The Truth about Electronic Supply Chains (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)

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About Andreas Wieland

Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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