This month I will pen a series of articles for searchManufacturingERP.com around the nature of sustainable supply chains. In the second of a four-part series I consider some of the onboarding steps through the use of communication instruments and areas of resistance organizations face in pursuit of sustainable goals and objectives.
Developing a sustainable supply chain based on the triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social elements can mean different things to different people. I recently presented a briefing on sustainable reporting to a group of certified public accountants. According to my unscientific survey, more than 90% of the audience members had never participated in a review of sustainable reporting, nor had they been involved in reviewing their clients’sustainability practices. How then do you convey sustainability to suppliers in a way that is both meaningful to the manufacturer and clear to the suppliers?
Without question, knowing what is important to the organization — in terms of promoting its strategy and what is meaningful, or material, to enabling that strategy — is the first step. From these strategic areas can come policies and procedures that govern how employees work internally and engage externally with suppliers. Such policies and procedures are often summarized in two forms of communication that manufacturers can use to provide direction to employees and to external stakeholders and value chain members and set the tone of the relationship.
Some suppliers might elect not to participate in a newly formed sustainability program or may use it as leverage in negotiations to ask for higher prices or relaxed delivery standards. Resistance to change is a fact of human nature that companies should not be surprised to encounter. In addition, implementing supply chain sustainability policies in such functions as logistics, purchasing and finance often requires a change in behavior.
Please visit searchManufacturingERP.com to read the article in its entirety. Please feel free to visit our website for more information on our partnerships around development of a sustainability program.