Is moving to the cloud the secret to a more sustainable supply chain?


Corporate sustainability is increasingly becoming a differentiator of business performance and financial success. Not only will sustainability help the planet recover from the harm that has been inflicted by aggressive industrialization, but it will also add value to your brand by attracting eco-conscious customers who demand green products.

When it comes to company operations, it’s the supply chain that affects the environment the most. In fact, did you know that scope 3 emissions — also known as the “supply chain carbon footprint” — is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in a company? This category includes purchasing goods, transportation, distribution, and other parts of the supply chain. If you really want your business to go green – you need to start with your supply chain.

The easiest way to do so is to move a majority, if not all of your operations, to the cloud. Here’s why.

Less hardware

Data is essential to supply chain operations, whether it’s for scheduling, fleet routing, allocation of goods, or other purposes. However, traditional data centers use a lot of power and are responsible for 1% of all electricity consumed worldwide. It may not sound like much, but that’s roughly 205 TWh — nearly double Argentina’s yearly power consumption.

The only reason why the upward trend is slowing down is because of the gradual adoption of the cloud. Unlike traditional data centers, cloud data centers use net ties to meet printed circuit board (PCB) design requirements, which allow these machines to establish pin-to-pad connectivity using the shortest circuit routes possible. As such, they tend to use less power. Plus, cloud data centers store more data, so there’s no need to run as many.

Uses renewable energy resources

Since cloud servers don’t need a lot of power to operate, many providers use renewable energy sources to power their data centers. Amazon, for instance, became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in 2020. The cloud computing giant plans to add wind and solar projects globally. Amazon holds strong partnerships with cloud solution providers such as Infor to deliver reliable, secure, scalable, and sustainable cloud solutions. Microsoft, the tech company behind the mega cloud platform Azure, wants all their data centers running on renewable energy by 2023 (it’s currently at 60%). On the other hand, Google has matched its electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases since 2017. By 2030, they aim for Google Cloud to operate using just renewable energy.

Streamlines operations

Streamlining supply chain operations isn’t just good for reducing costs; it’s also great for reducing your carbon footprint as well. After all, if you use resources sparingly, you produce less waste. And the cloud can make your operations more efficient in a number of ways.

For example, Infor, a global leader in business cloud software solutions specialized by industry, offers solutions that support with informing the company when supplies are low, and when to request them. This lets you plan out your shipments and deliveries more efficiently, lessening your impact on the environment. Meanwhile, cloud-based fleet management software uses GPS to find the fastest transport routes for your trucks in real-time. This can help reduce fuel costs and, by extension, gas emissions. The cloud can also be incorporated into manufacturing machines via the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) — a network that lets you manage several devices from one location. If you see a machine moving slower than usual, you can call it in for maintenance before it breaks down.

If your goal is to become more sustainable, a shift to the cloud is your first step. You don’t even need to migrate all your data at once; start with the software you use more often, like supply chain solutions and data analytics tools.

Read more about how Infor is enabling sustainability through CloudSuite Food & Beverage and CloudSuite Fashion ERP solutions:

Written by

Rian Jamieson