4 key ways sourcing and design impact your entire product journey 


January 8, 2024

The start of your product's journey has a big impact on what comes next, from sales and marketing to recycling and disposal.

One of the challenges brands face today is balancing the need to drive revenue with meeting sustainability goals and championing circularity in their product lifecycles. At first, these goals can seem to be pulling in different directions. However, circularity offers brands and manufacturers a significant opportunity to win new customers, expand market share, and comply with evolving regulations. 

The move towards circularity begins at the very start of a product lifecycle, namely the sourcing and design of a product. This stage of a product’s journey is fundamental when it comes to securing the data needed to power the circularity of a product. For example, this data can relate to the raw materials sourced, how and where they’re extracted, and how these materials play into the design process. This could have significant downstream impacts on your business, your customers, your sales partners, and, indeed, your regulatory compliance.  

Here are four ways the sourcing and design processes impact the product journey. 

Are your products ready to go circular?

Read the latest inriver ebook “The Circular Product Journey” to find out.

1. Establishing product origin stories 

A key way to meet evolving consumer demand for complete product transparency is through the establishment of product origin stories. As Gartner notes in the 2023 Market Guide for Product Information Management Solutions, these stories answer important questions like where a product comes from, how it was made and by whom, and how it got here. These stories are a fundamental part of addressing questions around greenwashing, as well as ensuring full regulatory compliance in every market. 

Securing a correct, compelling, and compliant product origin story requires full data transparency from the very start of a product’s journey: the product’s sourcing and design stage. Onboarding relevant data from this early upstream stage ensures every product can meet downstream expectations. This includes data on material sourcing and extraction, labor conditions of workers, transit emissions, and much more. Only by securing inspiring, truthful, and data-driven product origin stories can brands and manufacturers differentiate themselves from the competition and unlock the revenue potential these stories create. 

2. Complying with evolving regulations 

Product origin stories are a key part of building trust with the consumer. However, they’re also a great way to ensure compliance with a multitude of evolving regulations across multiple markets. Many of the data points needed to provide accurate and authentic product origin stories correlate with those required to meet emerging regulatory requirements. This includes the European Union’s forthcoming Digital Product Passport (DPP) initiative, set to transform supply chains around the world. 

As the transition to circularity continues apace, the number of regulations surrounding supply chain transparency will only increase. By securing the fully flexible governance of data from the design and sourcing stage of your product’s lifecycle, you can proactively address all existing and emerging regulations. The ability to quickly comply with regulations is also a huge catalyst for market expansion, streamlining your growth ambitions for every market. 

designing chairs in a studio

3. Enabling more sustainable production choices 

Creating more circular products requires a closer look at the way manufacturers design and source the goods they sell. This means thinking about selecting materials that are easily recyclable or reusable. It also means minimizing waste during production and implementing sustainable design techniques and processes. However, in a world of complex, international supply chains, making changes to the sourcing of your products is often easier said than done. 

Making more sustainable decisions for your supply chain requires a foundation of dependable data. It also needs a bi-directional flow of this data between upstream and downstream audiences. Without this data flow, implementing more sustainable choices within your sourcing and design phase can be challenging. However, with the right data-driven connectivity in place, brands and manufacturers can achieve a greater level of autonomy over their upstream supply chains. This can have significant implications when it comes to meeting evolving downstream demands from consumers and regulators alike. 

4. Optimizing end-of-life processes 

The materials sourced and the designs used in the early stages of your product’s lifecycle can have a huge impact on the very last stage. This includes recycling, repurposing, and responsible disposal. By considering the product’s full lifecycle from the very start, brands can design products that are easier to disassemble, recycle, or repurpose at the end of their useful life. This proactive approach enables a smoother transition towards circularity, reducing waste and the product’s environmental impact.  

Embracing responsible end-of-life processes ensures that products contribute positively to the circular economy. This is true both during their use phase and after they have served their primary purpose. However, to ensure this positive contribution, it’s essential to secure the bi-directional flow of data across the supply chain. This ensures the right decisions in the sourcing and design stage. It also allows for flexibility should recycling or disposal requirements change, which ultimately impacts the entire product journey. 

piles of recycled bamboo

inriver: The PIM solution for transparent sourcing and design 

To create truly circular product journeys, brands and manufacturers need to begin with the sourcing and design stages of their products. This means onboarding data from all supply chain partners into a single source of centralized data truth. This truth can then be communicated across the entire value chain. However, this is only possible with the right software solution in place. That’s why the inriver PIM is built on a foundation of a fully extensible data model. This data model supports data onboarding from across even the most complex supply chain. This secures the bi-directional flow of upstream and downstream data needed for fully transparent sourcing and design. 

The composable, multi-tenant inriver PIM offers the most comprehensive Product Information Management solution on the market. Powered by transparent data onboarded from across the supply chain, you can be sure you have a solid foundation for even the most complex downstream demands. With built-in syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, advanced data-sharing, and more, inriver offers the complete solution for every business in every market. 

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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  • Dave Copeland

    Director of Sales Engineering

    Dave has worked in the software industry for the past 20 years and within e-commerce for the past five, focused on solving the biggest issues facing brands selling on the digital shelf today. With a passion for solving problems, Dave believes that with the right technology, process and people, brands have an amazing opportunity in front of them.

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