Supply Chain Management – “Adopting Triple Advantage” Philosophy

The World Economic Forum (WEF) produced a report in January 2015 which is a “must-read” document for key movers (or those who aspire to be) within the supply chain management profession. The report, which is entitled “Beyond Supply Chains – Empowering Responsible Value Chains” was complied in collaboration with Accenture. A full PDF copy can be downloaded from the Accenture website.

By reading “Beyond Supply Chains,” supply chain professionals can get an insight into how leading businesses are creating what is being referred to as a “triple advantage,” through the design of supply chains that benefit business, people the world over and the global environment.

The Triple Advantage Philosophy

Instead of simply concentrating exclusively on creating commercial advantage, the net is now being cast wider, and the so-called “triple advantage” encompasses:

  • Developing commercial advantage
  • Improving supply chain environmental impact
  • Benefiting local economies

The “triple advantage” philosophy is designed to both support business goals as well as contribute in a positive way to the socio-economic aspect of both business and private life.

The report identifies 31 supply chain practices that can be brought into play to achieve the “triple advantage.” It brings a whole new methodology and idealism into supply chain management. Taken in its broadest concept, “Beyond Supply Chains” even goes so far as to recommend policies that both governments and businesses alike should adopt in order to create ethical business practices.

The advantages to supply chain management in adopting “triple advantage” methodology

“Beyond Supply Chains” indicates that organizations that use the “triple advantage” methodology can actually increase product revenues by as much as 20%, lower supply chain costs in the region of 9% to 16%, and increase both brand value and awareness by anywhere from 15% to 30%.  In addition, adopting a “triple advantage” approach to supply chain management can shrink an organization’s carbon footprint by as much as 22%, whilst also facilitating organizations being able to contribute positively towards the development of localized economies.

The “Beyond Supply Chains” report recommends companies abandoning pure, efficient, service driven supply chain designs in favor of a more holistic approach, which can be used to not only drive profitability, but to further socio-environmental benefits as well.

Encouraging better business performance

Triple AdvantageImplementing this sort of responsible supply chain management is something that all companies should be trying to achieve. It will not only further help to create competition in all aspects of the “triple advantage,” but it will also encourage better business performance. It is being forecast that if companies neglect to go down the “triple advantage” route, they could run the risk of being sidelined as and when market demands changes.

The 31 recommended practices that the report identifies have been underpinned by actual examples drawn from real industry. These examples can be used by organizations as templates for creating their own individual portfolio of triple advantage achievement measures. The report also contains a decision framework that prioritizes the 31 practices, using their potential to bring about a “triple advantage” philosophy. It is a new blueprint that can be used to generate a more complete and holistic approach to supply chain management.

The 3 recommendations for implementing “triple advantage” supply chain management

“Beyond Supply Chains” recommends that there are three things that organizations can do in order to pursue a more responsible approach to supply chain management and create the sought-after “triple advantage.”

  • Adopt a long term view when considering and ordering sustainability initiatives in the supply chain fabric. The decision framework contained within the report can be used to help to define best practice.
  • Create a clear and concise summary for the planned investments, and utilize it to sell the initiative to members of the company and supply chain partners. The value dashboards can be used to help to drill down and reveal multiple layers of value.
  • Ensure there is a strong sponsorship promoting and underpinning all supply chain initiatives, and supporting any monitoring capabilities which can be help to optimize the triple advantage effect.

This short précis of the “Beyond Supply chains” document does no more than skim over the overall concept of the “triple advantage” philosophy. In order to gain a full appreciation, it is necessary to download the PDF copy from the Accenture website.

A step in the right direction for better and more responsible supply chain management

Supply chain management has an important role to play in terms of both contributing positively towards achieving better global sustainability, and improving the lot of mankind from a socio-economic point of view. “Beyond Supply Chains” is no more than a good starting point. But it’s also an important first step in the right direction.


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