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Beyond Sustainability to Supply Chain Resilience

Sustainability is becoming more and more important as businesses look to address how their business affects the health of the world. It is fair to say that many of these companies are doing it to satisfy the increased concern that customers are sharing for the environment, but others are looking at sustainability as a way to handle fluctuating fuel costs, unsure power distribution around the globe, and other such disruptions. This article by Arthur van Gerven explores some of the reasons that sustainability need not just be a publicity stunt for a supply chain company. For instance, consider greenhouse gasses. Regardless of where you and your company stand in the man-made/natural global warming argument, governments are taking steps to implement regulatory requirements. These directly affect how your supply chain can do business, and having a resilient supply chain can make your organization survive while others struggle. Supply chain managers should also look to more direct problems, such as energy and supply demand: Supply chain planners also should consider more seriously how rising international tensions and competition for global energy and mineral supplies could affect operations, or the sourcing of plants and raw materials. Optimizing existing and projected business flows is a very sophisticated management process, but count for nothing if the underlying assumptions suddenly change. Consider the implications if the Suez Canal ““ or the Panama Canal ““ were to close; less likely, perhaps, than other risks, but just as far-reaching in its consequences. The economy around oil supplies is also taking its toll on supply chain planning ““ the expansion of China's car market, for example, is having a profound effect on the availability and price of oil for the rest of the world. The shift from Europe and America to Asia means that many supply chains may find themselves moving closer and closer to China than expected. The key is to have a supply chain that is resilient: one that can “flex and adapt” to the new economic, political, and environmental factors that stem from a global marketplace.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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