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The Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation Life-Cycle Essay

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Updated: Oct 22nd, 2020

Introduction: Life-Cycle Assessment as the Means of Maintaining Sustainability

The concept of the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is rather useful in the evaluation of a company’s performance since it helps point out the problems in the use of the available resources (Kounina et al., 2013). Furthermore, the framework helps determine whether the product created by the organization lives up to the current quality standards. Additionally, it points to the ways of increasing its shelf life. Therefore, it must be viewed as an essential part of the company assessment framework.

Seeing that LCA outlines different stages of the product life cycle, it can be used as the means of reviewing the stages involving the acquisition of raw materials, the use of company’s resources, the overall efficacy of the supply chain and its management strategy, etc. In other words, the framework serves as the foil for promoting a sustainable use of resources. The focus on sustainability that the LCA helps acquire is the primary reason why globally renowned organizations such as the Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) remain competitive in the target market. Furthermore, the company maintains a consistently high product quality level and keeping the focus on customer relationship.

Life Cycle Assessment at SABIC: Improving Customer Relationship through Quality Management

SABIC has been operating in the diversified manufacturing area for over 40 years, which is a comparatively short amount of time. According to the official statement of the organization, the LCA principles are part and parcel of its system of product quality management (SABIC worldwide, 2016). Furthermore, the organization representatives emphasize that the LCA tools are used to maintain sustainability at the required level so that the amount of waste produced in the process could be reduced to its minimum. Therefore, SABIC can be viewed as a stellar example of incorporating the LCA tools into its framework so that the sustainability levels could be increased. More importantly, the company even managed to use the tool in the way that it had not been initially intended for, i.e., enhancing customer relationship.

Resources Acquisition

As stressed above, SABIC uses recycling as one of the means of managing its resources. Therefore, one of the strategies used by the firm to obtain the necessary raw materials for the chemicals that it produces can be viewed as not only admissible but also exemplary. In contrast to other organizations operating in the industry and using only new materials to create the target products, SABIC promotes a sensible approach to the process. Particularly, the company points out that a thoughtless consumption of the available materials will inevitably lead to an environmental crisis (Cabeza, Rincón, Vilariño, Pérez, & Castell, 2014).

Material Processing

SABIC uses not only recycled material as the essential resource for the production process but also bio-based and eco-FR resin (SABIC’S Xenoy IQ* resin helps canon electronics meet global customer demand for eco-responsible products with new scanner housing, 2012). As a result, the level of waste is reduced significantly. As stressed above, the company focuses on sustainability extensively, and its vision thereof is not restricted to the economic advantages of rational resources use. Instead, SABIC takes the traditional concept of sustainable use of resources based on the idea of environmentalism and makes it applicable to both the environment of the organization and the global resource consumption (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014).

Product Manufacturing

The way in which the organization approaches the process of manufacturing can also be deemed as exemplary. The yield improvement strategy, which the organization views as the primary tool for managing the production costs, has a significantly positive impact on manufacturing. Furthermore, the focus on eliminating extra processes that make the production phase overly complicated serves as the means of reducing the waste levels. Thus, the product manufacturing processes are sustainable.

Distribution

As soon as the products are created, they are delivered to the end customer with the help of the logistics-related services of the partner organizations. Despite the fact that relying on other companies in transporting the goods to the target audiences might seem somewhat risky. For the process of product delivery to work impeccably, there must be a flawless device for carrying out a successful communication process between the companies. Otherwise, numerous delays are to be expected because of the possible misinterpretations and misconceptions.

SABIC has been putting a heavy emphasis on the technological aspect of its development, particularly, the acquisition of the tools and devices necessary for successful data management (Foundation for the future: Sustainability report, 2014). Thus, it can be assumed that the threat of data mismanagement and the following reduction in the quality of the services provided to the end customer is rather small. Nevertheless, SABIC could use an improvement in the area of logistics and especially transportation- and time-management-related planning. Even though there are currently no tangible issues, the premises for the problem have been created, and even a minor hiccup in the information transfer may affect the quality levels drastically.

Usage

The award-winning technology that the organization produces is easy to use and, therefore, is preferred by the customers compared to other brands. As a result, it can be assumed that the usage-related aspect of the framework also meets the standards represented in the model. It could be argued that the IT innovations could be incorporated to improve information management. Focusing on efficient communication is crucial to the firm’s progress.

End of Life

The products delivered by SABIC, though varying in their type and the target audience to whose needs they are supposed to cater, are always designed according to the cradle-to-gate design. In other words, the products can be deemed as extremely durable. With a nearly unlimited shelf life of the goods offered by the company and the opportunities related to recycling, the organization has become practically invincible to the impact of negative factors that the Saudi Arabian market has (Alshanbri, Khalfan, & Maqsood, 2016). As the assessment carried out above has shown, the way in which SABIC utilizes the LCA framework not only is unique but also has surprisingly much potential. The organization adopts a holistic view of the life cycle management (LCM) process. As a result, the leaders of SABIC manage to coordinate all corporate processes, thus, being able to determine how the company’s resources need to be allocated. It is remarkable that the principles of recycling are incorporated into the process, thus, closing the circuit and allowing the life cycle process to come full circle so that it could restart. As a result, SABIC sustains an unceasing process of product quality improvement, contributing to the increase in its competitive advantage (Zamagni, 2012).

Conclusion: The Many Benefits of Life Cycle Assessment

As the example of LCA provided above shows, the procedure is not only beneficial to organizations but also extremely important to make sure that they should use the target resources in a sustainable manner. The LCA framework is especially important in the areas that require the use of exhaustible resources (e.g., oil). The LCA tool serves as the means of determining the problems in the current resource management framework. At the same time, it helps embrace every single stage of the firm’s operations. Therefore, its usage should be encouraged worldwide.

References

Alshanbri, M., Khalfan, M., & Maqsood, T. (2016). Retention of knowledge within the private sector organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Middle East Journal of Business, 11(3), 18-31.

Cabeza, L. F., Rincón, L., Vilariño, V., Pérez, G., & Castell, A. (2014). Life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle energy analysis (LCEA) of buildings and the building sector: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 29, 394–416.

Epstein, M. J., & Buhovac, A. R. (2014). Making sustainability work: best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Foundation for the future: Sustainability report. (2014). Web.

Kounina, A., Margni, M., Bayart, J. B., Boulay, A. M., Berger, M., Bulle, C.,… & Humbert, S. (2013). Review of methods addressing freshwater use in life cycle inventory and impact assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 18(3), 707–721.

SABIC worldwide. (2016). Web.

SABIC’S Xenoy IQ* resin helps canon electronics meet global customer demand for eco-responsible products with new scanner housing. (2012). Web.

Zamagni, A. (2012). Life cycle sustainability assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17(4), 373–376.

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