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Top 20 Sustainability And Supply Chain Blogs

Jen Cohen Crompton

The Harvard Business Review article, The Sustainable Supply Chain, featured an interview with Sustainability And Supply ChainPeter Senge, the founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, a faculty member at MIT Sloan School of Management, and the author of The Fifth Discipline and The Necessary Revolution. In the article, HBR editor, Steven Prokesch, asked an eye-opening question that brings the words “sustainable” and “supply chain” together in a way that forces companies to think about both.

“HBR: What does it take for an organization to get serious about issues like water, energy, and waste in its supply chain?

Senge: It starts to get real when people believe these matters are strategic—that they will shape the future of the business. I use the word “sustainability” as little as possible because it’s so generic; it makes people’s eyes glaze over.

To confront these issues practically, you need employees who are innovative—who have the skill and the vision to redesign products, processes, and business models—and who understand the business context. Most important, they need to be able to tell a story about why this is a meaningful journey.”

As many companies begin this journey, there are plenty of industry experts who are tweeting and blogging about these topics and how that impact business. Here is a list of some blogs that could serve as a useful resource.

Sustainability Blogs

1. HuffPost Green
The Huffington Post is an American online news source and blog founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart and Jonah Peretti. The HuffPost Green covers green news, energy, environment, animals, climate change, and extreme weather.

2. Environment Guardian
This blog is affiliated with The Guardian, which is an online publication that features the latest news, world news, sports, and reviews from the world’s leading liberal voice. The environment-focused blog features articles that touch on controversial issues and span from climate change, to green living, to wildlife.

3. World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute is a global reach organization that reaches 50 countries with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, among others. It incorporates writing from over 300 experts and staff that work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain our natural resources.

4. The Ecologist
The Ecologist was established in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith and is now the world’s leading environmental affairs magazine. The website covers everything from climate change to eco-dating – wide range of topics all focused on the environment and the role of businesses and politicians in creating, or preventing change and conservation.

5. The Climate Reality Project
The Climate Reality Project was founded and chaired by former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore. It is dedicated to unleashing a global cultural movement demanding action on the global community. This blog spreads the truth about climate change to empower leaders to solve the climate crisis.

6. Sustainable Brands: The Bridge to Better Brands

Sustainable Brands was launched in 2006 and since then has become a global learning, collaboration and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing and innovation. It incorporates sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. They work to enable the success of better brands that are helping shift the world to a sustainable economy by helping them pursue purpose-driven environmental and social innovation.

7. CSR Wire – Aman Singh
Aman Singh is the Editorial Director of CSRwire.com. She is an experienced CSR practitioner, journalist, social media strategist and founder of Singh Solutions. She has written for numerous publication including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Triple Pundit, CNBC, Bloomberg and Businessweek. She is a frequent speaker on CSR and sustainable business practices, the role of media in social change, and job-hunting in CSR.

8. SustainAbility
SustainAbility, established in 1987, has worked to catalyze innovation and provide solutions to make business and markets sustainable. They help to define and shape the unique role of business and their vision is for a just and sustainable world for present and future generations.

9. Mark Gunther’s Blog
Marc Gunter is an experienced journalist, speaker, and writer whose focus is on business and sustainability. He is the editor at large of Guardian Sustainable Business US and a contributor at FORTUNE magazine. In addition, he also has co-authored four books and was published in 2012 as an Amazon Kindle Single.

10. Taiga Company Blog
The Taiga Company was founded to address the growing need for individuals and organizations to embrace sustainability through the power of engagement. They do so through demonstrated eco-action and communication of the sustainable mindset.

Supply Chain Management

1. Supply Management
Supply Management Magazine is the premiere publication for procurement and supply chain professionals globally. This blog features quick fire topics and posts that deal with purchasing and supply chain issues from independent expert commentators and the Supply Management editorial team.

