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How to Implement a Sustainable Supply Chain

April 29, 2022 Kevin Baxter

Sustainable Supply Chain

After reading up on green logistics and environmentally friendly practices, let's say a business is sold on the need to implement a sustainable supply chain. But where would one begin? The good news is there are a number of steps to implement a sustainable supply chain that can get a business on the right track, even if it doesn't go from zero to 60 right away. In fact, companies with well-established, efficient operations are probably already at least part way toward supply chain sustainability without even realizing it. How to implement a sustainable supply chain starts with data, and using that information to make smart decisions planning shipping routes, capacity options, the greenest form of transport and inventory needs. All of the data-driven decision-making is made easier by a good TMS (transportation management system) and made even easier when that management is done by experts. These are outlined in more detail in our Sustainable Logistics Practices article. On top of that, sustainable supply chains avoid overproduction - which data can help with as well - and minimize waste, finding ways to reuse materials and returns.

What is sustainable supply chain management?

Sustainable supply chain management involves valuing  the elements of sustainability in a supply chain strategy - those being People, Planet and Profit - with a special emphasis on environmental impacts. Those values go alongside the traditional supply chain management factors of speed, reliability, transparency and cost savings. Focusing on environmental impact in sustainable supply chain management encompasses every element of the supply chain, including

  • How raw materials are sourced - and who does it,
  • How products are designed and developed,
  • How products are manufactured,
  • What packaging materials are used
  • How products are transported
  • How products are stored
  • Who sells the products
  • How the products are used
  • How returns are processed
  • And how products - and waste in the production process - are disposed of, and reused

That's no shortage of things to think about, and there is plenty of minutiae built in. But sustainable supply chain management has dual positive impacts when done right - it helps the environment by reducing a company's carbon footprint and makes for a more efficient supply chain that should save money as well.

If you're ready to take the next step, at InTek Freight & Logistics, we can help. Just tell us what you need and we'll discuss how our expertise can help with the unique shipping challenges your business faces. Rather do a bit more research first? View our Freight Guides for comprehensive articles and eBooks on all things freight and logistics.

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