Thursday, 29 May 2008

Green Supply Chain Focus

It's good to see coverage of Green issues outside the data centre and there have been two interesting items over the last week.

Firstly, IBM last week launched what it calls the Carbon Tradeoff Modeler which is designed to help organisations analyse and manage the impact of climate change on their supply chains.

The supply chain will be the most difficult part of an enterprise to manage, as and when carbon emissions come into the equation. Clearly there will be a range of trade-offs around transport costs, inventory costs and the carbon emissions from transportation, warehousing, etc. and it can only get more complex over time.

The model, developed by IBM Research and IBM Global Business Services, covers these various interactions and trade offs for both manufacturing and distribution. It also sounds like a good opportunity for IBM Global Business Services (the business consulting arm of IBM Global Services) to get involved as well.

Since then, Capgemini and the Global Commerce Initiative have released a study, entitled 'Future Supply Chain 2016' which goes into some detail about the future changes that will be needed in the supply chain. It points out that there will also be a need for better traceability and reduced traffic congestion and the requirements will only grow - supply chain strategies need to look ahead at future requirements. It also points out that all stakeholders in a supply chain will need to play their part.

The report identified seven key solutions areas that will represent challenges, including collaborative physical logistics (shared transport and warehousing), demand fluctuation management, identification and labelling and making the assets involved more energy efficient. The full report is available from the web site

The IBM offering is a first step in the right direction and I'm sure will attract a lot of interest. The Capgemini report shows just how significant and complex the issue is going to become.

© The Green IT Review

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