2. Supply Chain Nation-The Supply Chain Blog
This blog is filled with thought leaders that will help you create and discover supply chain ideas and innovations. The blog is a conversational blog about industry trends that are affecting your business best practices and market insights around supply chain, merchandising and pricing innovation.

3. The 21st Century Supply Chain
Kinaxis delivers a comprehensive on-demand supply chain offering, which enables manufacturers and brand owners to drive supply chain management. This blog features various members of their team and the occasional guest writer with the purpose of providing insights on supply chain trends and issues affecting the business world.

4. Supply Chain Management Review
Supply Chain Management Review publishes columns and features pieces written by business school professors, supply chain management practitioners and industry analyst. These authors write on subject matters such as sourcing and procurement, software and technology, transportation and logistics, and supply chain education. The blog also features case studies on well-known companies such as Wal-Mart, Motorola, and IBM.

5. Supply Chain Digital
Founded 2007 by entrepreneur Glen White, Supply Chain Digital is the leading online source of logistics, procurement, warehousing, and outsourcing news geared toward executives in the supply chain industry.  The blog covers topics that involve the global supply chain.

6. Logistics Management
Logistics Management was established in 1962 and reaches the largest number of logistics professionals in the industry. In addition, they reach more audited buying influencers of logistics services, technology, and equipment than any other industry publication out there.

7. Supply Chain Insights
Supply Chain Insights was founded in 2012 by Lora Cecere and is focused on delivering independent, actionable and objective advice for supply chain leaders. Their overall mission is to be the first place supply chain leaders turn to get information that matters in driving supply chain excellence.

8. SupplyChainNetwork.com: Ask, Learn, Build and Collaborate
This blog is written and maintained by Jeff Ashcroft who developed the Supply Chain Network Project in 2001. Ashcroft is currently the Director, Business Development at SCI Group, which is focused on Retail & e-Commerce Third Party Logistics in Canada. The blog features top news in the logistics industry and information about supply chain management.

9. ValueStream Blog – Dave Meyer
David Meyer is Founder and Principal of ValueStream Performance Advisors. He has over 30 years of progressive experience in environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and evaluation. His principal focus is to help organizations achieve environmental sustainability program excellence, leverage regulatory compliance risks, and optimize organizational effectiveness.

10. 10x Logistics Blog by Kevin O’Meara
Kevin O’Meara has 25 years of experience in Logistics and Supply Chain Services providing thought leadership thorough execution and sustained results. He works at Breakthrough Fuel and attended Cornell University.

…and here is another that we thought should make the list:

11. Steve Brady’s The Professor Notes Blog
This blog is written by Steve Brady. He is a professor and Supply Chain Consultant and CEO of Supply Chain Innovations Today. He has strong professional interest in Collaborative Supply Chain Management, RFID in the Supply Chain (EPC) and Research Methods.

Other Resources

 

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About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.

Industry 4.0: Digital Transformation In Manufacturing

Sandeep Raut

Manufacturing companies have traditionally been slow to react to the advent of digital technologies like intelligent robots, drones, sensor technology, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and 3D printing.

Industry 4.0 has changed manufacturing. At a high level, Industry 4.0 represents the vision of the interconnected factory where all equipment is online, and in some way is also intelligent and capable of making its own decisions.

The explosion in connected devices and platforms, combined with the abundance of data from field devices and the rapidly changing technology landscape, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products and services and move from the physical world to a digital one.

Today, manufacturing is transforming from mass production to an industry characterized by mass customization. Not only must the right products be delivered to the right person for the right price, the process of how products are designed and delivered must be at a new level of sophistication.

The first step in digitization is to analyze the current state of all systems, from R&D, procurement, production, warehousing, logistics, and marketing to sales and service.

The digitization of manufacturing impacts every aspect of operations and the supply chain. It starts with equipment design and continues through product design, production process improvement, and ultimately, monitoring and improving the end user experience.

Digital transformation revolutionizes the way manufacturers share and manage product and engineering design specs on the cloud by collaborating across geographies.

