Sustainability in the Supply Chain

the path towards a circular future

Adopting sustainable practices in the supply chain has become a priority for companies wishing to help preserve the environment and improve their reputation. Integrating sustainability into supply chain management can generate a number of significant benefits. Let’s discover together the main benefits of implementing sustainable strategies along the life cycle of products within a supply chain.

 

What is sustainability? “Sustainability is the ability of a process or state to be maintained at a steady level” a definition found within the Brundtland Report published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, part of the United Nations Environment Program, and also known as “Our Common Future”.

The guiding principle of sustainability is represented by the concept of sustainable development, which, since 2005, has been broken down into the aspects of environmental, economic and social sustainability; these 3 aspects represent the 3 interconnected pillars on which every related concept and process should be developed.

Environmental sustainability

refers to the ability to maintain the quality, reproducibility and availability of natural resources

Economic sustainability

refers to the ability to ensure economic efficiency and income for businesses and to generate income and employment for the livelihood of the population

Social sustainability

the ability to ensure long-term well-being for all people while preserving security, health, education, democracy, social cohesion and justice, equally distributed across classes and gender

sustainability

The sedApta solution

sedApta aims at supporting the evolution of manufacturing supply chain business processes for sustainability management starting from the planning stages of end-to-end activities, i.e., from the material procurement and all the way to their reuse or disposal.

 

The context in which sedApta has adjusted its proposal relates to the use of Industry 4.0 technologies for Green Supply Chain (GSC) management, addressing issues related to the Triple Bottom Line (the 3 pillars) of sustainable manufacturing with the goal of capturing and integrating drivers for sustainability, measuring, evaluating and reducing the level of emissions from operations, and monitoring social and economic impact through the creation of a circular industry.

In order to achieve this goal, the main elements on which the development has been focused are as follows:

  • supply chain processes modeled through a Business Process Management (BPM) tool with reference to both decision-making and production activities and with particular attention to information flows;
  • inclusion of Metrics and KPIs for measuring sustainability in the aforementioned processes, with particular attention to sustainability reporting aspects;
  • new production planning algorithms aimed at optimizing all aspects of sustainability with reference to the above KPIs;
  • new traceability and monitoring system of production and transportation related to product storage and distribution to measure, report (sustainability report) and evaluate corporate sustainability aspects also in relation to what is planned;
  • new algorithms for planning reverse logistics activities aimed at remanufacturing, reuse or recycling, in accordance with sustainability KPIs and capable of feeding into the traceability system. Within the suite, these algorithms are integrated into the decision support tool, the sedApta Control Tower;
  • verticalization and application of the above elements to vertical use cases of specific segments, particularly with a focus on the fashion industry.

Within the several modules that constitute the sedApta suite for planning and execution of operations (S&OP – S&OE – MOM), significant and specific KPIs have been implemented and made available to keep control over sustainability aspects as well.

In defining and implementing these KPIs, reference was made to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, which represent and establish the benchmark metrics for defining the impact of companies in the three TBL pillars.

Main benefits of implementing sustainable strategies along the product life cycle within a manufacturing supply chain.

Sustainability measurement along the product life cycle

Adopting a sustainable approach enables the measurement and evaluation of environmental, social and economic factors for each stage, in the product life cycle

Circular industry model

This approach promotes the reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery of materials, creating a circular economy in which waste becomes a resource

Improved production planning

It allows for optimizing resources, reducing waste, and improving overall efficiency. The planning takes into account not only economic factors but also environmental and social ones, ensuring a balance between profit and sustainability

Production sustainability monitoring

The use of technology enables automatic monitoring of sustainability data during the production phases.This allows effective control of environmental impact, assessing key indicators and providing useful information for the preparation of the sustainability report

Competitive advantages derived from remanufacturing and recycling logic

Simulative analysis of potential business models, including remanufacturing, reuse, and recycling of finished products, provides insight into the competitive advantages resulting from these practices

azienda sostenibile

The integration of sustainability and supply chain paves the way for a circular future in which efficiency, reduced environmental impact and social responsibility become the norm. Measuring sustainability, applying the circular industry model, improving production planning, and monitoring sustainability in production are just some of the benefits that can be achieved. Investing in sustainability not only improves corporate image, but also creates a lasting competitive advantage in the modern business landscape.

sedApta - governance management in business processes for sustainability

We rely on Industry 4.0 technologies to address TBL issues for sustainable production with the goal of:

  • Capturing drivers for sustainability;
  • Measure, evaluate and reduce the level of emissions from operations;
  • Monitor social and economic impact through the creation of a circular industry.

The features that make the sedApta suite a valuable tool to support sustainability-related needs are many and cover various aspects in both supply chain management and Manufacturing Operation Management and planning practices. Below are the basic concepts and modules where these features find their place.

Modeling of supply chain processes in relation to sustainability management (BPM – Orchestrator)

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Traceability and calculation of activities in terms of energy consumption (Data Access Service, Shop Floor Monitor)

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Transportation tracking and measurement system related to product storage and distribution (NextRoute)

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Metrics and KPIs for monitoring sustainability in processes within the supply chain (Control Tower – Analytics Bricks)

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Setting and transmission of the same to feed third-party tools (Data Connector)

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