Recently, concepts like collaborative economy or collaborative consumption as well as circular economy take more importance in our lives through the traditional media and digital media.
These concepts and circular economy in particular, is no stranger to the world of transport and logistic where from decades is operating in a more or less official way but barely recognized by great part of the professionals that perform its labour inside this sector.
Of course, there’s a huge path to cover but there are important milestones that show the way to transform a classical linear supply chain into a circular supply chain. To commence to understand these concepts, it’s necessary to reflect on the pillars where the circular economy is supported and the benefits that provides both to a corporate level and a social level. We could find specific examples depending on the activity sector but, in general
Based on scarce and limited resources (raw materials), which feed the production processes of goods or services based on assets that are distributed in society for its consumption, we come to repair and / or reuse, pillar that in my opinion, supports the greater weight of the circular economy. Finally, in case it can not be “repaired / reused”, we arrived at the collection and recycling, second pillar in importance in my view, that allows to start again the cycle by generating new raw materials for the production process.
How is this vision connected with logistics and transportation? It is certainly in the pooling sector where this concept is more evolved and strengthened. There are several players already offering their services in the supply chain, some examples of services are:
- Pallet pooling: The operation is based in a pool of pallets belonging to an operator in this sector used interchangeably by customers. The operator supplies, collect and repair the pallets.
- Boxes pooling: Basically, the operational model is the same as Pallet Pooling
- Out of this companies, we can find this practice as part of the market culture. For instance, in Germany, the pallet exchange is well extended and based on Epal pallet standards
This is just a specific example applied to pallets and boxes of how the players of the supply chain can evolve from a linear supply chain to a circular supply chain.
The transformation and / or the evolution of a linear supply chain to a circular supply chain seems crucial to gain competitiveness, achieve a greener logistics and enhance CSR companies. For that, it should “rethink” the design of products and services and direct them to this reuse and take advantage of new tools such as bigdata that allow to create synergies between users and competitors.