Changing Perspective

18 07 2010

Taking time to look at a topic or issue from a different angle can often be a rewarding experience.  You may be challenged to begin with, though as you discuss the topic from say the perspective of your supplier or a particular type of customer, new or clearer perspectives will emerge.  You can think of this as role playing.  Have some fun with it and consider doing it as a group exercise with your colleagues.  What is really powerful is when you actually do the exercise with your suppliers and customers.

Now that you have considered the current situation or time period why not change the time to what it was like for that supplier or customer 2 years ago, 5 years ago or even 10 years ago.  What is the progress you have made since then on improving your service, meeting their expectations and what have they changed to meet your requirements?  Have there been changes in the information you need from them in terms of say working conditions?  What about changes to the materials and processes they use?

Reflecting back on the progress you both have made will provide a renewed sense of progress.  Now take your perspective into the future 2, 5 and 10 years.  What changes do you seeing that will become the normal ways of businesses operating?  How has the way you design your products and services taken into account the use of resources, the sustainability cycles and social impacts?  Are you preparing for those?  There are some great processes available to help facilitate this forecasting (some of these are mentioned in previous posts including how backcasting may be a better methodolgy than forecasting).

Enjoy the new awareness you gain from changing your perspective!





A Greener Upstream

22 06 2010

Have you thought about how much influence you can have on greening your upstream supply chain?

If not, there is huge potential.
If you have thought about it and put it into action then share your stories with others of what you did and how it went.

To help you think about the potential lets stop for a moment and have a coffee together at your favourite cafe.

Now to get that coffee into your hand there are multiple choices that have been made such as:

  • who did they purchase the beans, milk, sugar and chocolate/cinnamon from?
  • are any of those products fair-trade or organic?
  • what was the packaging made from (paper, plastic or metal)?
  • is the packaging single use or multi use?  Can it be recycled at the end of its use?
  • how far did the products travel to get to the cafe?
  • what was the method of delivery and was that the option with the lowest carbon footprint (e.g. do we need to airfreight the sugar)?
  • when upgrading the coffee machine have they looked at the power consumption of the equipment?
  • was their training provided on how best to use the machine?
  • what type of cup is it being served in?
  • is the cleaning detergent eco-friendly?

Now that is just a starting point so while you enjoy that coffee lets just reflect on the fact that every product or service supplied into that coffee shop can be looked at from the perspective of can I make a greener choice.

It is simply asking the question – “Is there a greener choice”?

If you do not already have a standard clause in your supplier contracts asking for the more environmentally friendly option why not create one now.  It only takes a simple clause to ask the question which keeps both you and your suppliers thinking about what the next step is to having an even greener supply chain.