Systems Thinking for a Green Supply Chain

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In the guest post below, Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company, discusses how companies can “green” their supply chain through a” systems thinking” approach.

by Julie Urlaub

In today’s global business environment, it is extremely rare for a company to own an entire product or service value chain.  Business operations now rely heavily on external supply and resources.  This has made the supply chain a critical component of business sustainability success.

Coupling supply chain best practices with business sustainability strategies, many companies are opening the door to improved consistency and reliability of supply. The question is, “how?’

To begin, start with a “systems thinking” approach.  The post, A Green Supply Chain Takes a Systems Thinking Approach–And Patience suggests by viewing the supply chain in a systematic or holistic manner, “organizations can apply that “big-picture thinking” needed to be truly innovative. Doing so can create leverage points that companies never realized they had before with their suppliers”.

Applying systems thinking through implementation, our sustainability consulting suggests keeping with sustainable supply chain best practices.

  • Supply Chain Alignment – Evaluating business needs, market conditions, and sustainability value drivers (research / benchmarking) to improve supplier relationships or initiating sourcing.
  • Procurement Guidelines and Policies – Improving sustainable material selection and supplier manufacturing processes as part of supplier selection criteria.
  • Supply Performance Tracking – Establishing key supplier performance metrics to ensure continuous alignment with sustainability targets.

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Image credit: Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr under a CC license.

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