Within industrial sectors and indeed, individual industrial plants, there is always a need to improve efficiency. Even if environmental considerations are not the driving force, economic factors may provide the spur. However, it is impossible to make changes and demonstrate that the changes have been effective if there is no standard against which to measure the improved system. This is the basis of benchmarking. An inventory is a description of the system as it currently exists. By making any proposed changes and re-calculating the inventory it is possible to judge whether or not the changes have produced the desired effect.
One example of supply chain benchmarking is in the use of commercial carpets. The supply chain benchmarks several key steps in the use of commercial carpets: carpet use and production, fiber production, and intermediate chemicals production. These LCA’s provide the basis to make changes, measure the improved system and demonstrate that the changes have been effective:
Boustead has used LCA’s for other supply chain benchmarking applications.