I firmly believe that most columnists, analysts and bloggers often resort to "step plans" out of laziness. Simply put, these types of analyses are easy to write and we often believe -- whether we're right or not -- that people eat them up. To be candid, most such analyses stink. But occasionally, the useful gem appears. I think this 12 step analysis authored by 2 IBM consultants is a good example of such a genre. In the above-linked piece, we learn some useful steps to make "supply chains greener, more efficient and more cost effective" across industries. These include the usual green cost reduction and green subjects such as packaging alterations, product and manufacturing redesign and shrinking supply chain distances. But the authors also present some lesser-known suggestions including "altering service-level agreements to reduce 'unnecessary' requirements that decrease efficiency. For example min-max and just-in-time clauses could force suppliers to make small, expedited deliveries that drive up energy use dramatically." Another useful suggestion is taking a lifecycle perspective on both cost and green impact. Consider how those famous hippies and makers of mediocre but well-branded ice cream, Ben and Jerry, found in a study that only "2 percent of its carbon output came from manufacturing -- the bulk, 46 percent, came from retail operations such as refrigeration".
- Jason Busch