ERP Can Help With Sustainability

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Many decisions involve yes or no. They appear clear-cut, simple.

A head politician survives a motion of no confidence yet again. For the eighth time. This was an opportunity to give politicians the chance to regroup – restore values, their brand and deliver more than just hope to supporters. All behind closed doors.

This was the optimal time to deeply reflect and use the many signs of discontent to act! But again, short term vested interests rather than long term sustainability won the day at the expense of a nation.

Changing Tack

Governments across the continent should learn from IT and logistics professionals – collaborating to reach new futures for their countries and like SYSPRO manufacturing and distribution customers using their ERP system to schedule the right activities and resources at the right time and tracking progress towards necessary results –  all activities sorely lacking for many years. The Yes-No vote was a Kanban, a signal to act, take stock and complete the sustainable transformation process we desperately need. On that note…

Let’s talk sustainability. Some facts for cerebral warming:

  • One American produces 2kg of waste per day (3 tons a year for a family of 4), and they recycle!!
  • In South Africa this equates to around 50 000 000 tons of waste a year
  • Zero-waste activists, thru recycling, composting and planning reduce their waste to one litre jar per year
  • 40% of municipal solid-waste in South Africa is organic, reaching 45% if paper and cardboard are included
  • Add the component of soil and more than half our landfill waste would become plant growing media

The graph below shows the waste mix we produce (Source: USA 2014)

Landfill is the supply chain cemetery and the last stop after transporting 50 million tons of food packaging, plastic, glass, paper, steel, and some gardening waste hundreds of kilometers through the supply-network from initial manufacturing plants to consumers. Then via municipal waste disposal to its polluting resting place. Sure some is incinerated but little of the 45% is formally recycled. What do we need to do?

Become a Zero-waste Innovator

Let’s shop with reusable-packaging including jars, boxes and hessian bags. Replenish frequently and buy from bulk at local stores. Minimize last-mile packaging requirements while enabling delivery-vehicle design to carry more product with less expanded foam packs layered and shrink-wrapped on pallets. Use the power of people, processes and ERP to plan lean manufacturing and distribution of inventory, like 18 biodegradable toilet rolls, without the need for excessive plastic wrapping.

We need to incentivize a reduction in the packaging that weaves through multiple supply-chain hopes.

And on that note I guess many eco-friendly beers were drunk the night after The Vote, as both sides celebrated victory. Let’s hope after the hangovers, everyone sees the light and follows the right journey for a sustainable country.


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