Episode 413: Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain: Strategies for a greener future
In this episode of The New Warehouse Podcast, Ann Sung Ruckstuhl, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Manhattan Associates, discusses sustainability and efficiency within the warehousing and logistics industry. Manhattan Associates is at the forefront of sustainable supply chain transformation through innovative systems and software solutions for the warehouse and transportation segments.
Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword to Ann; it’s a critical aspect of modern business, intertwining passion and science. As Ann aptly puts it, “Sustainability has a bleeding hearts element, but there’s a science element to it as well. Without the passion and the science, nothing real will happen.” So, let’s embark on a journey to explore how sustainability is becoming an integral part of the warehousing and logistics landscape.
The Urgent Need for a Sustainable Supply Chain
Ann points out that the logistics industry is a significant contributor to global carbon emissions, responsible for 60% of the world’s carbon emissions. This alarming statistic makes it clear that we, in the logistics industry, are both guilty and empowered to drive change. A sustainable supply chain isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s an urgent need. She emphasizes, “When you want to solve a problem, you look for the variable with the biggest influence. We’re the biggest variable in this whole equation. That’s one of the biggest reasons we must focus on sustainability.”
Furthermore, we live in an era where technology, climate change, and shifting human behavior converge. Technology gives us the tools to gain visibility and control over supply chains. Climate change forces us to confront the urgent need to reduce our carbon footprint. And human behavior is shifting towards more sustainable choices. Ann explains, “We have a unique window of opportunity where technology, climate change, and human behavior change converge. This convergence empowers us to operate supply chains most efficiently, sustainably, and socially responsibly.”
The Consumer-Driven Sustainability
Ann highlights Manhattan’s survey results, revealing that 49% of global consumers prioritize sustainability in their purchase decisions. However, only 27% of retailers consider sustainability a top business priority. This gap between consumer expectations and retailer priorities is an area that needs attention. Ann emphasizes, “Consumers care about sustainability, and brands must catch up. The level of urgency is not matched, but the winners who make money in unified commerce do more on sustainability.”
One way Manhattan Associates is empowering consumers is through improved visibility and control. By partnering with Google, Manhattan ensures consumers can access vital information such as product availability, location, and accurate delivery promises. This enhanced visibility benefits consumers and aligns with the sustainability goals of reducing unnecessary trips and improving overall efficiency.
A Sustainable Supply Chain Yields Profitable Results
Sustainability isn’t just about reducing environmental impact; it also makes good business sense. Manhattan Associates’ recent Unified Commerce Benchmark proves this. Leaders in sustainability practices within the commerce sector are experiencing revenue growth three to six times that of their counterparts.
Ann shares some empirical facts from the benchmark. Leaders are twice as likely to offer sustainable packaging, 87% of them disclose sustainability practices related to product sourcing, and 60% disclose sustainability product-specific information. These actions resonate with consumers increasingly purchasing based on a brand’s sustainability efforts. Ann explains, “Sustainability is a good business. It’s important, measurable, trackable, and optimizable. These practices benefit the environment and boost revenue and profitability.”
Key Takeaways for a Sustainable Supply Chain
- Urgent Need for a Sustainable Supply Chain: The logistics industry significantly contributes to global carbon emissions, making sustainability an urgent need. Converging factors, including technology, climate change, and shifting consumer behavior, provide a unique opportunity for positive change.
- Consumer-Driven Sustainability: Consumers prioritize sustainability, but many retailers lag in making it a top business priority. Enhanced visibility and control, facilitated by Manhattan Associates, empower consumers to make more sustainable choices.
- Profitable Sustainable Practices: Sustainable supply chain practices are environmentally responsible and drive revenue and profitability. Leaders in sustainable supply chain practices experience substantial revenue growth and are more likely to disclose sustainability efforts.
The New Warehouse Podcast
EP 413: Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain: Strategies for a Greener Future