Reducing excess steps and upgrading sources in your supply chain is good business and also green business. At Coghlin Companies, a contract manufacturing company, we’ve learned that streamlining our supply chain with a commitment to greener practices requires constant monitoring to ensure gained efficiencies and green initiatives provide value for our customers. Here are three elements of our green approach to supply chain management.
1. Review your shipping options frequently. Shipping is seen as the low hanging fruit of supply chain optimization, but many shipping suppliers already operate in a tight, competitive market. At Coghlin we work with suppliers who are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and packaging waste yet still offer swifter delivery of products. Examples of how our suppliers are “going green” are by consolidating deliveries, developing local distribution centers, and controlling fuel costs through purchase of alternative energy vehicles.
2. Be aware of emerging issues. As a contract manufacturing firm, Coghlin Companies signed on to The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) Supplier Code of Conduct established as a common means to collect information on the source of the 3TG (tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold). Their position is that companies should undertake due diligence with their supply chain to assure that specified metals are not being sourced from mines in the Conflict Region, which is controlled by non-government military groups, or unlawful military factions.
3. Communicate and collaborate with suppliers. We’ve found that some suppliers are able to offer greener alternatives, but they often don’t unless you ask. At Coghlin once we communicated with our suppliers our interest in greener and more cost effective alternatives, we discovered our suppliers were motivated to explore options that made sense for their business and ours. Industry examples prompted by company initiatives include introduction of Environmentally Sensitive Packaging, solvents and degreasers with less toxic ingredients, and innovative practices to reduce water consumption.
Working with suppliers to identify common goals allows greener options to rise up.
By Jim Coghlin, Chief Operating Officer at Columbia Tech and Principal, Coghlin Companies Inc.