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Sustainable supply chains: why we need to rethink supplier segmentation


By Anthony Payne, Supplier Experience Manager specialist

As environmental concerns continue to take centre stage, businesses are under more pressure than ever to act sustainably. Encouragingly, sustainability is now a topic for many boards. But to be truly protect our planet, it needs to be established on the corporate agenda for good. To make this happen, we need to rethink the way in which we work with suppliers. 

Good supplier data enables sustainable business practices

Organizations are increasingly recognizing that they will make little progress in sustainability without the full participation of their suppliers. At the heart of any meaningful program is accurate, current and complete supplier data.

In order to collect, analyse and report on this data as it relates to sustainability, large organizations are running hundreds of data gathering exercises a year. But simply surveying suppliers regularly doesn’t necessarily lead to the best results. 

To make the most of these exercises, it’s essential to communicate with the right supplier segments for each specific campaign. Consider essential information goals, and how they can be reached. What information is required? Why and how often? Who is best placed to provide this material? 

Investing the time to adequately plan the survey approach leads to efficiencies. For example, an organization may need to determine whether sustainable packaging regulations are being followed. In this case, procurement could group suppliers by category and country, and set up a process in which data is received in a sequence, starting with suppliers in countries with stricter legislations.

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