Readers may have been blasted from various media sources by a recent press release from IBM announcing its new Carbon Tradeoff Modeler, which IBM claims will help companies analyze tradeoffs of key supply chain business strategies and manage the consequent overall climate impact of said decisions on their supply chains.  This tool was jointly developed by IBM Research and the Global Business Services group, and provides a combination of software analysis as well as a five step services assessment from IBM Services.

This author had the opportunity to also review a linked White Paper authored by the IBM Institute for Business Value, entitled “Mastering Carbon Management.”  This paper can be downloaded here. What caught my interest was the following quote: “The trade-offs in the supply chain are no longer just about cost, service, and quality- but cost, service, quality and carbon. By incorporating carbon reduction into their overall SCM strategy, companies can help reduce their environmental emissions footprint, strengthen their brand image and develop competitive advantage…. Reducing the supply chain’s carbon footprint will become an inescapable obligation”

The fact that IBM has now endorsed the need for green supply chain analysis and strategy should not go unnoticed.  As pointed out in our April post- Implementing the Green Supply Chain- Highlights from the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation, green supply chain strategy development makes sense from an overall business perspective, but the vast majority of companies are in the early stages of their strategy development.  In this authors view, while previous announcements from various best-of-breed or point solution technology vendors have cited this emerging need, this recent announcement from “Big Blue” is an endorsement of the longer-term magnitude.

In addition to IBM, supply chain technology vendors ILOG– LogicTools Applications Suite, LLamasoft, and Infor have also announced carbon footprint analysis and tradeoff tools.

Bob Ferrari