Why do people always have to do things the hard way? Is it that we like a challenge, or are we simply focused on short-term benefits? The world offers a number of freely available energy sources that represent so much power that the world’s population could double in size. Nevertheless, humanity has chosen to use energy sources that need to be extracted from deep inside the Earth, and then they have to be processed before they can be used to provide energy. Throughout history, the development of energy sources has been a hit-and-miss process. Mineral oil for example used to be sold cheaply as a lighting product for decades before it finally became the world’s premier source of energy.
We still really have no idea about the sources of energy that still exist, let alone which of them will become important in the future. A great example of how the direction of human innovation can change can be found in the development of the internal combustion engine and the growth of commercial aviation. Together they brought us growth, but they also brought problems and uncertainty. We now see that the problems with our energy supply are reaching the point where we need to find solutions by creating a new path to new energy sources. Better still, we should try to use less energy to sustain our way of life. We should live greener.
Large supply chain networks are supposed to be designed to be flexible to change with the trend, and central distribution centers and regional distribution centers are located as close as possible to the center of activity. Even so, they may still encounter problems due to geographical differences in the customer base, if the activity study is based on incorrect forecasts. With the financial crisis it has become clear that the forecast models are no longer sufficient to handle such large shifts in spending patterns, and so we need to look at new strategies to handle these problems.
Normally an organization can improve its flexibility by changing its supply chain strategy and trying to increase its buffer, but in the end it appears to be a problem of the whole industry. We are currently having to deal with initiatives to improve sustainability and with very fast-changing consumer spending patterns.
So how should we go about creating a sustainable network for the future?
The European Union is investing in the TEN-T network, but is it sufficient?
I think the answer is very simple: Its up to you and me!