One of the basic tenets of the Boy Scout code is to “leave no trace” when vacating a campsite. The same rule applies to proper supply chain management, according to some former scouts now serving as prominent reverse logistics practitioners.
“We owe it to our community and future generations,” says Gary Cullen, chief operating officer of 4PRL, the reverse logistics operation of The Georgetowne Group, a consultancy based in Clarksville, Md. “Consumer buying patterns in the past were more conservative and therefore pushed product obsolescence to a larger window—three to five years for a television, for example,” he adds.
“The secondary markets are effective in diverting a large number of products from landfill and creating numerous jobs.”
“But now, consumers want the newest television set on the market. One year it’s the flat screen, the next it’s got to be 3D.” And just as “secondary markets” exist in the financial world to offer investment alternatives, a similar convention helps manufacturers repurpose their supply chains.
“There are new revenue streams to be explored,” says Dale Rogers, the incoming director for Supply Chain Management at Rutgers University. “The secondary markets are effective in diverting a large number of products from landfill and creating numerous jobs.”
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For November, which is the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI came in at -3.2. While this is still entrenched in negative territory, it represents an improvement over October and September, which were -5.5 and -6.6, respectively.
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