Embedding Sustainability and Resilience into GroundProbe’s Supply Chain
GroundProbe’s Head of Supply Chain & Quality Systems, Neil Cordon
At GroundProbe, we are driven to ensure our equipment is manufactured and shipped to be available for safety urgent situations at short notice. Our goal is to provide our customers with decision confidence at the most critical operational moments, as well as on a routine basis.
Our supply chain continues to adapt to suit the ever-changing risks and dynamic factors that are affecting the global market today, in particular the critical need for sustainability.
We are progressively reducing our carbon footprint to meet critical net zero emissions targets. We have developed a strategy that approaches this across all aspects of our business, from product design, manufacturing, and logistics right down to our bedrock – people and culture.
Embedding Sustainable Principles
Starting at policy level, we are driven by our goal to significantly reduce our impact on the planet through the education of our employees and the adoption of best practices. We have active processes to optimise the use of precious resources. This sets in place principles for every decision we make. We have a number of key supplier partners, all of whom have been on the growth journey with GroundProbe for a number of years. They form part of our extended enterprise and supply eco-system
We constantly benchmark our supply chain against a number of sources, including the international standards for sustainable procurement (ISO20400), the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), Australian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI) and local peer-to-peer networking groups. We have also begun valuable collaborations across local business, helping us navigate such challenges as major shortages (semiconductors, shipping containers and skilled people, to name a few). Mapping and understanding how our freight movements impact our emissions, coupled with rising costs has radically changed our sales and operations and inventory distribution rationales too.
This frame of reference drives a top-down approach, but we are also proud of our work to embed a sustainable mindset with our people, driving cultural change. We have now overlaid the sustainability principles onto our existing Continuous Improvement (CI) framework. This was already effectively driving reductions in the classic lean eight-wastes (defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilising talent, transport, inventory, motion, and excessive processing). This new set of elements prompted our people to envisage ways to reduce material and energy waste at the specific task level. This has led to reduced wastes to landfill, reduced consumption of raw materials, greater recycling, elimination of soft plastics, reduced energy consumption and many other small changes. Collectively these add up to a significant reduction in costs and environmental impacts but, more significantly they “re-wire” our brains to think differently. To capitalise on this new way of seeing improvement opportunities, we have also been running educational sessions in a “Lunch & Learn” format. The key to this initiative has been to promote optimism.
Setting Our Own Standard
As an example, back in 2018 we started gathering our E-waste (surplus cables, chargers, and electronic components) with the intention of diverting them from landfill and back into the circular economy for reuse. Once we had accumulated enough to make it worth the trip, we took the first load to a local recycler and we were paid $140. We decided to donate the money to Ozharvest Australia, who divert potentially wasted food and turn it into meals for underprivileged families. This not only provided an almost perfect circular economic relationship for the E-waste but also for the food waste. It also drove us to purchase less of the material we were buying that ended up in this loop to start with. Win-win-win. This is our ongoing model now.