Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Source Maps and Supply Chain Mapping

These days more and more consumers care about the manufacturing conditions and the environmental impact of the physical products that they buy. They care about whether their manufactured goods are produced in safe working conditions and that the businesses pay a living wage.

Many consumers also care greatly about the conditions and environmental impact of the food and drink products which they consume. As a result of this consumer demand more and more companies are creating source maps. These are maps which show where businesses source the components for their physical products and where they source the ingredients for food and drink products.

French yogurt producers Les 2 Vaches has released a source map for their range of organic yogurts. This Google Map shows where all the yogurt ingredients are produced or grown. The map also shows where the ingredients are stored and prepared.

If you select a marker on the map you can click on the '+' icon to read more about the farm or company which produces an ingredient or product used in Les 2 Vaches. The map sidebar displays the ingredients used in the yogurt. If you select an ingredient the map highlights the companies and farms involved in producing the selected ingredient and a supply chain is displayed on the map to show how the ingredient makes it to the final product.

Businesses that want to create a source map can also use a narrative mapping platform, such as Esri's Story Maps or CartoDB's Odyessey.js. This is the route taken by T-shirt manufacturers Loomstate.

Loomstate has used Odyssey.js to create The Loomstate Difference, a narrative map which guides potential consumers through the manufacture of a Loomstate T-shirt, from the sourcing of materials to the finished product.

The map takes you on the production journey of a Loomstate t-shirt, from cotton farm to mill, from cotton to garment, from dying to printing, the map reveals the whole process of a t-shirt's manufacture.

SourceMap has being mapping product supply chains for a number of years. SourceMap is a crowd-sourced directory of supply chain and environmental footprint maps for thousands of different well known and lesser known products.

SourceMap can be a great resource for businesses, providing them with an easy way to create an OpenStreetMap showing where all their core materials are sourced. For consumers SourceMap provides a great way to research the supply chains of products to help them make more informed purchasing decisions.

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