The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Chapter 13: Sustainable supply chains
If you go to a supermarket or a branch of Wal-Mart and pick up a few items off the shelf from food and beverages, to electronics, packaging, plastic products, or even clothes, and look to see where each was made, the chances are that you will find that these items have been manufactured in a foreign country, and most likely in a developing country. Emerging markets are redefining the way demand and supply are managed. Simultaneously, global companies are driven by markets across the continents, where they are constantly looking to set up production centers where costs of raw materials and labor can be kept low. The sourcing of raw materials, and the ability to obtain the right quality and quantity of a product and at the right price calls for dynamic supply chain strategy. What the end customer does not see in the above shopping scenario is how the companies procure materials globally from various entities to supply raw materials to their factories situated in different continents. We typically do not get to see the sustainable activities, or strategies, of the various supply chain members. The finished goods out of these different factory locations pass through different chains of distribution networks involving warehouses, exports to different countries or local markets, distributors, retailers and finally to the consumer. Basically, supply chain management involves managing all of the above activities while balancing supply, demand and now sustainability on a global scale.
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