How Sustainability Creates New Opportunities

How Sustainability Creates New Opportunities - SUMMER 2010...

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The Four-Point Supply Chain Checklist: How Sustainability Creates New Opportunity SUMMER 2010 VOL. 51 NO. 4 REPRINT NUMBER 51401 Interview by Michael S. Hopkins
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SUMMER 2010 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 65 SUSTAINABILITY HERE’S ONE MORE REASON supply chains are so interesting: Every supply chain is a ready- built collection of modern day innovation levers. All those diverse inputs, all that cross-boundary creative collaboration, all that access to multilevel sources of on-the-ground information can, if attention is paid, answer questions you didn’t even know you had. Managed correctly, a supply chain can be an organization’s neural network. It can surprise you. It can help make a company new. Edgar Blanco knows that. Which is why he’s a little disappointed right now. Blanco is research director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics and an expert in the design of environmentally efficient supply chains and innovations in emerging markets. His work provides him a window onto the opportunities that supply chain management can offer to THE LEADING QUESTION Where do supply chain goals and sustainability goals profit- ably meet? FINDINGS ! Packaging redesign can reduce costs and environmental impact. ! Transportation programs can be tweaked to greatly reduce carbon footprints. ! Suppliers can do sustainability assessments that uncover shared opportunities. ! Sustainability decisions can be communicated to enhance reputation and align compa- nies and consumers. The Four-Point Supply Chain Checklist: How Sustainability Creates New Opportunity Supply chain managers are uniquely positioned to consider — and benefit from — sustainability initiatives. Edgar Blanco of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics says there are four key opportunities. INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL S. HOPKINS Some Poland Spring water bottles were redesigned so they still stack efficiently — but they use less material for cheaper transportation and easier recycling. SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU
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66 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW SUMMER 2010 SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU SUSTAINABILITY companies — and he sees companies not capitalizing on them. Supply chain managers are stuck, he says: “They’re still very much focused on cost.” Not that cost isn’t pivotal, but, ironically, a cost focus to the ex- clusion of innovation and sustainability payoffs can be a path not only to missing out on business-building noncost benefits but to missing out on cost-cutting benefits themselves, Blanco says. That dynamic is changing, though. As managers of supply chains become better versed in the language of making a business case for change and also in the language of sustainability, they are getting better, Blanco says, at suggesting smart improvements in operations, logistics and sourcing that can be environ- mentally innovative and present real cost savings. Blanco spoke with
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2011 for the course BUS M 361 taught by Professor Cynthiawallin during the Fall '10 term at BYU.

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How Sustainability Creates New Opportunities - SUMMER 2010...

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