Business environment is a constantly changing and evolving force, which places emphasis on the operations of the companies and necessitates more focus on cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency. Nonprofit organizations often undervalue the role of supply chain management and strategic planning and, thus, find themselves in complex financial and operational situations. The purpose of this document is to look at supply chain operations of three organizations with one common indicator – their business model is based upon a social purpose and, thus, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and responsible business practices are essential for the business (Senge & Prokesh 2010). The organizations, which this document will look at, are Savers, St Vincent de Paul Society and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
St Vincent de Paul Society
St Vincent de Paul Society is a nonprofit organization, founded to help destitute and disadvantages people in Australia. Today the organization has more than 40,000 members in Australia and over 950,000 members globally. The organization brings religion in the core of its mission statement, by articulating its message as the life of the gospel message through helping poor with respect, love and justice. The society aims to be recognized as a Catholic organization and charity, offering “hand up” for those in perils.
Supply Chain Analysis
The organization is involved in a wide range of activities, including financial and humanitarian assistance to low income families, housing provision for destitute people, refugee and immigrant services, educational assistance to children, assistance in health matters, such as mental illness and other activities. In total, the operations are organized in ten different areas, where the projects are run in parallel by permanent staff and the volunteers, working with Vinnies (Vinnies, 2014). This diverse involvement places a lot of pressure on the upstream relationships of the organization with volunteers, sponsors and partners. The organization works closely with several larger entities, such as International General Council (IGC), National Council of Australia and other local and regional mostly governmental bodies. The structure of the organization is rather extensive, and it employs over 3,000 individuals across the country in different functions and roles, from health professionals to Information technology specialists. With the above in mind, this nonprofit organization demonstrates traditional business setting with the major difference of service social purpose (Senge & Prokesh 2010). Major strategic supply chain management challenges can be divided into three areas. First is the ability to provide and maintain in-house capabilities and resources to attend to all ten areas of projects. Secondly, fundraising activities, which involve active Brand image promotion and require accurate upstream planning of financial resources. Thirdly, downstream distribution activities, which involve housing capacity planning, program capacity management and other aspects of delivering the service to the poor.
It is evidenced the years of existence and strong organizational structure enabled the St Vincent de Paul Society building on integrated supply chain and strategic partnerships with the major governmental bodies. One of the core recommendations to improve the supply chain is to address the issues of housing through bottom-up approach. At the moment, the organization places a lot of emphasis on the lobbying and long-term funding. Volunteering and local “get involved” campaigns could be a valuable contribution to finding additional temporary accommodation through community involvement.
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Started during the Great Depression the organization has a long history working with poor on development of self-sustainable solutions. The mission of the organization is not only to alleviate poverty, but to ensure that people in need learn to help them. The target public of the organization are children, youth and older people, facing financial challenges in education, living and retirement. The mission of the company is to bring innovative solutions and quality services, which will enable placing Australia on the way of being free of poverty.
Supply Chain Analysis
Two core directions of the BSL supply chain include refugees settlement and financial matters of living, retirement and education. The organization works with two types of upstream stakeholders: government and Brotherhood businesses. First stream of activities includes research and development of projects, policies and practices, which can be implemented by nonprofit organizations and the government in order to fight poverty and bring sustainable activities to the communities and families in need. These activities include employment, professional training, educational placement and other aspects of personal development for children and youth. Second stream of activities includes financial assistance to mostly retired people, who cannot benefit from comfortable living (BSL 2014).
One of the major strategic challenges in view of supply chain activities is the ability to maintain strategic affiliation with the partnering organization as the function of BSL itself is intermediary. Given that, inability to build on the integrated supply chain from supplier to the final user will make the work of the organization impossible. It is recommended that the organization attempt to diversify its business model and try to attract volunteers and sponsors to develop in-house expertise and assist their target customer not only through intermediary activities, but through internally managed programs and projects for youth.
Savers, the recycle superstore, is the organization, involved in sales and donation of the used clothing and other items, offering cheap solutions for those, who cannot afford spending a lot for the basic needs of their living. Founded in 1953, today the company works with 120 alliances and charities through which it makes the business work. The organization outlines its vision as to provide their customers with the best possible thrift store shopping experience in the world. Shared value culture, created by the organization and transformed into its market offer is honesty, integrity, team membership and continuous improvement (Savers 2014).
Supply Chain Analysis
The concept of the Savers business is the Savers Cycle, which involves a three step approach. First, the organization encourages and received donations of reusable clothing and household items. The donations are gathered though the charities and alliances, which receive payments for the items, they receive in donation. Second step is sorting and restyling the donated products in a way to identify the highest quality items, sort them by type, color, size and other characteristics to sell at a premium price. Finally, the items, which are not sold, are further shipped to the developing countries, where individuals can set their market place and sell the used merchandise of reliable quality at affordable price. The purpose of the entire supply chain is to create a self-sustainable mechanism of fundraising in local communities and assist charities in funding their programs and projects (Savers 2014).
Based on the current supply chain and the scope of the Savers operations it is possible to argue that the company could further benefit from diversification of the products they work with. Current focus of the company is on clothing and household items. Education is one of the critical elements of sustainable communities and individual development (Senge & Prokesh 2010). With that in mind, expanding the scope to the educational items, such as books, used technology and other elements, which may boost educational capabilities, can add further value to the organizational activities at a low cost, utilizing existing network and the supply chain mechanism.
Savers (2014). About Us. Savers Corporate Website, viewed 14 May 2014, http://www.savers.com.au/Promotions.aspx
BSL (2014). About Us. Brotherhood of St Laurence Corporate Website, viewed 14 May 2014, http://www.savers.com.au/Promotions.aspx
Vinnies (2014). About Us. St Vincent de Paul Society Corporate Website viewed 14 May 2014, http://www.savers.com.au/Promotions.aspx
Senge P. and Prokesh S. (2010). The Sustainable Supply Chain. Harvard Business Review, October 2010, viewed 14 may 2014, http://hbr.org/2010/10/the-sustainable-supply-chain/ar/1