With despondency around the credit crunch it’s understandable that many organisations don’t place greening the supply chain at the top of their priorities.
It’s now easier than ever to build a green supply chain without going into the red, while actually saving cash along the way. Ask any C1D what they are most interested in from their supply chain solution, and the answer will often be just a blank look. This is because the supply chain is invariably a small part of aCTa’s remit, and if the current system is working to an acceptable standard, no problem exists,
To take things to the next level, organisations need to understand how they can work smarter and be better informed to drive the efficiency of everyday business processes. This new level of visibility is built on B2B collaboration. specifically through a set of tools which allow organisations to communicate more effectively. At a basic level, businesses can look to processes such as reducing or removing paper invoicing from their business.
By taking advantage of next-generation automated EDI solutions, organisations can have a real-time platform displaying invoicing information, removing the cost of traditional paper invoicing and reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Implementing intelligent systems which can spot discrepancies in data, can enable businesses to maximise resources and deliver optimum efficiency
Many organisations are now moving away from traditional “order in-delivery out” models to incorporate new levels of functionality which address some of the complexities in tracking and tracing supply chain data,
Visibility of the entire supply chain can also enable businesses to source products and raw materials, again with positive environmental effects, The horror stories of organisations shipping processed vegetables from the UK to Asia before returning the product to the UK to be sold under the guise of a “Made in England” stamp are simply unacceptable in today’s economic and environmental climate.
Grocers and retailers need to be aware that consumers today are much more focused on how and where products are sourced and the overall impact this can have on the reputation of the company,
If the procurement manager has access to a userfriendly system that quickly and efficiently details available suppliers on his company’s network, he can clearly see that he doesn’t need to import from China as he has a supplier in the Netherlands. The benefits are again significant, and ultimately very easy to obtain.
The emergence of e-commerce and the internet has ?also had a significant impact on the way in which organisations plan supply chain processes.
While traditional hub and spoke logistic arrangements still work well for many organisations, cross-docking or drop-shipping solutions are becoming increasingly popular ways of shipping orders directly to the customer with little or no storage involved.
The benefits are plentiful, including quicker distribution, reduced handling and operational costs and increased warehouse space, not to mention the decreased number of trips to transport the goods to holding stores. Such direct methods can work well, however, without adequate visibility this system can easily fall down. When a garden shed from Frankfurt ends up in Middlesbrough instead of Macclesfield, retailers need to know about it, and so do customers.
The key to success here is being able to track and trace an item throughout the whole lifecycle, and have an automated system in place that can fiag up nondelivery of stock or other problems during transit.
With best-at-breed supply chain solutions, organisations can have confidence in embracing smarter ways of working, and smarter can mean leaner which in turn leads to greener.
Ultimately, now there is major pressure on retailers of all sizes to be seen as green by their customers.
Gartner Research suggests that as this pressure mounts, by 2011 suppliers to large global enterprises will need to prove their green credentials via an audited process to retain preferred supplier status
The time tor apathy is clearly gone.
If ever IT managers were looking for a time to sell in that next generation supply chain system to senior business decision makers, then that time is now.
B2B integration and effective supply chain communication can drive down risk and also reduce business impact on the environment – all while improving visibility of transportlnq goods for more effective logistics management and even cost savings.