How the digitization of the supply chain can accelerate the round economy
Digital innovation and the circular economy are a kind of symbiosis. With the proliferation of the Internet, it is difficult to imagine any circular economy initiative that is not supported by technology. While there are many ways in which digitization can positively impact the global economy, here are the top three:
1. Digitization can help organizations make better, more sustainable decisions,
Digital technologies enable information to travel with the product. This enables businesses to capture, store and analyze usage patterns, which in turn helps organizations make better decisions. For example, research has shown that 70% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are related to the management and use of materials. If businesses have an insight into how full their aircraft, ship or truck is, they can determine in real time how efficient their delivery will be. This translates into better efficiency, lower fuel costs, shorter delivery cycles and reduced GHG. Thyssenkrupp, one of the world’s leading elevator manufacturers, installs a cloud-based predictive maintenance system on its 130,000 elevators worldwide. Its sensors collect health data of its components, systems and operations. This helps Thyssenkrupp to provide better service, extended elevator uptime and longer product life.
2. Digitization can help unlock more value across the supply chainTraditionally, most businesses have focused on connecting data and devices to their customer base. Digitization can be used to unlock a number of different parts, partners and customers across the entire value chain. For example, a raw material supplier can tap into a manufacturer’s stocking system (via API) to actively validate if they have certain raw materials being supplied. Once the raw materials reach the end of life, manufacturers can take advantage of digital technology to see if the products have reached a sufficient internal value to return them. This creates opportunities for businesses to be more efficient, less resource intensive and less wasteful and emission in the process. The growing number of digital platforms promises to create more stringent value-range integration and help different manufacturers transition to a circular economy model. At the consumer end, the digital marketplace helps create more sustainability-conscious consumers.
3. Digital supply chains need to be reliable and secure, Supply chain digitization promises greater speed, efficiency, visibility and control. However, the increasing prevalence of APIs means that the organization’s attack surface increases. Just as a single container ship stranded in the Suez Canal can disrupt the world economy, unavailable or unreliable APIs can disrupt important supply chain processes. As organizations digitize, they need to take the necessary steps to protect their digital assets.
How Citrix connects the circular economy
Citrix technology enables individuals and businesses to work from anywhere and adapt to adaptable work models. These technologies allow organizations to adapt to secure work models. This also means that organizations using Citrix can dramatically reduce travel emissions while meeting employee flexibility requirements, although 27% of U.S. emissions come from transportation sources and office-related commutes.
Workers using Citrix solutions can use low-energy devices and use the same devices for a longer period of time, reducing costs and emissions by keeping hazardous waste out of landfills. This supports the two main principles of circular economy with reuse of equipment and reduction of waste.
Citrix technologies also play an important role in facilitating seamless moves towards energy efficiency and low carbon cloud computing. Citrix’s app delivery and security solution secures and scales APIs, critical to a streamlined and efficient digital supply chain. Protecting the digital backbone is an important step towards a more circular economy.
Shifting in a circular economy will not be easy, but it will be beneficial. Customers are looking for businesses that provide the best service, but also share their core values. Companies taking advantage of digitization to accept the circular will be seen as dreamers, and as such they will be rewarded with deep customer relationships and loyalty. As the old saying goes, go around, come around.
This content was created by Citrix. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.