Making Supply Chains More Sustainable

Instructor: Phil Berry, Founder & Principal, Sustainable Product Works, LLC
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Course Background

Supply chains are the part of the value creation system that your business or organization does not own. They are woven into the fabric of every business and every other organization. They are always larger and more complex than the organization’s owned-operations. They are critical in determining the amount of economic value, environmental impact and, increasingly, social value that will be created.

Every supply chain is different. Supply chains will be different even if two organizations provide the same product or service. Supply chain issues vary with the organization’s size, values, culture, structure, operational staffing levels, market, products and services, geographical location, choices of raw materials and processes, levels of outsourcing, and the model for creating value.

It is critical to remember that your organization is also part of someone else’s supply chain. Your customers look to you as a supplier and part of their value creation process.

Yes, this is complex work. If it were simple, more companies would be farther along in the work. With this complexity comes the opportunity to identify things that can differentiate your business or organization from your competition and create more value.

Session Goal and Content

Each student will walk away from this session with concepts, tools and a basic strategy to begin identifying and analyzing their supply chain for opportunities to improve.

Students will cover all of the topics below. In a one-day course, the level of depth will need to vary with the needs of the participants.

  • Concepts and tools for understanding your supply chain and framing the context for making progress
  • The brand, suppliers, customers and stakeholders, where is the economic value in greater sustainability in the supply chain?
  • Identifying issues of concern and opportunity related to sustainability
  • Goals, metrics and practical elements of what to focus on, what to leave until later and what to avoid
  • Brokers, agents, logistics providers and other potential external barriers to finding value
  • Commodities versus critical components: what makes sense?
  • Spec sheets, service level agreement, cost breakdown sheets and other internal barriers to integrating sustainability
  • Supplier negotiations and the internal barriers to recovering value
  • Concerns and steps to bring environmental and social considerations into material, process and purchasing decisions
  • Trust in your suppliers: dangers and opportunities
  • Supply chain audits and supplier partnerships: what works well and what is the black-hole for staff time and cost
  • Some “less common” notions of what makes a good supplier
  • Measurement 1: data, information, and knowledge management
  • Measurement 2: what we need to measure versus what we can afford to measure
  • Waste, energy and carbon: finding and reducing each while recovering the economic savings
  • Carbon in supply chains: why (and how) Scope 3 Emissions can make sense to measure and (begin to) report
  • Transportation, packaging and logistics
  • Why supply chains may be the most critical element of your innovation and design processes
  • Building something tangible to get started. We’ll end by creating a plan

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Case Studies

Each attendee should understand how other organizations are gaining value from this work. In each section of the course content listed above, we will use specific examples and short Case Studies from our customers and from other leading companies.

Recommended Preparation

Attendees learn best by doing. Several of the sections of the course content will be presented as exercises with group work and short reports out to the larger group to share learnings.

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