Two Sides: A Unique Supply Chain Approach

12/10/2012

December 10, 2012

Guest blog by Chuck Ruffing, Director, Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability for Eastman Kodak Company

For many, fall begins the annual budget cycle and the opportunity to review freshly worded business justifications for employee headcounts, initiatives, capital spends, subscriptions and, yes, memberships.  With a year’s experience behind us, an ongoing membership in Two Sides is a commitment I can make without hesitation. Some might think Two Sides is an unusual choice for Kodak.  In fact, as I write we are one of a very few printing equipment company in its US membership.

Like many companies, we buy a lot of paper for our own use.  And, some may not realize it, but we also sell a lot of paper including inkjet paper, photographic paper, proofing paper and paper used in packaging and manuals. As Two Sides members, we enjoy access to research, tools and experts that have helped us strengthen our product standards for purchased and manufactured papers, and enhance our supplier selection process. Although this has been immensely valuable, it’s not the whole story.

Industry associations come in many styles. Some bring laser focus to one sector’s specific needs, while others are designed to expose a broad membership to the very best practices in industry. Two Sides is of a third, perhaps rarer, variety focusing on a single, complete supply chain. A natural complement to Kodak’s own life cycle-based product philosophy, Two Sides, like Kodak, believes the best solutions come from looking across every stage from materials selection to end-of-life management.  Kodak is clearly not as big a player in the world of paper as many of the other Two Sides members, but when you take the life cycle view, you see that paper is clearly a big player in the world of printing equipment.

In addition to its focus on the entire supply chain, Two Sides prioritizes balanced, credible and science-based approaches; values Kodak also shares.  Without hesitation, we immediately utilized the Two Sides educational materials with customers and at trade shows enhancing our promise to be full partners in our customers’ pursuit of sustainability. Membership has meant we stay focused on our B2B customers knowing Two Sides is educating consumers and other sectors through initiatives like its soon-to-be-launched “No Wonder You Love Paper” and Get the Facts campaigns. It’s a unique partnership that I believe is only possible when we take a supply chain view.

Kudos to Steve Brocker of Western States Envelope & Label who defined the issue so well in his Oct 16th Two Sides blog.  We have not done a very good job of educating the public on the environmental story of paper, which should be the ultimate case study on forest preservation, economic benefit and life cycle analysis. We (and I mean the entire supply chain) need to change the perception of print and paper.  With credibility and objectivity, Two Sides is tackling that. I fully expect their efforts will contribute to a change in understanding that will flow through the value chain to sustain the printed word.

Chuck supports compliance to both operations and products at Kodak worldwide, as well as coordinating sustainability initiatives throughout the company.  Chuck is also a member of the board of trustees for the Central and Western New York chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  He also writes for Kodak’s “Grow Your Biz”.