Daily Archives: August 18, 2011

The Triple Bottom Line will Soon Be The Norm

Is your Supply Management organization ready?

The Triple Bottom Line — which balances economic, environmental, and social performance in order to make a corporation more sustainable — is gaining more support by the day. As per this recent article over on Chief Executive on the Shareholder Push for the “Triple Bottom Line”, the percentage of social and environmental shareholder resolutions that garnered at least 30% shareholder support, rose from a mere 3% in 2005 to 26.6% in 2010. At the current rate that support is increasing, it’s just a few years before the majority of social and environmental shareholder resolutions exceed the 30% threshold and not many more years before the majority of well-formed social and environmental resolutions pass.

So, is your Supply Management organization ready?

Unless it is a true CSR leader, probably not. So where should it start? Near the end of 2008, CAPS published a Critical Issues Report that addressed the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework offered some suggestions for an organization that wanted to get started on the TBL path. Specifically, the report recommended that an organization:

  • Smart small (but do something).
  • Insure proposed strategies are aligned with overall corporate strategies and goals.
  • Incorporate green into your purchasing and sourcing processes.
  • Be proactive.
  • Make sure you’re not just greenwashing.
  • Form a cross-functional team to scale your efforts company wide.

The “Cloud” is Not a Magic Mirror Nor is it Omniscient

Quotes like this one:

Organizations need the visibility of their supply chains because they never know when they might be required to make a change to respond to world and market events. They have been actually talking about this kind of visibility for the past two decades, but now with new Cloud capabilities they are advancing into that environment

from a recent article in World Trade that purported to describe a smarter supply chain really bug me. Not only can one argue that the speaker is implying that the Cloud is necessary for good supply chain visibility, which it’s not, but that the writer, who notes that there has been greater company acceptance of the Cloud because the Cloud … can provide answers to new and existing problems, also appears to be arguing that the Cloud is necessary for greater visibility as well as smarter supply chains. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Cloud is Not a Fluffy Magic Box (and there are more reasons and yet more reasons that this is the case) and simply throwing an application into the Cloud does not make it better. The nebulous Cloud does not enable applications that cannot be delivered over the traditional internet from a traditional data center. For most providers, the Cloud just happens to be whatever they have — multi-tenant SaaS in a redundant data center if you’re lucky, single-tenant ASP if you’re not. There’s nothing special or magic about it. And there’s no visibility inherent in it. The visibility is in the applications it is hosting (whatever it is).

Similarly, there is no “smart” in Cloud. Any “smart” is again in the application that is being hosted. And there is no magic data connector in the Cloud either. It’s not Cloud-based solutions that provide more affordable ways for suppliers to link to a common database — it’s more efficient providers that use economies of scale to offer good ETL solutions at fair prices to a large customer base.

Finally, the “Cloud” is NOT a Supply Chain Solution. e-Sourcing. e-Procurement. Inventory Management. Demand Management. Spend Analysis. Optimization. Those are Supply Chain Solutions. The Cloud? It’s just a delivery mechanism. Nothing more.