Eco-Friendly Business: How to Implement Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Business team having a meeting

A supply chain system involves a lot of things. It requires a network of individuals to work together within a timeline to bring products from the factory to the customer. Due to the complexity of the system and the number of requirements, the entire process may entail much paperwork and interaction.

Unfortunately, these sub-processes can adversely impact the environment. Imagine the volume of papers that get printed, signed and sent in an active supply chain system, or the number of meetings suppliers and vendors have to attend to achieve sustainable supply chain operations.

Paperless Transaction

Everyone involved in the supply chain process is either receiving or delivering things. It follows, then, that they are dealing with a lot of paperwork. This means from the supplier to the delivery guy, a company can waste reams and reams of paper. But there’s a way for everyone to reduce the use of paper, cut operational costs, and contribute to environmental sustainability: invest in software.

For instance, vendor performance management can be done through ServiceNow via ProcurementPath. The software enables the end-user, which is the distributor or manufacturer, to update data on sourcing, payment approvals, and expense management. With this software, suppliers don’t have to keep folders for each vendor, which they update every time there is delivery or throw whenever there are too many errors.

Digital Meeting

At times, vendors and suppliers need to meet in order to iron out the entire process. Perhaps there have been delays in recent. Perhaps the supplier is increasing rates. Perhaps the vendor is complaining about product quality. No matter what is to be discussed, if it can be done digitally, the parties involved should try to.

If the agenda can be written in an e-mail, that can also be an option. Doing so eliminates the need to use paper and mailing. On another note, a Skype meeting between those who are involved can reduce the use of fuel.

Electronic Invoice

Paperless purchase order

When you’re collecting money, it doesn’t make sense to pour cash into a heavily paper-based invoice system. To that end, you should invest in electronic invoicing or e-invoicing. There is much available software to automate your payable invoice processes. And they don’t compromise any details you need to see. They’re the same as the traditional receipts but much more sustainable, accessible, transparent, and convenient. Apart from this, e-invoicing reduces human errors which are otherwise committed in manual, paper-based processes.

Partnership with Sustainable Companies

As implied above, there are many people involved in the supply chain process. Some of them are the manufacturer, supplier, delivery person, and vendor. If a business wants to achieve sustainability in its supply chain operations, they should partner with companies that also practice the same philosophy.

For instance, the logistics company that is expected to deliver the goods should practice sustainability by using electrically-powered vehicles. Otherwise, the delivery company should purchase carbon offsets to neutralize their carbon emissions, instead.

From manufacturing to the shelf, stakeholders in the supply chain process can do something to reduce their carbon footprints and practice sustainability. One is to go paperless; the other is to go digital whenever applicable. Not only will sustainable supply chain management help the earth, but it will also reduce operational costs for suppliers, vendors, and manufacturers, among others.

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