Recycling, repurposing, and reusing are processes as old as human civilization. Prior to the Industrial Age, everyone practiced recycling because goods were costly and took a long time to make. While the concept of recycling is long-establish, its processes have undergone changes and updates. Staying ahead of the technology and options can be challenging, as VMC Supply Chain Manager Tammy Walker explains:
In a supply chain, end of useful life management is the process of deciding how to recycle, repurpose, sell, or donate a product once it stops working as efficiently as the company would prefer. In the past, disposal was one of the aforementioned options; however, very few items actually go into the trash these days, as tossing things is frowned upon.
Rather than tossing things in the trash, recycling is an environmentally conscious alternative. Recyclers will pay companies a certain amount for old servers, for instance. Recyclers tear servers apart into plastic and metal components, mash them up, and create materials that can be used in new applications. If a company is rather large, they might choose to repurpose products internally; a product may go from a production environment to a lab environment. A company may also choose to resell or donate a product after cleaning it.
Of course, there are some companies that aren’t sure which course is best, so they end up storing products in large warehouses. I’ve seen places with many years’ worth of product, piled up. This is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable supply chain manager at the helm of end of useful life management. This process hinges on what a company’s values are. One company may be worried about their carbon footprint; another may be more interested in making money. It’s up to the supply chain manager to figure it what motivates an organization.
Being vigilant of end of life management will save on costs in the long run. What can you do to give new life to products that could otherwise be discarded as waste?
Contact Tammy Walker at TammyW@vmc.com or 877.393.8622. Go here for more posts on supply chain management.