Green Sourcing and Supply Chain Tips

Jari Tavi, BasWare's CTO, recently penned a guest column in Supply Chain Management Review that suggests a couple of the "best practices from world-class organizations in establishing green supply chains". While most go without saying -- e.g., "get buy-in throughout the enterprise" -- there's some advice that you might not have heard already. One of these is simple -- almost too simple -- but greatly overlooked in the green equation. And that's determining up-front criteria in vendor selection, hence making green a sourcing issue as much as a back-end monitoring and audit one. From a technology perspective, Tavi suggests that "before you automate Purchase-to-Pay operations, establish sound procurement and payment processes ... then you can implement a rules-based eProcurement system to incorporate your procurement criteria -- e.g., green standards -- into the purchasing process."

A great example here is the carbon footprint travel calculator that Rearden Commerce offers as part of its solution. To this end, I also agree with Tavi that "when implementing technology, it is critical to focus on the end-user experience. Automated eProcurement systems should be extremely easy to use to encourage usage on every desktop and de facto enforcement of your green policies". The only problem is that this presupposes that you've identified, negotiated with and audited the practices of the right green suppliers in the first place. In today's cost cutting climate, that is easier said than done. To reduce the costs for companies in this endeavor, methinks it's high-time for the content providers of the world such as D&B, Equifax, CVM Solutions and AECsoft to begin to offer green enrichment fields as part of the data they sell.

- Jason Busch

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