How Flex Creates Sustainable Supply Chains Around the World
Building and managing an efficient supply chain involves not just the manufacturing of goods, but the monitoring and changing of where individual components come from at a moment’s notice—factors most companies aren’t equipped to handle. Many still run on manual information from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as manual inventory counts or advanced ship notices that are outdated or unreliable.
Flex helps customers scale their operations in real time. “Through our real-time information efforts, we’ve cut many lead times by 25% or more,” Tom Linton, chief procurement and supply chain officer says in his book The LIVING Supply Chain: The Evolving Imperative of Operating in Real Time. “Speed is essential when moving materials,” says Linton says. “If the material is not in a supplier management inventory hub, we can’t get material in time to drive revenue.”
In fact, research indicates1 that the next 2-3 years will see supply chain become even more important as 81% of supply chain leaders see reducing cost (81%) and improving service (76%) as key issues for their businesses. How they do that comes down to how they manage their operations.
The New Operations Standard: End-to-End, Every Day
Over 90% of those surveyed by Hackett2 say the key to solving the challenge of always-on speed and scale through technology involves virtual platforms.
We use our leading-edge visualization software tool Flex Pulse® to analyze data as quickly as possible and plot the ripple effect of something like prolonged unloading times on overall efficiency in near real-time. It can even assess the impact of large-scale issues like natural disasters and geopolitical events, allowing customers like you to predict how certain events hamper your operations, enabling for quicker response.
With insights from over 1,000 supply chains in 30 countries, our end-to-end operation also offers customers the in-region expertise they need to enter new markets. Our presence in developed and emerging markets includes tax and trade policies, cross-industry experience and established distribution channels. When companies work with us, they can see reduced time to market and up to 20% in cost savings—creating long-term, sustainable value.
To achieve a balanced supply chain with effective cost management and a smaller carbon footprint, Flex founded Brazilian company Sinctronics in 2012 to create a circular supply chain model that is more efficient and less wasteful than standard, linear operations. Described as the first “integrated ecosystem” for sustainability in electronics, Sinctronics employs a re-manufacturing process that re-uses 97% of recovered material in the supply chain to be re-furbished or re-manufactured. This recycling has led to a savings of up to 82% on energy over normal plastics production, and an 82% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Efforts like those at Sinctronics are making the planet greener and more sustainable. But sustainability is about more than just the environment. It’s about the people as well.
At our factory in Zhuhai, China, more than 40,000 employees help ensure that supply chain is performing responsibly. This factory in particular has been recognized as a part of Google’s Responsible Supply Chain program as a key partner using sustainable practices with a tight-knit workforce driving the best possible production for our customers in the markets that matter most to their business.
Untapped Revenue from Reverse Logistics
For companies looking to be competitive, only those getting smarter and faster will truly succeed. That even counts when things are going in reverse—from the customer back to the manufacturers.
When goods go back, the experience can still drive loyalty. If not managed by a partner with experience, critical reverse logistics functions can cost companies millions in profit due to damaged customer relationships. The average manufacturer spends 9-15% of total revenue on returns3 thanks to damaged components, recalls or repackaging and the typical retailer sees total returns cost about 4%4 in lost revenue. Meanwhile, 92% of consumers5 say they would purchase from a retailer again if they had a positive return experience—leaving potential profit on the table
An efficient reverse logistics operation and an experienced partner like Flex can make an often unseen impact. Some companies are stuck with returned, unprocessed inventory that ties up capital and lowers in value. Others face environmental regulations. In both cases, Flex solves the problem with large-scale distribution hubs or a global center where products can be picked up, repaired, dismantled or recycled.
With a full-service reverse logistics operation, we can help you move goods faster, better and more responsibly—in markets you operate in.