Step Two – Is Your Company Ready?
Before any company can begin to answer this question, it is important to analyse the motivations behind moving towards Circularity. Most businesses are focused on two core elements:
(1) Profits or shareholder value; and
(2) Sustainability for the long term, not just financial sustainability but also adequate supply of resources (natural, biological, human), environmental and social impact, stability in the supply chain and customer acceptance of products and services.
The transition to circular systems is not a philanthropic scheme, nor a CSR programme but a genuine opportunity to rethink a company’s business model and manage natural, biological and man-made resources, which has the possibility to bring about significant cost savings. The need for analysis of existing products and product – service models in support of the circular economy is growing. Ask yourself the question “Which combination of product and service performance is needed?” The questions below and further analysis is something every entrepreneur should ask him or herself before embarking on the circular economy adventure.
Rethink Your Actual Business
(1) What is your real core business? Is it the delivery of a product or process?
(2) What do users of your product really need?
Rediscover Your Business
(3) What materials (natural, biological & man-made) or resources do you use in the day-to-day operations of your company?
(4) Where does the products you sell or use end up? If your company provides a service there will be usage of materials / resources. Any company can review the usage of resources during the process of selling a product or providing a service – how can these resources be recovered for reuse, reprocessing, repairing, refurbishing or remanufacturing?
(5) Identify opportunities in the existing day-to-day operations of your business for pilots to apply circular principles.
Redesign Your Products or Services
(6) Look at ways to redesign your products or services for higher material / resource performance. This means thinking how materials can be reused or parts can be easily replaced via module design. What does become waste can be recovered (urban mining) for reprocessing into new materials or products.
(7) Design your service around your relationship with customers
(8) Understand and redesign (if required) the process and products needed for the reliable performance of service to your customers.
At this point you are beginning to grasp all the elements as to what is required to become circular. Now it is time to select your team (see Step One for the Eight Skills for a Circular Team).
(9) Who are the people in your company to trust and give space to begin reviewing your company’s business?
(10) How do you create a team that combines the most creative people with the most experienced? Or do you give them separate positions?
Who Are Your Stakeholders and How Do You Involve Them?
Preparing a new or changing an existing business model requires the participation of several stakeholders. Remember, you cannot change a business overnight so these stakeholders are important. Do you know all your stakeholders and do you have ‘buy in’ from all of them?
(11) Is a circular business an ambition of a few individuals or is it largely supported by the company?
(12) Are you and the team still in the phase of informing staff, company and stakeholders on what the circular economy is all about and searching for benefits. Or is it clear to all stakeholders?
Once you have decided how you will communicate to your stakeholders to get and retain their commitment. Make a check list of your stakeholders and ascertain how much each one knows about the circular economy and their ability to aid in your transition is important to map. What you communicate and how often will also influence their ability to transition to circular values and principles.
What is the Benchmark in Your Industry?
Before deciding on your approach for a circular business model, you want to know what is going on in the world around you. At this moment most industries and markets are still developing their circular business models so few, if any, have reached maturity. This immature phase creates opportunities for you to set the standards and start creating the benchmark. Now is a good time to investigate what is currently going on in your industry. Below is a list where you can start.
♦ Government Regulation
♦ Channel Partners
♦ Legal Considerations
♦ Hiring Specialists
♦ Service Providers
♦ The Globalised Economy
Analysis and Strategy for your Organisation
A company should start with a SWOT analysis to identify and evaluate the internal and external factors that can impact your organisation’s ability to transition to the circular economy. However it should be followed by a TOWS analysis which will provide you with a “call to action” as it forces organisations to really think about how they can improve themselves, how they can guard against threats and become more aware of their expertise and potential shortcomings.