How supply chain digitization can boost the circular economy
Digital innovation and the circular economy are kind of symbiotic in nature. In an age of increasingly ubiquitous internet, it’s hard to imagine any circular economy initiative that isn’t powered by technology. While there could be a number of ways that digitization could positively impact the circular economy, here are the top three:
first. Digitization can help organizations make better, more sustainable decisions.
Digital technology allows information to accompany the product. This enables businesses to capture, store and analyze consumption patterns, thereby helping organizations make better decisions. For example, research shows that 70% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the handling and use of materials. If businesses have detailed information about the adequacy of their planes, ships or trucks, they can determine how efficient their deliveries are in real time. This leads to better efficiency, lower fuel costs, shorter delivery cycles and reduced GHGs. Thyssenkrupp, one of the world’s leading elevator manufacturers, has installed a cloud-based predictive maintenance system on its 130,000 elevators worldwide. Its sensors collect health data of its components, system and performance. This helps Thyssenkrupp provide better service, prolong elevator uptime and extend product life.
2. Digitization can help unlock greater value across the entire supply chain. Traditionally, most businesses have focused on connecting data and devices across their customer base. Digitization can be used to unlock a number of isolated parts, partners and consumers throughout the value chain. For example, a raw material supplier can tap into a manufacturer’s inventory system (via an API) to proactively confirm if they are running low on certain raw materials. Once raw materials have reached the end of their lifespan, manufacturers can leverage digital technology to assess whether a product has achieved enough intrinsic value to return it to them. This gives businesses the opportunity to be more efficient, use fewer resources, and generate less waste and emissions in the process. The growing number of digital platform is promising to create tighter value chain integration and assist different manufacturers in transitioning to a circular economy model. On the consumer side, digital market are helping to create more sustainability-conscious consumers.
3. Digital supply chains need to be trusted and secure. Supply chain digitization promises greater speed, efficiency, visibility, and control. However, the growing popularity of APIs means that an organization’s attack surface also increases. Just as a container ship stuck in the Suez Canal can disrupt the world economy, an unavailable or unreliable API can disrupt critical supply chain processes. As organizations digitize, they need to take the necessary measures to protect their digital assets.
How Citrix is participating in the circular economy
Citrix technologies empower individuals and businesses to work from anywhere and adopt adaptive work models. These technologies enable organizations to adopt a secure hybrid work model. It also means that organizations using Citrix can dramatically reduce their emissions on the commute while also meeting employee needs for flexibility, with 27% U.S. emissions stem from transportation and office-related travel sources.
Workers using Citrix solutions can use low-energy devices and use those same devices longer, reducing costs and emissions while keeping hazardous waste out of landfills. This supports the two main principles of the circular economy with equipment reuse and waste reduction.
Citrix technology also plays a key role in facilitating a seamless transition to energy efficiency and lower carbon cloud computing. Citrix Application Delivery and Security Solutions protect and scale the APIs critical to a streamlined and efficient digital supply chain. Protecting the digital backbone is an important step towards a more circular economy.
The transition to a circular economy won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding. Customers are looking for businesses that offer great service but also share their core values. Companies leveraging digitalization to capture traffic will be seen as visionary and as such will be rewarded with deeper customer relationships and loyalty. As the old saying goes, what happens around, will come around.
This content is produced by Citrix. It was not written by the editorial board of the MIT Technology Review.