Circular Economy:
The Link between Supply Chain Resiliency and Sustainability

In 2021, the term ‘supply chain’ became part of the vernacular. No matter what you were looking for, from a loaf of bread to an automotive component, supply chain woes seemed to touch everyone’s life.

In the complex world of global manufacturing, supply chain issues are long known to throw a wrench in the delivery of products.

One of our customers felt this acutely in 2011 following the tsunami in Japan that destroyed the factory that was manufacturing a specific paint color for their vehicles. Whether it’s scarcity of raw materials, labor shortages, or natural disasters, weaknesses in supply chains can’t be fully avoided, but can be mitigated.

A recent Gartner article discussed the role a circular economy can play not only in maintaining a healthy, resilient supply chain, but in supporting sustainability goals and initiatives. I’ve written a lot lately about sustainability in manufacturing, and can’t help but see similarities between sustainability and the circular economy model.

Gartner defines a circular economy as based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and toxicity
  • Keep products in use
  • Positive return to environment

In contrast to the traditional linear economy, a circular economy focuses on decoupling resource extractions from financial growth, with particular attention paid to the design, use, and re-use, of products.

By beginning the product design phase with longevity in mind, rather than obsolescence, companies can shift focus from only the point of sale to the entire life of the product.

This extends and expands revenue streams for companies, while also keeping products out of landfills and conserving raw materials.

Often described as Product-as-a-Service, this plays a large role in the circular economy model by keeping products in use, for longer periods of time, and at highly efficient levels.

With the right technology in place, companies can extend the lifetime use of their products by upgrading and adding new capabilities, while also decreasing the total cost of ownership for their customers.

One of our customers, Vestas, for example, not only designs and builds wind turbines for renewable energy, but also focuses on the maintenance and performance of those turbines so that they are as efficient, durable, and productive for as long as possible. By optimizing the operation of each turbine, they can not only gain greater efficiencies in energy generated but extend and expand their return on investment.

Vestas + Configit

Watch the webinar, and learn how Vestas added a layer of intelligence to their BOM process
by integrating the PLM system with their enterprise configurator.

Whether it’s ‘circular economy,’ ‘digital transformation,’ or ‘sustainability,’ manufacturers around the globe can benefit greatly by creating smarter, more efficient products.

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Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) Journey

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