Integrating Sustainability in Supply Chain: The Role of Technology
It’s evident that technology plays a crucial role in integrating sustainability into the supply chain. By leveraging the power of the ever-improving tech, companies can further reinforce their sustainability performance, reduce their environmental impact, and enhance their social responsibility. Plus, when using sustainable techniques and resources, you can easily increase the efficiency of buildings, vehicles, and machinery at significant cost savings.
A sustainable supply chain is one that uses environmentally and socially sustainable practices at every stage to protect the people and environments across the whole chain. This means an organization upholds environmental and social standards for its own operations and their suppliers' operations. So, what’s the Role of Technology in sustainable supply chain management?
Supply Chain Sustainability: The Role of Technology
Digitalization of supply chain processes
Companies can digitize their supply chain processes to improve their efficiency, reduce waste, and enhance traceability. By using digital tools such as blockchain, IoT, and AI, businesses can track products and materials throughout the supply chain, identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, and reduce the risk of fraud and counterfeiting.
For example, with blockchain, every transaction in the supply chain can be recorded and verified, providing a transparent and auditable record of every movement of goods. This can help to ensure that products are sourced ethically and sustainably and that they meet regulatory requirements. By using blockchain, companies can also trace the origin of products and quickly identify any quality issues or defects.
What’s more, an Oxford Economics Survey found that 70% of businesses surveyed have implemented or tested artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the wake of one of the most memorable years in manufacturing and consumer sales.
Transportation is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By using electric and hybrid vehicles, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and improve air quality. Moreover, by using route optimization software (such as RoadWarrior, Samsara, and IntelliShift) companies can reduce transportation costs and minimize fuel consumption.
For example, RoadWarrior gives you a customized route based on real-time road traffic, client availability, and your own busy schedule. Last-mile drivers and dispatchers can optimize hundreds of stops, customize routes, and sync between web and mobile experiences.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal can help companies reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and decrease their carbon footprint. By installing renewable energy systems in their facilities and incorporating them into their supply chain processes, companies can reduce their energy costs and contribute to a cleaner environment.
The circular economy is a model in which waste is minimized, and resources are maximized by keeping materials in use for as long as possible. Technology can help companies implement circular economy practices by enabling product and material reuse, refurbishment, and recycling. For example, by using 3D printing technology, companies can create products from recycled materials and reduce waste.
Digital Supply Chain Twin
A Digital Supply Chain Twin, also known as a Digital Twin, is a virtual replica of a physical supply chain system, process, or product. It is a digital representation that includes all the relevant data and information about the physical system, such as its design, materials, performance, and operations.
The Digital Supply Chain Twin is created by collecting data from various sources, such as sensors, IoT devices, and enterprise systems, and using advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to create a digital model that simulates the behavior of the physical system. This allows companies to simulate and optimize the supply chain processes and systems, identify potential bottlenecks, and predict and prevent supply chain disruptions.
Plus, the Digital Supply Chain Twin can facilitate collaboration between different teams and departments, enabling them to work together more effectively and efficiently. The Digital Supply Chain Twin can also help companies identify and mitigate potential risks, such as supply chain disruptions, quality issues, and compliance violations.
In conclusion, technology can play a critical role in integrating sustainability in the supply chain. By leveraging technology, companies can improve their sustainability performance, reduce their environmental impact, and enhance their social responsibility. However, it is essential to ensure that technology is used responsibly and ethically to avoid unintended negative consequences.