Category Archives: Sustainability

Swegways for Smegheads this Valentine’s Day!

Despite the fact that more and more natural resources are becoming scarce, there are still quite a number of smegheads that haven’t adopted the 3Rs.

Up until now, it’s been quite perplexing as to how we can deal with this problem.

However, after catching up on the public defender‘s blog and reviewing the 10 cautionary supply chain tales of christmas, we think we have a solution!

Since these smegheads often feel entitled (after all, they are taking the environment for granted), play to that entitlement and give them a free Swegway hoverboard and tell them they deserve it, that they shouldn’t have to use their own two feet to get around. And when the Swegway goes up in smoke, chances are, one way or the other, they’ll get the message. ;-)

On the Seventh day of X-Mas (2016)


On the seventh day of X-Mas
my blogger gave to me:
Sustainable Posts
e-Procurement Posts
some SRM Posts
some CLM Posts
some Best Practice Posts
some Trend Bashing Posts
and some ranting on stupidity …

Sustainability. Corporate Social Responsibility. They are more than just buzzwords. They are essential to not only productive Procurement but corporate survival. If you’re not careful, and a critical resource required for production gets exhausted, then what? If you’re not cautious, and banned materials get into your products and you get hit with tens of millions of fines your company can’t afford as it is operating on razor thin margins, then what? And so on.

The reality is, Failure to Monitor a Supply Chain for Risk Can Tarnish Your Brand.

Don’t forget! A Major Disruption to Supply Chains Occurs Every Day — Is Yours Ready?

That’s one reason A Financial Health Check Should Be a Pre-Qualification of Every Supplier Qualification.

You have to Stop Blaming the Supplier! Melamine in the Milk is STILL Your Fault
After all, You’d Think It Would Be Obvious By Now that You Should Not Poison Your Customer!

You Need to Get Sustainable Because Customers Won’t Pay!

Sustainablity Requires Shared Understanding

Waste is costly. More costly than you think.
So here’s A Starter’s Guide to Zero Waste
Reasons you should Waste Not, Want Not
and Grocery Retailers Waste So Much Food It Should Be Criminal!

And even though you’re focussed on that bottom line, remember to ask yourself:
Is Your Supply Management Ethical?
Do You Know the Rules of Ethical Supplier Interaction?
Dilemma or Not, Buyers Still Must Take Ethics into Account!

And while you might not be big on document management,
Content is a Cornerstone of Compliance

In conclusion, come back tomorrow for the eighth day of X-Mas, and Don’t Be a Smeghead!

Environmental Sustentation 20: Oil & Natural Gas

Oil and Natural Gas is an environmental damnation in more ways than one. It’s dirty fuel, that is regularly subject to price shocks, and it’s collection and transport often result in significant disasters to the environment, your bank account, and your reputation.

And even though you should move to greener power, in some cases you can’t. Biofuel is not always a viable alternative for transportation, especially for ocean freight (where it takes a lot of combustion to move those mega-carriers) or air travel. And you still need to power your current energy production systems until the new ones come online. So you are stuck with using oil & natural gas for at least some of your energy needs for the time being. (But hopefully with a plan to use less and less over time.)

And, as a result, have to live with the risks of shortages, price spikes, disasters, and the resulting financial and reputational damage that will result. So how do you survive?

Accurately predict future needs.

If your demand is going to spike because of expected sales spikes, or projected energy shortages in other areas, that is something you want to know in advance so you can be sure to contract for sufficient supply. Similarly, if demand is dropping, that is also good to know as maybe you can cut shorter contracts and buy more on the spot market without serious repercussions.

Acquire expert supply and price projections — from various sources.

Don’t just monitor supply and prices, try to understand where it is going so you can source, or re-source, at the best times. While an unexpected disaster, political decision, or pumping slowdown can change everything, the more informed you are, the better off you’ll be.

Have disaster recovery plans in place.

If there is a shortage due to a disaster, you want an alternate source. Don’t sole source if you can avoid it, and make sure you include a provision with the provider who gets the smaller award to increase business over time and that they can support a spike if you need it. If there is a transportation disaster, hopefully you don’t take possession or responsibility until it’s in your storage tank, but either way, you better have a plan to get another shipment sent through an alternate carrier, possibly from your other supplier, ASAP.

Start sourcing clean power and building your own power plants.

Most places in the world can produce a lot of power from wind, solar, or hydro-power, and not only should you be looking to buy from energy companies that produce this power, which can power your equipment, buildings, and even short-haul transportation (that run on battery packs), but if you are a large factor or office building that uses the equivalent of a small power plant of energy, you should be building your own, and only taking off the grid when you need supplemental. With so many regular failures in overtaxed and antiquated power grids, this is just good planning.

