How to create a more sustainable supply chain
The consequences of keeping up with customers’ wishes aren’t always positive. Especially if your supply chain isn’t as seamless as it could be. Why? Because even the smallest of inefficiencies can add up, and lead to all manner of waste during production, transport and even disposal. 40% of food doesn’t even make it to the market.1 Billions of euros are lost in the returns cycle and retailers are losing over 50% of the potential sales value in the process.2 Meanwhile, millions of euros of fashion items have been disposed of to avoid brand devaluation in secondary markets.
Waste takes many forms: empty truck miles, ineffective use of resources, unnecessary inventory, over capacity, fulfilment errors, returns and ultimately product disposal. Not to over-simplify these issues, but – in the main – you can track the cause back to out-of-date or inaccurate intelligence. This drives ineffective process – held together with best endeavours.
So how can you keep on keeping up? All while cutting waste and costs, and improving our environment? Read on to discover why the answer lies in cause and effect.
The world is ready for change…
It’s a message that consumers around the world are taking to heart. From reusable bags to paper straws, and bottle-free toiletries to meat-free diets. There’s no getting away from it – people are taking real steps to reduce waste. And they expect the businesses they buy from to do the same.
… here’s how to cut waste from your supply chain
So, you want to reduce your waste while remaining competitive. And your customers want you to be kinder to the environment. The best place to start? Your supply chain. As a taste of the potential savings, it’s estimated that supply chains could reduce food waste alone by $270bn.3
Bullwhips and bottlenecks
Consumer spending patterns dynamically shift with the weather or latest trend. But the information regarding this shift often trails far behind. And critically, out of step with demand, it creates increasing swings in inventory response further up the supply chain.
As inventory flows downstream, at every stage the booking in, storing, processing and shipping processes each drive a compound effect, creating bottlenecks in the seamless supply of goods. Each process creates bottlenecks while requiring pieces of data, information and insight from siloed, outmoded systems.
As a recent Sustainable Brands article asserts, “real-time visibility […] can drastically lower the amount of food wasted by spotting and preventing the circumstances that cause waste, before it happens. Because visibility reduces uncertainty, it can help reduce the amount of slack suppliers and grocers require to ensure they meet demand.”
With Zetes, you can see everything that’s happening in your supply chain. In real time.
With great visibility comes great agility. With our real-time event insight and supply chain intelligence, you can respond to issues before they take effect. You can also make important decisions quickly while addressing the root cause – so you continue to improve. While some supply chain visibility tools might on the surface look like a great solution, they may only cover part of the problem and struggle to work in real-time. So, make sure you’re working with a solution that scales, gives real-time insight across your network and stays as streamlined as you can.
Streamlined operations. Reduced costs. A lower environmental impact. And even more love from your customer base. As we’ll hope this article has gone some way to explaining, even the smallest changes to your supply chain can have a dramatic impact on waste. Like we said at the beginning, it’s all about cause and effect.