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How to Transition to a Sustainable Supply Chain

The drive towards sustainability has been picking up speed for decades now. What was once mostly a PR move has become something of a matter of urgency for businesses as much as it is for individuals, as the consequences of our mistreatment of the environment become increasingly clear. Of course, making a company more sustainable is no small feat. It can be challenging to know where to start, but businesses with extensive supply chains have a clear target to hit.

Few aspects of a business-particularly a business in the fashion industry-can cause sustainability problems quite like a supply chain. From the acquisition of raw materials to the manufacturing process and the transportation of goods at each phase, there is plenty of room for unsustainable practices to fester. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve a sustainable supply chain and improve every link’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Streamlining your supply chain operation

One of the most effective ways to improve your sustainability is to streamline your production and cut out the unnecessary links from your production. Supply chains are complicated, sprawling beasts that can quickly get out of hand, and sometimes just the act of going through everything with a fine-toothed comb and trimming the fat can dramatically improve business.

Of course, that is no small task in and of itself. Using an effective supply chain management solution can not only help you make these changes but ensure your supply chain doesn’t drift back into old ways afterward. Supply chain technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, and new software exists to connect your supply chain partners like you never imagined. Learn more about ensuring supply chain compliance with the Suuchi GRID.

Create transparency in your supply chain

Supply chains can be notoriously opaque from one link to the next. This is problematic for various reasons, but in the context of sustainability, striving for transparency can help prevent bad habits from creeping in on the fringes of your operation. If you have a transparent supply chain, you can ensure your business partners (or their partners’ partners) won’t undermine your sustainability efforts since everything will be out in the open and visible to every link in the supply chain.

Ultimately transparency comes from opening up communication and fostering a community of honesty and accountability within your supply chain. Communication on this scale can be difficult to achieve for global partners, so SCM software becomes essential to any effort at bringing partners on board with your intentions. Learn how the Suuchi GRID opens communication lines and leads to a more transparent supply chain. 

Sustainability doesn’t happen overnight, but proper planning speeds it up

If you are running a large company with a substantial supply chain, you will not make it sustainable overnight. Instead, tackle individual areas of your supply chain—even individual partners or departments—and get them on the right path in sections, rather than trying to nudge your entire chain in the right direction all at once.

Think of it like moving an enormous barrel of rocks. You can’t possibly move the whole barrel, but you can take the individual rocks out and carry them one at a time. Successful supply chain managers will have the experience and vision to reach your goals, so it’s essential to ensure they have the right project management tools to make implementation go smoothly.

Follow up with partners to ensure compliance

Supply chain transparency is necessary, but your supply chain management system still relies on human users for efficacy. Be sure to follow up with your suppliers and manufacturers regarding the changes you have initiated and be clear about how standards will be measured in the future.

Share your successes on the road to a sustainable supply chain

Improving your business’s sustainability can be difficult, but do not underestimate the difficulty your suppliers are going through in their attempts to achieve those same goals. When you have overcome an obstacle on your path to a sustainable supply chain, be sure to share your experience with your suppliers so that they can learn from it as well. 

LEARN MORE: Tracking your journey toward a sustainable supply chain is essential for measuring progress. Learn how the Suuchi GRID provides data and analytics to support your management team and prove sustainable practices to customers.

Written by Suuchi Industry Insights.

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