Lean Thinking for Sustainable Supply Chains

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Supply Network Guru
Planet sustainability
Himanshugupta   8/28/2014 12:51:15 PM

I do not want to question the comment that flow of raw material, semi finished and finished product across the world pollute the planet six times than all the automobiles in the world. However, what if we cut the unnecessary trade flow then what would be the pollution? Is it 2 times or 3 timer or more. I guess, not much difference as today most of the manufacturin/assemble/service is concentrated in Asia and design/development/research is concentrated to Europe/US. The raw material is spread across the globe. The consumers are also spread around the globe. So, i do not see how we can reduce pollution by constricting today's supply chain.

User Rank
Supply Network Guru
Re: Planet sustainability
Ariella   8/29/2014 12:23:38 PM

@Himanshugupta The pollution of cargo ships was noted a few years ago. I saw some articles on the subject written in 2009. I'd give you the link, but the comments with links don't appear to be posting. Just do a search for it and you'll find a number of articles, and they all link to a Guardian one posted on April 9, 2009.  

What Southway proposes is cutting back on that by keeping imports to a minimum. So each area would manufacture as much as possible to serve its own local needs.

Nigel Southway
User Rank
Stock Keeper
Re: Planet sustainability
Nigel Southway   8/30/2014 7:46:47 AM


Your comment..."The consumers are also spread around the globe. So, I do not see how we can reduce pollution by constricting today's supply chain."

You answer is contained in your question.. Long Global supply chains are a direct indicator of pollution and waste.. So if we rethink these supply chains and have more regional or trade bloc manufacturing where possible we move toward a more sustainable model in all terms.

Many case studies show that local manufacturing close to the consumer is more effective in so many ways... there are materials that need to be transported across borders but not at the damaging and unnecessary levels we now are experiencing... we even have food products moving between borders and across seas that reside in the receiving country... why?...  

It is also fair to say that emerging economies were not entitled through skill, technology and environmental focus to become the world's manufacturers and support environmental sustainability... just look at the pollution in china today... cheap product and rapid growth mainly through wealth transfer at the expense of very costly environmental results...

We have followed an unsustainable model for our global economy and it needs a rethink.. That's the point ..I am not saying all trade is bad or a global economy is not needed or an intrinsic benefit to mankind but we need through better control, balance and direction to change the model and re-set the plot!




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