Sustainability Solutions in the Digital Supply Chain

An interview with Daniel Metz, Head of Software Development at FORCAM

By Shashi Jina, Research Director, Supply Chain Management, SAPinsider

SAPinsider recently had the opportunity to sit down and discuss best practices and challenges for sustainability with Mr. Daniel Metz, Head of Software Development at FORCAM. With over 20 years of experience developing technologies, FORCAM has been at the forefront in helping companies achieve their sustainability objectives.

In an evolving and dynamic environment, with many global challenges, stakeholders are focusing on supply chain risk. Additionally, there’s a demand to be more resourceful and conscientious of environmental and social needs. This collective awareness has led to the emergence of sustainability as a critical component of the supply chain process. Sustainability is a broad term focused on optimizing natural resources, reusing them, and often repurposing materials, while maintaining environmental balance. The goal is to address the needs of today without impacting future generations.

Regarding supply chain, most organizations consume materials and resources and generate waste — in the form of raw material used in production, energy consumption to operate facilities, and environmental waste from plants. “Companies are looking to provide transparency to their customer and partner,” according to Metz. He pointed out that while companies generally look to drive costs down, they are searching for more innovative ways to gain insights into energy and material use. “An ability to view and drill down the data from an asset to determine how energy was consumed for a particular order or a part is becoming a critical requirement from our customers.” All these areas present significant opportunities for sustainability optimization for organizations while promoting greater social responsibility.

Key Takeaways

  • Sustainability is a broad term focused on optimizing natural resources, reusing them, and often repurposing materials while maintaining environmental balance. The goal is to address the needs of today without impacting future generations. Renewable clean energy is the most notable example of sustainability. The foundational pillars of sustainability are economic, environmental, and social. However, in a supply-chain context, it’s profitability, compliance, and people.
  • With greater consumer awareness of the impact of sustainability, demands for more eco-friendly products and solutions have increased. Subsequently, there is a push for organizations to prove their contribution to these new age requirements. As a result, these organizations are making firm commitments to sustainability, in large part through transparency and addressing material issues.
  • Connectivity technology solutions that ensure effective transfer of asset performance data are critical. It provides an essential foundation for analysis.
  • Tools and technologies that enable transparency are essential to provide insight into how products were repurposed, demonstrating the visibility and integrity of the material across the supply chain.
  • Tracking volumes and costs allow for greater insight and visibility on how effectively to use material and products, driving waste and costs down optimally.
  • Drill-down capabilities on the data collected and aggregated. For example, which product consumed the most energy on a specific asset. Toto analyzes performance as foundational to determine where sustainability opportunities exist.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders

Based on SAPinsider community insights and trends on the current Sustainability landscape, organizations should develop a strong sustainability strategy as part of their overall Supply Chain plans. Beyond costs, they should consider Sustainability as a critical supply chain driver and utilize it as a competitive weapon. Build your supply chain with the following considerations:

  • Launch organization-wide sustainability strategic initiatives
  • Align regulatory risk and compliance plans
  • Integrate environmental, social, and governance risk considerations into Supply Chain analysis and decisions
  • Select and implement robust IoT, connectivity, and data management technologies that support these strategic initiatives
  • Implement measurable Sustainability metrics which align environmental and social outcomes with your existing SCM KPIs
  • Instill Sustainability into the organization’s supply chain culture and value system
  • Drive innovation by channeling Supply Chain investments towards new technologies that reinforce positive behavior by rewarding good practices and impact the economic value chain.

About Forcam:

  • Established in 2001
  • Headquarters in Ravensburg, Germany, as well as at our offices in Cincinnati (USA), Rugby (United Kingdom), and Shanghai (China).
  • Revenues of $15m and a workforce of over 100 employees
  • Evolved into a comprehensive IIoT solution partner with a high-performance manufacturing 4.0 platform and a vital ecosystem.
  • Key strategic partnership with SAP on driving Sustainability initiatives
  • Customers include Airbus, Lockheed Martin Audi, BMW, BorgWarner, Daimler, KUKA, Pratt & Whitney, Schaeffler, and Swarovski
  • More than 100,000 manufacturing assets and machines are monitored with FORCAM technology worldwide