Saturday, October 6, 2012

DIY Manufacturing and Green SCM

Reduced barriers of entry into manufacturing and commerce, and the incorporation of sustainable practices represent two key trends in supply chain management for the 21st century. The proliferation of technology and globalization of trade have made design tools and raw materials available to a broader array of entrepreneurs. As a result a new “maker” movement has emerged, which emphasizes the value of batch or custom made items rather those that are mass-manufactured. Some view this sub-culture as a network of hobbyist, but others see their growing ranks as a possible pre-curser to a revolution in manufacturing and production. A recent NPR piece highlighted the 2012 World Maker Faire, which took place in in New York City in early 2012.

Another trend in supply chain management is the implementation of sustainable practices either due to increasing regulatory pressure or consumer demand, or both. As is usually the case in environmental initiatives, the countries of the EU have been leading the evolution toward manufacturing and logistics methods that reduce carbon emissions and the amount of byproducts placed in landfills or otherwise requiring disposal.  An August 2012 article in The European Financial Review identified two main areas in which companies should focus their efforts in increasing sustainable supply chain practices:

·       "1.) Greening the supply chain operations by reducing the total carbon footprint of products’ delivery process. From a logistics perspective, the main contributor of carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions besides the manufacturing operations is transport.

·          2.) Closing the materials flow loops: including issues related to the collection of used products, their recovery and reuse.”[1]

The European Financial Review: “Environmental Issues in Supply Chain Management

Which issue do you think will have a greater impact on supply chain management for the future: reduced barriers of entry to commerce and manufacturing or the increased demand for green practices?

[1] Galinska, Paulina, and Carlos Andres Romano. "The European Financial Review." N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2012. <>.

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