Many companies may want to "green" their supply chains, but their actual method of doing so could differ. This is because of some pretty key differences in various industries which could define any kind of action. Guitar makers are taking a closer look at their chance to improve sustainability. To continue driving value in this area, businesses can look for global sourcing solutions that help them stay efficient no matter how long and twisted their supply chain grows.

Charlie Redden to speak at convention
Who better to discuss this topics than a guitar supply chain expert? Charlie Redden of Taylor Guitars will address the TPA Supply Chain Conference in San Diego next year, as the official website stated. In a 2013 interview with Inside Supply Management Magazine, Redden expressed hope that sustainable, environmentally conscious supply chains can persuade others to follow suit as business evolves. He also said that he supports supply chain professionals who "dig deeper."

"By learning as much as possible about the parts being purchased, they may find less expensive alternatives, uncover bad business practices or network with those farther behind the supply chain that can help everyone along the way," he said.

The Gibson raid
It's hard to talk about the guitar industry's supply chain issues without mentioning specific incidents from 2011. The Department of Justice targeted guitar company Gibson over alleged violations of the Lacey Act, claiming that the manufacturer used illegal and endangered wood in some of its products.
The following year, The Hill reported that Gibson resolved the issue by agreeing to pay $350,000 in different penalties, more than the value of the material seized by the government. Gibson was not officially charged with violation of the Act, which concerns, among other things, illegal transport of natural goods, but the connection seems to at least have prompted the settlement. In addition to reducing gas emissions and other effects, a business can look to government compliance regulators to mitigate possible concerns and leave their operations in better condition.

Finding ethical wood sources
By now, it should be clear that sourcing wood ethically can help businesses demonstrate green values. Trees need to be both legally produced and sustainable, perhaps from a strong forested region, to match up with government and industry requirements.

Environmental news site EarthFix spoke to Steve McMinn, a supplier who works with guitar manufacturers. He recommended against sourcing wood from tropical locations, which could be subject to poaching and thefts, although these problems also appear in other regions.

There's another factor which will determine whether a guitar maker chooses a certain source: "figure." This, according to the article, is the shape of the grain on the wood, which can dramatically change its worth.

In the end, it's not hard to imagine a major guitar brand wanting the best in ethics, sustainability and figure type all in a single source. Since it can take a long time for trees to mature, it's difficult to wait too long for any particular development.

Strategic sourcing is one approach to the supply chain that will help guitar makers switch tactics without losing any value. Smart solutions are necessary when a company has several different goals to meet at once.
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