The Benefits of Local Sourcing: Communication Channels (4/5)

In this week’s blog post, we explore some of the advantages that result from the greate...

The Benefits of Local Sourcing: Communication Channels (4/5)

In this week’s blog post, we explore some of the advantages that result from the greater degree of communication that often occurs within a regional supply chain compared to a global supply chain. While technology has aided our ability to contact people in various locations at virtually any time of day, there are still significant advantages to being able to conduct business face-to-face.

Even in an increasingly globalized economy, business is still built on trust, connections, and relationships. This is not to say that strong relationships cannot be made through virtual communication; rather, it is to highlight the advantages that occur when a business and its partners operate within their local communities and share similar values. This ties directly into our concept of circularity. We believe that when a company operates with a clear set of values, it helps create clear expectations from partners and clients, which in turn creates a greater willingness for people to cooperate with one another. When deadlines need to be met, it is much easier to call in a favor when all parties operate with their local communities in mind, rather than a dreaded “voice on the other end of the line.”

We have previously discussed how people are often more invested in creating positive change when their actions directly impact their local communities. We believe this applies to businesses as well. Our suppliers and manufacturers know who we are, what our values are as a company, and there is a shared recognition that we are all a part of the same community. This leads to an added level of cooperation throughout the supply chain; there is an additional interest in helping each other because it also benefits our community. In times of crisis, this can be the crucial difference between receiving a “yes” or a “no.” 

Let’s now examine a hypothetical example to highlight how participating in a circular economy with enhanced communication can make a major difference. Our customers depend on our packaging products to legally sell their cannabis products. However, the increased levels of uncertainty due to the pandemic created a massive and sudden spike in demand. Because of this unanticipated spike, our client ran out of the inventory that accounts for their standard order. Panicking, they called to ask if there was any way we could expedite the delivery of more packaging products that are essential to the function of their business.

The fact that we have shared values with our suppliers and operate in the same community does not necessarily mean that we will be able to fill the “rush” order more effectively or efficiently than some of our competitors who utilize more global supply chains. We want to acknowledge that these are complex issues and there are many other variables that factor into the equation. However, we do believe the ease of communication within our primarily regional network gives us a significant advantage when it comes to satisfying the needs of our customers in a pinch.

Additionally, the regional nature of such a supply chain helps remove extra “links,” which inherently streamlines communication. The fewer people that a special request must pass through to gain approval, the quicker and more likely it is to happen. For businesses in the cannabis industry that need specific packaging products to conduct legal sales, this can make the crucial difference between being able to operate or not. In a hyper-competitive industry, any disruption in operations can significantly impact a company’s bottom line because there are so many other alternatives for consumers.

In our vision of a circular economy, we are all working together to meet the needs of the communities we live in. The goal is for all parties involved to have some type of personal connection to the issues at hand. This can be a significant advantage for businesses and communities in times of crisis and is part of why we believe it is so important to transition towards a circular economy where companies source and manufacture regionally as much as possible. It is easier to communicate and everyone benefits when we, as businesses, have an active interest in the communities in which we operate.

Written by: Galen Kuney, Sana Packaging Intern