When you think about it, we haven’t done the greatest job of setting up our supply chains. In many areas of our lives we act very much like lemmings, just following the status quo because we don’t take the time or we don’t have the wherewithal to try something new. Or maybe it’s because we take a shallow path towards just following our neighbors because “that’s the way it’s always been done” and look where this has gotten us with our supply chains. They’re inefficient, capital intensive, linear, uni-directional and, in a nutshell, unsustainable.
We’ll never achieve a Circular Economy with our current linear and uni-directional supply chain. Landfills are the end result of our efforts to date. Think about it, if we could develop a bi-directional or 2-way chain of both supply and reverse flows while utilizing the same asset base we could eliminate empty back hauls and partially-filled trucks; the major reasons that we ship more air than we do merchandise.
The Physical Internet written by Dr. Benoit Montreuil is a fascinating study comparing the real world of distribution and logistics to the digital world of the Internet and it’s gaining a lot of attention in the media and academia. The above video represents the first innovation towards achieving the Physical Internet and holds promise for an eventual Circular Economy.