From Process Integration to Sustainable Supply Chain and Product Management

Companies that successfully embedded life cycle approaches in business processes have increased the business value of sustainability. According to our approach, companies run through a maturity curve (Fig. 8.1), with more or less external support. To enhance stepwise success and business value with sustainability the maturity curve can be entered at any point. Importantly it is not where a company starts, but to know the pathway and the next step. Solutions are needed that are able to bring a company efficiently further without expensive rework or duplicating effort.

IT solutions are key to drive the value of sustainability approaches. Merging sustainability aspects, compliance aspects and supply chain aspects under one platform approach is most promising.

Data is the foundation. Actuals as well as targets are important. The business value must be very clear: top line, bottom line and risks involved. Sustainability must be executed; a tangible example is the approach presented: screen, scope, scale. It is important to converge organization and product performance. Therefore it is important to combine materials compliance, risk and sustainability management. Collaboration is important; not only internal, but also to stakeholders, the supply chain and customers. Design for sustainability must be done early and must be solved upstream, not downstream.

Fig. 8.1 The maturity curve of increasing business value

Fig. 8.2 Business value of sustainability

Life cycle related sustainability solutions are able to increase sales, improve the brand and reduce costs and risks, if these are integrated in business processes to do sustainable supply chain and product management of long-term and short term aspects of innovation and mitigation (Fig. 8.2).

Companies can rather freely decide where to start their journey and if they solve the topic in-house or with external support. However a suitable and smart IT and database solution is in any case indispensable.


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