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#140: Looking All the Way Up the Value Chain

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, September 25, 2009
Updated: Friday, September 25, 2009
Clients are getting more sophisticated about their supply chains and have the data for deep analysis. I presume one could apply the same principles to small business and personal buying and investing but the data aren't there like for larger companies. I would think this could be a new consulting area as companies are going green in droves.

Interesting observation. After presuming business would resist environmentally conscious investing and operations, a group of investors representing $18 trillion (with a "t") in assets to invest just announced they are pressing to go green in a big way. You are correct that, as this trend picks up, the data to support companies looking deep into their supply chains, including all the way back to materials sources, will be increasingly available. As a consulting practice, you are also right that data availability for mid-sized and smaller companies are sparse.

However, this does not mean that you don't have a consulting opening in this area. There are some sources of information that already mine several databases to score the environmental performance of consumer products. Good Guide is available as a model to look at the environmental, health and social performance on close to 100,000 consumer products. They do this by mining a range of databases on health, safety, good governance, regulatory compliance, etc. A product may say it is green but a component (of a component of a component) may be toxic. Good Guide uses a method to make these facts transparent to the buyer.

Tip: There is another reason. The concepts of robust supply chain analysis are increasingly essential for any consultant wanting to look at their client's business the same way the executive does. If your client's CEO is looking closely at five to ten steps up the supply chain, then you should be thinking the same way. You could use this approach as a guide to recommend, depending on how far along your client is, how to more thoroughly vet their supply (or value) chain.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  innovation  market research  trends  your consulting practice 

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Mary Adams CMC says...
Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009
Great post Mark- As the world gets "flatter," technology and globalization make it easier than ever to have a more distributed supply chain. Companies can and should consider outsourcing more and more work that is not a core competency.

But this trend creates not only opportunity but also risk. If you cannot speak to the risks in your supply chain you are going to be surprised. This kind of surprise created reputational crises for a number of companies in recent times: Mattel for lead paint on toys, Kellogg for tainted peanut butter in crackers and Nike for child labor to produce shoes.
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