The future of supply chain management (SCM)

In logistics-lectures all over the world, students get more or less the same picture of a supply chain. It shows a flow of products, that starts with raw materials and ends with the end-costumer. Oversimplified it looks like this:




Recognize something? From a company's or SCM-manager's point of view, the supply chain seems to end with the customer. What happens then, isn't in their responsibility anymore. It's non of their business, literally speaking.
This is one example of today's world problems. Because, what happens when the product leaves the customer? It goes into the garbage. The way SCM is taught in schools all over the world isn't sustainable at all. People tend to think, that you can get those raw materials forever and when the product is with the end-costumer, the responsibility is with him. It's this short term thinking and this lack of feeling responsible, or the way of teaching, that leads to growing piles of rubbish and to nature's exploitation.

I want to make a prediction for future SCM. In ten years, SCM will look like this: The arrow must also show in the other way. The material disposed by the customer must be the starting point for the whole chain. The chain must be closed. Sustainable SCM must focus on organizing the chain, that every step can contribute to such a closed chain.



So every step should be based on a sustainable strategy. Only the energy must come from out of the chain. But again, this energy could be maintained sustainably, i.e. with solar-energy.
And, most imortant, those concepts must be taught in Business schools! The big question here is of course, how to make it financially attractive to close the chain.
I bet, that closed supply chains are going to be the normal point of view in business-schools by 2020!

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