Citgo has released a low-viscosity motor oil designed specifically to maximize drain intervals and accommodate the sporadic oil-flow needs of hybrid vehicles.
Direct Packaging Solutions rolled out a brand new, "state of the art" operation that allows them to recycle and rebuild steel drums that are "indistinguishable from a new steel drum" to be sold at prices %25 lower than the average cost of new steel drums.
Rustlick has come out with an additive that can extend the life and augment the rust-inhibiting properties of cutting fluids to prevent "costly waste disposal or coolant replacement".
Kimberly-Clark has partnered with Safety-Kleen to create a cost-effective shop-towel disposal system that delivers many of the oil-soaked towels to a waste-to-energy incineration facility.
In the spirit of Altruism, I would love to believe that the motivation for these product developments is a deep concern for the environment and a desire to help struggling customers save money. This is most likely not the case, but, as they say in philosophy, sometimes it’s not the "why" but the "how" that is important. The bottom line is that in the wake of economic turmoil and support of initiatives to protect the environment, suppliers and manufacturers have found it profitable to create products/processes that allow customers to reduce, reuse, or recycle the resources they need.
What does this mean for sourcing professionals? It means that we need to keep our eyes peeled for creative alternatives to the status quo. Economic adversity drives large-scale innovation. Many historians argue that the Great Depression was one of the most technologically progressive eras in American history. The companies that noticed these advances and leveraged them strategically survived the storm and came out stronger than their stodgy competitors. In every great challenge lies a great opportunity. Are you looking for yours?