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

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

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