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How Sustainable Practices Can Create a Strategic Competitive Edge
Many businesses have adopted sustainability as a core value and support it through programs, partnerships, and initiatives. However, few businesses have been able to make sustainability a strategic competitive advantage that drives their business forward. The future of sustainable practices is an uncertain one. There are many companies who have made sustainability an important part of their business; however, most businesses haven’t taken the leap to make it something they can market as a competitive edge. Why?
What are the Barriers to Sustainable Practices Becoming a Competitive Advantage?
The biggest barrier businesses face in increasing their sustainable practices is a lack of data. In order to grow sustainable practices, businesses need to understand their current state. This includes things like carbon emissions, energy consumption, water use, and last but not least, the working capital tied up in assets and spare parts that will never be used. If a company has no idea how much of their inventory they are using and how much goes to waste, they can’t start working toward lowering those levels.
Another barrier is internal culture. If creating a sustainable business is a core business value, it’s likely to be something people at all levels are passionate about and new possibilities will emerge organically at all levels.
Finally, businesses may not see a direct return on investment in sustainable practices. Besides the need for companies to take responsibility for their impact on the environment, with current prices there is a clear business case to see how lowering emissions and stock levels translates to profit.
How to Make Sustainable Practices a Strategic Competitive Advantage
One of the best ways to make sustainable practices a strategic competitive advantage is to commit to data and transparency. This includes tracking the materials used by all of your company’s facilities, from spare parts used in production to consumables utilized in follow-up service.
This level of transparency can help you find inefficiencies before they start to affect your bottom line. It can also help you identify ways to repurpose parts of your operation for other uses. For example, spare parts may be compatible with machines of several makes, so there is no point in stocking multiple sets that are actually interchangeable.
Another way to make sustainable practices a strategic advantage is through partnerships with other organizations. By partnering with organizations that share your mission, you can leverage their resources to grow your sustainable practices. For example, two companies who are using comparable machinery may benefit from sharing a virtual market place where spare parts are offered for sale. This creates a win-win where companies can offload unused assets while accessing a virtual database of available spare parts that can be bought whenever needed. Thus guaranteeing customer fulfillment levels remain constant, but with lower levels of spare part inventory on both sides.
Utilize Technology to Increase Efficiency and Data Transparency
As technology advances, it’s becoming easier and easier to track your operation’s efficiency. From sensors that measure how much energy your machines use to AI-powered software that can predict inefficiencies, there are plenty of ways to make your company more sustainable.
Ventory's breakthrough cloud-based solution enables a suite of machine learning and AI-based functions and analytics to allow companies to digitize and automate field inventory and spare parts.
At its core is a smart ecosystem that allows asset managers, and operations and maintenance companies to reduce, reuse and offload excess stock, improve overall plant availability, and increase power output.
Ventory's solution features a one-of-a-kind smart B2B marketplace that allows customers to offload excess stock (and thus, generate liquidity and reduce wastage) or buy critical components for their sites from other companies and reuse this stock on their sites.
Sustainable practices are more important than ever. Whether your business is built on green energy, sustainable products, or a combination of both, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. It’s also important to make sustainable practices a strategic advantage. By committing to data and transparency, partnering with other organizations, and utilizing new technologies, you can take sustainability to the next level and make it a strategic advantage for your company.