SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT TASK Harvard Case Solution & Analysis



            Sustainability is one of the most critical components of an efficient supply chain management. Supply chain sustainability is considered as the key driver of business value and it is also one of the most important components for assessing the performance of the corporate social responsibility of the companies. When most of the companies in 1990s in the west had started to face issues within their supply chains as a result of their poor working conditions, most of the companies have started to address and value supply chain sustainability by creating new programs. This paper attempts to analyze the concept of sustainability in the light of three specific issues which are materials, toxic discharge and energy consumption.


            Most of the companies can easily control and reduce their costs significantly by responding to and mitigating all the supply chain risks. By better managing their supply chain operating associated with the sourcing of the key inputs in their production processes, they can better manage to control their costs, reduce their risk premiums and also protect their market shares.

Nowadays, all the companies can attempt to save themselves from supply chain delays and supply chain interruptions by having regulatory compliance programs and robust management systems in place. For those companies that require a single input for their production process, reducing the environmental and all sort of social risks is highly important for these companies. For instance, a supplier with material challenges could create delays in the delivery and as a result the production process of the companies would suffer. In a similar manner a supplier who is faced with poor practices for water management could face delays in sourcing resulting in unexpected shortages (Cooper & Lambert, 1997).

In order to account for the commercial issues related to material procurement, most of the companies have started to make use of the sustainable procuring practices. Through these practices, the companies make sure that their suppliers are able to anticipate all the possible changes in the laws and regulations and they can also adapt to the extended product responsibility regulation so that all the risks associated with future potential liability are minimized. Moreover, the companies around the world are also facing more pressure from their respective government to comply with specific regulations related to sustainability.

Some of these regulations include the US regulations related to human rights in the supply chain and conflict minerals, the illegal timber law in European Union and also REACH (Registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals. As the companies start to realize the size of their exposures and the scope of their supply chains they would become more adaptable in responding to these and other regulations (Halldorsson, Kotzab&Mikkola, 2007). Apart from this, there are many sustainable supply chain activities through which the companies can reduce their sourcing costs.

For instance, if the management of the company manages their inputs such as natural materials, synthetic materials, water and energy with responsibility, then they would be able to reduce the environmental footprint as well as their procurement costs also. Most of the companies around the world offer their workers with technical assistance to implement material and energy use efficiency improvement programs and practices. This helps them to cut their costs basically and also avoid the increases in the prices of the sourcing materials.In a similar manner, those companies that buy agricultural materials and products from external suppliers can also make use of supply chain sustainability to improve their cost and resource efficiency by forming partnerships with the farmers in order to create and adapt to more sustainable farming practices..................

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