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Green Supply Chain Reporting Dilemma – Putting Information Before Technology

Now that Green Supply Chains have established themselves as the predominant means of achieving action towards sustainability, there is intense focus on how the progress towards sustainability is measured and reported. Why is this important? It is a common refrain that what you cannot measure, you cannot manage. For most part we agree with it. Of course there are some intangible bits such as team spirit or supply chain collaboration which are difficult to measure objectively and directly. Indirect or subjective measures can quite quickly degenerate into pure exercise of bureaucratic nonsense. And, we all have seen instances of that. However, if the measurement methodology is developed, deployed and used properly there is no reason that both objective and subjective measures can form a great building block of green supply chains. Better still, companies can save money and improve productivity, the essential area in a competitive environment.

There is a school of thought that puts performance reporting at the centre-piece of the entire action. The reasoning is simple – if you start measuring and reporting, slowly you will start seeing action towards improvement. While there is some soundness in this logic, we caution against a cookie-cutter approach to measurement and reporting – which is often deployed in such cases. Putting technology before information in this manner is akin to putting a cart before the horse.

From an organizational perspective, it is crucial to understand processes to an exceptional level prior to engagement of deploying technology to help the business. Too often the technology leads the process leading to poor utilization of the resource at hand, a poor fit to the company business and in terms of information, “Rubbish in – Rubbish out”.

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