How to Improve Supply Chain Sustainability

Sustainable Supply Chain Survey

by | May 8, 2014

Sustainable Supply Chain SurveyThe biggest barrier to the success of a company’s sustainable supply chain practices is a lack of leadership support, according to a PwC and APICS Foundation survey.

About 30 percent of operations executives surveyed said their company has a documented supply chain sustainability strategy, but only 17 percent of managers and below agreed. As a result, mid-level management is not able to take the steps needed to drive meaningful change in the supply chain, according to Sustainable Supply Chains: Making Value the Priority.

While disconnects about sustainable supply chain strategy may occur between the C-suite and mid-level management, 76 percent of operations professionals said their companies’ focus on creating a more sustainable supply chain will increase over the next three years. Already, 43 percent of operations professionals attributed cost reduction to supply chain sustainability initiatives, while 35 percent reported improvements in their company’s environmental impact.

A quarter of all respondents reported improved customer satisfaction as a result of programs tied to improving supply chain sustainability.

The major barrier to supply chain sustainability cited in the survey was that leadership does not supply the mandate, incentives, and resources to turn sustainability strategies into action. Additional barriers reported by supply chain professionals included inadequate sustainability education and training, significant confusion about the scope and company goals on supply chain sustainability, and the perception that the impact on shareholder value for such practices is difficult to measure.

More than a third of professionals (38 percent) said that barriers to success included the ability to measure and monitor to targets and goals. Another 40 percent believe employee performance measurement and incentives are not aligned to supply chain sustainability results.

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