How Does My Supply Chain Impact the Triple Bottom Line?

July 07, 2016 2 min read

Supply Chain


It’s been proven many times over that taking a sustainable approach to business will enhance the organization’s triple bottom line (TBL).

When we talk about people, planet, and profit – the three components of TBL – it’s clear that we can cover a lot of grounds just by looking at the supply chain.

Even a service oriented business relies on supplies from around the world to get the job done.  Being aware of where your products are coming from can go a long way, especially if you are interested in achieving a strong level of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

So where can we begin when investigating the supply chain?

First step: identify the products or supplies that you would like to learn about – I’ll refer to them as “items”.

I suggest you start with just a few, perhaps the top 5 items you deal with in day to day operations.  Making a change to your biggest inputs holds the potential to have a greater outcome due to volume.

You’ve got a list of your top 5; now put them into a spreadsheet. 

Second step: lay down the foundation for some basic questions, and insert these words across the top of the spreadsheet.

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. Where?
  4. When?
  5. How?

Here’s an example of what this all may look like:

Supply Chain Analysis
  Who? What?  Where? When?  How?
Item #1          
Item #2          
Item #3          
Item #4          
Item #5          

Simple words, not necessarily easy answers.  Let’s dive in a little deeper to gain some context.

Who (the supplier)?
  • Who is producing the item?
  • Who are they affiliated with?
  • Who is there main stakeholder?
  • What is going into the item?
  • What are the by-products from the production of the item?
  • What is the economic cost of the item?
  • Where is the item being shipped from?
  • Where are the components of the item being sourced?
  • Where does the company you are sourcing from stand on health & safety and the environment?
  • When did you start purchasing this item?
  • When is the last time you reviewed the company that you are purchasing the item from?
  • When is the last time your supplier made the news – good or bad?
  • How did you come into contact with the supplier?
  • How many times have your spoken directly with the supplier?
  • How is the item made?

While there is a lot of breadth to these questions, it is important that you continue to dig a little bit deeper, and ask yourselves the hard questions.

If you want to feel confident about your suppliers – and the supplies you purchase from them – you’ve got to do your research.

Get your spreadsheet formatted to your liking, and get started on populating the cells with information and data that you can find on the company’s website, through general internet searches, or by contacting your supplier directly for specifics.

What do you think are important questions to ask about the suppliers your organization deals with?  Comment below or join the conversation on Social Media!


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