How sustainability is rewriting the rules of partner success
The IT supply chain connects vendor solutions with customers across the world, but this comes at a cost to the environment. A typical IT company’s supply chain accounts for more than 80% of its greenhouse-gas emissions. It’s not just the environment that is losing out – a lack of sustainability has a significant impact on profitability.
To achieve a sustainable supply chain, the IT channel has to address environmental, social, economic and legal concerns across its entire supply chain. By taking a holistic approach, this reduces waste and environmental footprint, while also improving labour conditions and health and safety — stopping worker exploitation.
At Westcon-Comstor, we believe that a sustainable supply chain is one that ensures socially responsible business practices. These practices are not only good for the planet and people, but they also support Partner Success. So if sustainability is here to stay, what does that mean for the IT channel, and how is it rewriting the rules of how to do good business?
My role is wide ranging. I'm responsible for global supply chain operations, logistics, purchasing and procurement, facilities, and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). This means that I lead a team of international trade experts with end-to-end supply-chain capabilities and ISO 9001 certification that focuses on what’s best for our vendors, partners, and their customers.
In the IT supply chain, credible sustainability metrics and reporting are now a ‘must have’ rather than just a ‘nice to have’. Channel businesses are now being pushed to be more transparent and accountable. In our business, we’re already seeing RFPs with language specifically requesting sustainability as a prerequisite.
So we help drive partner success through sustainability through a number of supply chain solutions – either digital or physical – that we can scale globally across multiple vendors with agility and speed to drive efficient end-to-end sustainable transactions.
But it’s not just environmental. We also focus our efforts on purchasing and procurement to make sure we’re conducting business ethically. For example, we demand visibility of our partner supply chains to make sure they’re not using slave or child labour.
Our customers demand this visibility, accountability and assurance in RFPs too, as they’re often bound by their own stakeholders to do business only with certified and regulated partners.
We can talk the talk, but in practical terms our end-to-end supply chain capabilities, specifically 3PL, reverse logistics, staging and lifecycle management all help to maximise the value of hardware and minimise the impact on the environment.
Optimised inventory performance, warehousing and fulfilment also help to drive sustainability through our supply chain and on to customers, and we work closely with vendors to receive product quicker, with less packaging and less human involvement through process automation and robotics.
Circular economy is now more than a buzzword. It helps partners reach sustainability goals, reduce procurement costs and overcome equipment shortages and supply chain disruption. We also help partners and their customers to invest in the circular economy and blended solutions.
Re-using, recycling and refurbishing equipment helps reduce e-waste, creating value for partners and vendors, and driving the Circular Economy. It also increases access to technology when hardware supplies are squeezed by supply chain disruption.
We’re currently running 3PL, reverse logistics, refurbishment services for several global service providers. Managing the lifecycle of their hardware assets, including warehousing, reverse logistics, staging, refurbishment and recycling all help to reduce their costs and hit their sustainability goals.
The IT channel plays a critical role in reducing its carbon impact on the whole value chain. As a distributor, we are at a critical vantage point to understand the impact of the supply chain on the environment and drive partner success through sustainability. At Westcon-Comstor we are at the forefront of driving Partner Success ethically and sustainably.
Read more from our people and partners how we’re creating Partner Success in the channel.