Downtime and reliability are critical when it comes to the operation of equipment on a shop floor. Big Data analytics offers quick and easy access to operation, production, inventory, and other quality data, which enables managers and operators to adjust machines as needed across the enterprise.

Quality and yield are directly related to manufacturing processes, as the way that raw materials are used, inspected, manufactured, and integrated really determines product quality. Cognitive computing helps manufacturers identify quality issues more efficiently, increases production yield, and reduces problems that lead to service and warranty costs.

Implementing smarter resource and supply chain optimization strategies improves the cost efficiency of resources like energy consumption, worker safety, and employee resource efficiency.

Service excellence is also an important element of a manufacturing company’s digital transformation strategy. Connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing how after-sales service is delivered. Here are a few examples from industries such as industrial equipment, power generation and HVAC providers:

  • Push service notifications
    • How is your asset health?
    • How is your asset usage?
  • Predictive/preventive maintenance
  • Breakdown assistance
  • Usage-based billing
  • Spare parts fulfillment

General Electric’s jet engines combine cloud-based services, analytics, and online sensors to report usage and status and help predict potential failures. The result is improved uptime and lower cost of ownership.

Additive manufacturing (3D printers) for prototyping help shorten the iteration cycles in the design process and help turn innovation into value. 3D printing is also quickly gaining ground in low-volume commercial manufacturing of customized products.

Smart machines integrated with forklifts, storage shelves, and production equipment are able to take autonomous decisions and communicate with each other to drive material replenishment, trigger manufacturing, and much more.

Industry 4.0 allows manufacturers to have more flexible manufacturing processes that can better react to customer demands.

For more on the impact of digital transformation in manufacturing and other industries, see Live Product Innovation, Part 3: Process Industries, IoT, And A Recipe For Instant Change.

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Blockchain: A Rose By Any Other Name

John Bertrand

The question of what exactly blockchain is came to the fore in March with the publication of the eBook Blockchain Meets Supply Chain: Rewiring Business Operations for the Digital Age, which acknowledged “blockchain is difficult to pin down … it is a class of software composed of other technologies.” The eBook aims to clear that up a bit, as I’ll try to do here.

The blockchain is a secure, transparent, layered container. The container is distributed and made available across the Internet or cloud, with any changes reported back to all parties in the specified group. This process is referred to as distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The DLT is available to either a public or private group. Financial services activities will predominately be in private groups, for example “syndicated loans.”

The key features in the transparent container include:

  • Consensus – algorithms that confirm and accept the information as it arrives and make sure that information is distributed
  • Shared ledger – the record of information that is available to all parties
  • Immutability – cryptographic technology that ensures that records cannot be tampered with

Who says blockchain is hip and modern? The Byzantine Army in 330 AD needed to manage the diversity of loyalty in its generals through coded, distributed, hand-delivered messages. Today we use mathematicians and technology to ensure the shared ledger is robust and staying true to the course, as did the Byzantine generals.

It is the right choreographing of the different technologies that is most important, says the eBook. Given the correct combination, blockchain/DLT should appear sooner than currently anticipated.

Gone are the days banks when banks build their own technology. Most banks now only care that the technology works, with the caveat that the tech supplier is approved by the bank. To meet regulatory requirements, bank technology suppliers must be low risk, which is not the profile of most fintech companies!

The eBook suggests that more caution is needed in implementing blockchain; that is probably correct, but the banks’ situation is urgent. The long and ongoing low interest rate environment has made it very difficult for banks to generate revenue growth. The Swiss Central Bank now charges fees for money on deposit – so times really are getting hard. Banks also have very high internal cost infrastructures. Banks need to start charging for their services, cut costs, or both.

Blockchain/DLT offers efficiency, better security, and one source of the truth. As the eBook points out, the digital supply chain reduces procurement costs by 20% and halves supply chain costs, enabling controlled activity instead of caution.

