Green Supply Chain Reporting Dilemma – Putting Information Before Technology

Now that Green Supply Chains have established themselves as the predominant means of achieving action towards sustainability, there is intense focus on how the progress towards sustainability is measured and reported. Why is this important? It is a common refrain that what you cannot measure, you cannot manage. For most part we agree with it. Of course there are some intangible bits such as team spirit or supply chain collaboration which are difficult to measure objectively and directly. Indirect or subjective measures can quite quickly degenerate into pure exercise of bureaucratic nonsense. And, we all have seen instances of that. However, if the measurement methodology is developed, deployed and used properly there is no reason that both objective and subjective measures can form a great building block of green supply chains. Better still, companies can save money and improve productivity, the essential area in a competitive environment.

There is a school of thought that puts performance reporting at the centre-piece of the entire action. The reasoning is simple – if you start measuring and reporting, slowly you will start seeing action towards improvement. While there is some soundness in this logic, we caution against a cookie-cutter approach to measurement and reporting – which is often deployed in such cases. Putting technology before information in this manner is akin to putting a cart before the horse.

From an organizational perspective, it is crucial to understandvIT Equipment Supplies processes to an exceptional level prior to engagement of deploying technology to help the business. Too often the technology leads the process leading to poor utilization of the resource at hand, a poor fit to the company business and in terms of information, “Rubbish in – Rubbish out”.

Good supply chain technology is inherently linked to clearly defined processes, and through this, excellent improvements in performance ensue,

In this article we will discuss how to create, deploy, use, present information and use the output of a good green supply chain performance evaluation methodology. Before we do that, let us briefly examine the benefits of such a methodology to understand in more details why it is important.

Benefits of Performance Evaluation

A consensus view of the situation

While all the parties will have their own view on the current ‘greenness’ at any point of time and how the green supply chain project is progressing, only a comprehensive performance evaluation methodology can achieve a consensus view of the situation prevailing at any point of time. There might be minor quibbles with the measurement methodology, timing etc. but in general most parties will agree with most of the findings. International standards of measurement are also helping to improve consensus in areas such as green supply chain practices. This provides them with a common platform to build their further discussions on – whether they are for allocation of resources, for discontinuing some projects or re-enforcing some others, or for incentives alignment. This common platform is extremely important to achieve in order to have an informed discussion within an organisation, as well as, with the supply chain partners outside the organisation.


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