While we can’t rid our dependence on oil and natural gas just yet, we can certainly reduce our need for it and this type of planning will not only make it more affordable (if demand lessens), but also make energy consumption and transportation safer and more reliable.

One Key Question to Ask When Selecting a Multi-Criteria Supplier Sustainability Monitoring Solution

In our last post on Key Questions When Selecting a Multi-Criteria Supplier Sustainability Monitoring Solution, we noted that not only can supply risk management not be siloed, but in order for it to be successful, it must be centralized through a CoE that puts together policies and procedures that not only ensure that

  • every supplier is covered
  • on all relevant dimensions
  • but not on irrelevant dimensions
  • without any duplication of effort

but also ensure that

    • there are no false positives in the risk assessment and
    • there are no false negatives

In order to effectively implement this holistic approach, an organization will require a good multi-criteria supplier and sustainability risk monitoring solution that can proactively monitor, assess, and re-asses supplier sustainability and risk using data from dozens, if not hundreds, of disparate sources that paint a comprehensive picture of supplier sustainability.

But not every platform will make the cut. Definitely not all will meet the integration requirements, which is one key requirement of a good platform. More specifically, ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability information is vital information that can and should be used in many different supply management platforms such as e-Sourcing, e-Procurement, CLM, SRM and other platforms that support a wide variety of supply management processes and workflows. As such, this integration should be trivial and for major supply management platforms, almost “out-of-the-box”. Moreover, in some organizations, this information also needs to be available to other departments that, and no surprise here, are reliant on different platforms and responsible for smaller or indirect spends not (fully) under the control of Procurement. As such, the platform needs a well defined, and easy to use, API that can allow the data to be pulled out for any platform that needs it, and that allows any proprietary or limited access data the organization has access to on the supplier’s sustainability and risk profile to be pushed into the system. Why?

For more complete details on this requirement, as well as key questions to ask when evaluating a multi-criteria supplier sustainability monitoring solution, check out Sourcing Innovation’s latest white paper on 5 Essential Criteria for Selecting a Supplier Sustainability & Risk Monitoring Solution, sponsored by Ecovadis, that will help you understand just what a good sustainability and risk monitoring solution needs to do.

Waste Not. Want Not.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability is all the rage with Generation Y and, in many countries, is essentially the law (where environmental protection is a key concern of citizens and law makers alike) — but are you doing everything you should (even if it is not yet legislated)?

Basically, if you procure it, and it is not used, you wasted it — and if you are not careful, it will go to a landfill, and that should be unacceptable.

However, in many companies, the focus on CSR and Sustainability is on the supply chain, and the Tier 1 (and Tier 2) suppliers as it is expected the company will comply with all laws and adhere to its own Sustainability and CSR policies, but this over-focus on the supply chain often results in drips of waste throughout the organization that, when added up, create a small pond, if not a large lake.

What do we mean by this?

Due to a lack of initiative or control by Procurement, the following happens in most organizations:

  • paper, paper everywhere especially in the back office (as AP needs to print invoices that fail OCR to re-enter them, legal has to print contracts to review them, managers need their reports on paper, etc.)
  • obsolete MRO inventory piles up in the stock room as excess parts for equipment replaced years ago doesn’t go with the equipment
  • low-cost defective products pile up in the back of the warehouse as it’s not worth the perceived return costs for minimal cost products or low volumes
  • non-recyclable packaging goes to the trash and the local landfills (and dumping costs) pile up
  • broken pallets litter the corner of the yard and are left to rot

But Procurement could prevent most of this.

  • demand management reduces paper especially if Procurement ensures AR, Legal, Managers, and anyone else who generally uses a lot of paper has dual monitor systems. A couple of hundred on a good extra monitor can reduce paper usage by 80% and only has to be replaced every 4 to 5 years.
  • MRO management (software) either in house or third party can instantly detect when inventory is obsolete and sell it to someone who needs it before all it is useful for is scrap metal
  • up-front return process definition and management ensures that defective products get promptly returned, or recycled, to make sure scrap yards don’t increase
  • insistence on reusable or recyclable packaging and making it mandatory in contracts can prevent packaging waste
  • better pallet acquisition can increase lifespan and a recycling/disposal policy can make sure the wood goes to good use

In other words, unless Procurement makes an effort to define its wants as waste free as possible, it will get its wasteful wants. Another point to ponder.