The eBook’s focus on the digitalization of assets and the provenance of them, rather than crypto currency, is refreshing. I recently noticed on CoinDesk that one of the crypto currencies dropped 31% in 24 hours. That’s a Zimbabwean dollar-like fall. Maybe, like the Zim dollar, crypto currency will be officially abandoned and the U.S. dollar used instead.

One final question to ponder: What should we call the stack of technology that forms the blockchain and DLT? Every stack could be different. How about Rose? After all, U.S. hurricanes are given human names, and I believe blockchain/DLT/Rose will bring the force of the hurricane to banking. Blockchain Meets Supply Chain: Rewiring Business Operations for the Digital Age represents the calm before the storm.

To learn more about blockchain, read the Forbes Insights Briefing Report: Transforming Transaction Processing for the Digital Economy.

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The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers

 

The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.


Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.


A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.


Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.


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To Get Past Blockchain Hype, We Must Think Differently

Susan Galer

Blockchain hype is reaching fever pitch, making it the perfect time to separate market noise from valid signals. As part of my ongoing conversations about blockchain, I reached out to several experts to find out where companies should consider going from here. Raimund Gross, Solution Architect and Futurist at SAP, acknowledged the challenges of understanding and applying such a complex leading-edge technology as blockchain.

“The people who really get it today are those able to put the hype in perspective with what’s realistically doable in the near future, and what’s unlikely to become a reality any time soon, if ever,” Gross said. “You need to commit the resources and find the right partners to lay the groundwork for success.”

Gross told me one of the biggest problems with blockchain – besides the unproven technology itself – was the mindset shift it demands. “Many people aren’t thinking about decentralized architectures with peer-to-peer networks and mash-ups, which is what blockchain is all about. People struggle because often discussions end up with a centralized approach based on past constructs. It will take training and experience to think decentrally.”

Here are several more perspectives on blockchain beyond the screaming headlines.

How blockchain disrupts insurance, banking

Blockchain has the potential to dramatically disrupt industries because the distributed ledger embeds automatic trust across processes. This changes the role of longstanding intermediaries like insurance companies and banks, essentially restructuring business models for entire industries.

“With the distributed ledger, all of the trusted intelligence related to insuring the risk resides in the cloud, providing everyone with access to the same information,” said Nadine Hoffmann, global solution manager for Innovation at SAP Financial Services. “Payment is automatically triggered when the agreed-upon risk scenario occurs. There are limitations given regulations, but blockchain can open up new services opportunities for established insurers, fintech startups, and even consumer-to-consumer offerings.”

Banks face a similar digitalized transformation. Long built on layers of steps to mitigate risk, blockchain offers the banking industry a network of built-in trust to improve efficiencies along with the customer experience in areas such as cross-border payments, trade settlements for assets, and other contractual and payment processes. What used to take days or even months could be completed in hours.

Finance departments evolve

Another group keenly watching blockchain developments are CFOs. Just as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted transportation and hospitality, blockchain has the potential to change not only the finance department — everything from audits and customs documentation to letters of credit and trade finance – but also the entire company.

“The distributed ledger’s capabilities can automate processes in shared service centers, allowing accountants and other employees in finance to speed up record keeping including proof of payment supporting investigations,” said Georg Koester, senior developer, LoB Finance at the Innovation Center Potsdam. “This lowers costs for the company and improves the customer experience.”

Koester said that embedding blockchain capabilities in software company-wide will also have a tremendous impact on product development, lean supply chain management, and other critical areas of the company.

While financial services dominate blockchain conversations right now, Gross named utilities, healthcare, public sector, real estate, and pretty much any industry as prime candidates for blockchain disruption. “Blockchain is specific to certain business scenarios in any industry,” said Gross. “Every organization can benefit from trust and transparency that mitigates risk and optimizes processes.”

Get started today! Run Live with SAP for Banking. Blast past the hype by attending the SAP Next-Gen Boot Camp on Blockchain in Financial Services and Public Sector event being held April 26-27 in Regensdorf, Switzerland.

Follow me on Twitter, SCN Business Trends, or Facebook. Read all of my Forbes articles here.

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