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Fayetteville 2010 GIBN Solutions Lab
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|dpetri||Manufacturer/Supplier Role in Product Sustainability||1||Nov 2 2010, 2:17 PM EDT by dpetri|
Thread started: Nov 2 2010, 2:13 PM EDT Watch
There can be a huge disconnect between the marketing/product development team - tasked with identifying & introducing "new" products for the market - and brand/retailer sustainability strategy.
Example of this can be seen with new product introductions that essentially replace an existing product with - for all intents - the same product. There may be some marginal change in the product, that makes it differentiable from the previous one. But if the improvement is purely aesthetic, then does this not contradict sustainability goals, especially when you consider the impact to the supply chain. Replacement product development can require activities like retooling equipment, sourcing new raw materials, not to mention resources consumed during the development process like short manufacturing runs to produce samples. In addition, what about raw materials used in the replace product that may become obsolete (no longer required or replaced) but still exist in inventory down the supply chain.
It should not be a surprise that in order for consumer products to become more sustainable at the retailer or brand level, that the manufacturers & suppliers need to be part of the solution. So, the question that needs to be addressed is how do strategic product sustainability goals fit with strategic product development goals & how can manufacturers/suppliers support its customers to achieve both set of objectives during new product development.
Because many manufacturers provide similar products to multiple customers, there can be a tendency away from sustainability when each customer request unique aesthetic requirements that don't impact form, fit, or function of the product (especially from a sustainability perspective). This can result in a supplier having to carry multiple material requirements in inventory. For example, multiple versions of blue yarn. This is where a brand/retailer in working with its manufacturer can
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