This video shows where the e-waste goes. (part 1/2)
For a long time, SCM students were told that a supply chain “must ultimately be measured by its responsiveness to customers” and that a supply chain starts with raw materials and ends with a final product. But this is only half the truth. Indeed, a supply chain ends with waste and, thus, a supply chain must ultimately be understood as a closed-loop system. So far, the overemphasis on the customer has led to products that are fast-moving, barely repairable, and hardly recyclable. Computers are a typical example of planned obsolescence. So, what happens if the customer wants to get rid of his/her “old-fashioned” computer? It is complicated to recycle electronic waste properly. Therefore, e-waste, which contains valuable materials like gold, often ends up in incineration plants or, illegally, in Ghana, where it destroys both the people’s health and the environment. Producers are responsible for e-waste. Therefore, recycling needs to be considered when designing products and supply chains. What about cradle-to-cradle supply chains? (part 2/2)
The Journal of Operations Management has now published two interesting articles about the science of operations and supply chain management. These two articles are intertwined and they were written by Singhal and Singhal (2012). The first article is titled Imperatives of the science of operations and supply-chain management and discusses two opportunities for pursuing radical innovations. The first opportunity is the pursuit of all phases of science (including theory development and theory testing). The second opportunity is the pursuit of multiple perspectives (e.g., based on different methods and different parts of a system). The second article is titled Opportunities for developing the science of operations and supply-chain management and proposes and analyzes ways to seize these two opportunities. It is found that networks of research teams, outliers, and meta-analyses can help to obtain multiple perspectives and to discover radical innovation. In conclusion, both articles will help our community to further develop SCM research.