into the operations of dynamic, multi-tiered supply chains may be severely hampering business performance. Survey respondents identified the top business benefits of greater visibility as cost savings, better customer support, and environmental compliance – three key elements in today’s business landscape.” Also, better standards and key performance indicators (KPI’s) was identified as a nearly universal need among supply chain professionals as a means of measuring the sustainability levels of supply chain partners.

The report notes one of the driving forces behind Eco-Operational strategies and practices as the advent of web-based management platforms as a means of “increasing collaboration, real-time insight and rapid adaptability across today’s high performance, multi-enterprise value networks.” Such platforms, like Intelex’s Web-Based Environmental and Quality Management Systems work to foster a greater level of transparency and sustainability across the entire supply chain. Being web-based allows for a highly collaborative approach to monitoring your entire value chain as each supplier can easily access and use the system across multiple sites allowing for real-time reports and dashboards to be generated at anytime, ultimately giving you a 360 degree view of your entire operations.  With the BMP Forum survey indicating only 20 percent of participants as using a single hosted platform to improve such visibility; organizations who have implemented them have substantially realized measurable improvements in business and sustainability performance.  By investing in a web-based management system like those offered by Intelex, your organization is taking a step forward towards fulfilling corporate responsibility duties while at the same time streamlining operations, reducing costs, increasing sustainability and ultimately lowering your bottom line.

Read the full report here: Acceleration of ECO-Operation: Achieving Success & Sustainability in the Supply Chain

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