How digitization of the supply chain can enhance the circular economy
Digital innovation and the circular economy are a kind of symbiotic in nature. With the proliferation of the growing Internet, it is difficult to imagine any circular economy initiative that is not helped by technology. While there are many ways that digitization can have a positive impact on the round economy, here are the top three:
1. Digitization can help companies make better, more sustainable decisions.
Digital technology enables products as well as information to travel. This enables businesses to capture, store and analyze the types of costs, which in turn helps companies make better decisions. For example, research shows that 70% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are related to material handling and use. If the business has an insight into how full their aircraft, ship or truck is, they can determine in real time how effective their delivery will be. This translates to better efficiency, lower fuel consumption, shorter delivery cycle and lower GHG. 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 on its components, systems and functionality. This helps Thyssenkrupp to provide better service, extended lift uptime and longer product lifetime.
2. Digitization can help unlock more 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 several isolated segments, partners and consumers from across the entire value chain. For example, a raw material supplier might tap into a manufacturer’s stocking system (via APIs) to actively verify that their specified raw material had run out. Once raw materials reach the end of life, manufacturers can use digital technology to see if products have reached a sufficient internal price to return them. This creates opportunities for businesses to be more efficient, less resource intensive and create less waste and emissions in the process. A growing number of digital platforms are promising to create rigorous value-chain integration and are helping different manufacturers transform into a circular economy model. On the consumer side, digital marketplaces are helping to create more sustainability-conscious consumers.
3. The digital supply chain must be reliable and secure. Supply chain digitization promises greater speed, efficiency, visibility and control. However, the increased expansion of the API means that an organization’s attack surface increases. Just as a single container ship stranded in the Suez Canal could disrupt the world economy, an unavailable or unreliable API could disrupt critical supply chain processes. Institutions need to take the necessary steps to protect their digital assets as they digitize.
How Citrix is involved in the round economy
Citrix technology enables individuals and businesses to work from anywhere and embrace adaptable work models. These technologies allow companies to adopt a secure hybrid work model. This means that companies using Citrix can dramatically reduce travel emissions while meeting employee demand for flexibility, with 27% of U.S. emissions coming from transportation sources and office-related travel.
Employees using Citrix Solutions can use low-power devices and use those same devices for long periods of time, reducing hazardous waste by reducing costs and emissions. It supports two basic principles of a circular economy, including device recycling and waste reduction.
Citrix technologies play an important role in facilitating energy efficiency and a seamless approach to low carbon cloud computing. Citrix’s App Delivery and Security Solution protects and scales APIs that are critical to a smooth and efficient digital supply chain. Protecting the digital backbone is an important step towards a more inclusive economy.
Moving into a roundabout economy will not be easy, but it will be fruitful. Customers are looking for businesses that provide great service, but also share their core values. Companies that take advantage of digitization to embrace circulation will be seen as visionary, and as such will be rewarded with deep customer relationships and loyalty. In the old saying, whatever goes, turns.
This content is produced by Citrix. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.