For the last decades, the importance of sustainable supply chains has been increasing considerably. Customers and businesses start to realize that resources are limited and that our earth can’t sustain constant consumption. A remarkable trend in sustainable supply chain has been the recognition of the strategic importance of the closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) and its contribution to a sustainable economy.
A closed-loop supply chain is basically a supply chain where, in addition to the forward flow of materials from suppliers to customers, there are flows of products going back from the end customers to the manufacturers.
Operations like recycling and remanufacturing add a lot of value and provide economic and environmental benefits due to the extension of the product’s useful life, reduced energy, and material consumption.
Earlier this month, two students from the National School of Arts and Crafts Meknes – Morocco, used the SCM Globe software to simulate the Tesla Closed-loop Supply Chain. They shared their work on LinkedIn, and it was great. We therefore decided to interview them to ask for more details about the project and their experience using the software. The interviewer was our intern Mohammed BOUALAM.
Interview with Kaoutar and Maryam – National School of Arts and Crafts Meknes – ENSAM
Mohammed (M): Please present yourselves.
Kaoutar KARAM (K): I am Kaoutar KARAM, and I am a last-year industrial engineering and production student from the National School of Arts and Crafts Meknes – ENSAM Meknes. (LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaoutar-karam-7089a8179/)
Maryam ECHAIB (E): I am Maryam ECHAIB, and I am also an industrial engineering student and Kaoutar’s classmate. (LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryam-echaib-6377a7163/)
M: How did you discover the SCM Globe software?
K: We participated in the SCM Globe Supply Chain competition last summer. That was our first time working with the software. (https://www.scmglobe.com/winning-teams-in-morocco-supply-chain-competition/).
M: What is this project about? Is it a school project?
E: Yes, it’s an academic project. At first, we were using a different simulation software package to simulate a simple supply chain. But we chose to go beyond that and work on a more complicated supply chain. We saw that SCM Globe was the easy and appropriate tool to do that.
K: In this project, we worked on the closed-loop supply chain of Tesla, and we used the SCM Globe software for the simulation, data analysis, and scenario comparison based on financial performance.
M: Tell us more about closed-loop supply chains (CLSC), and why did you choose to work on this topic?
K: CLSC encompasses all forward logistics to deliver products as well as the reverse logistics to collect and return products for recycling to ensure a supply chain is economically and ecologically sustainable. We chose to work on this subject for two reasons. First, the importance of managing the closed-loop material flows has been increasing consideration recently. Second, this type of Supply Chains is more used in the automotive industry, and since we are interested in this industry, working on this subject was beneficial for increasing our knowledge.
M: What are the solutions that you worked on? And why did you use SCM Globe simulations?
K: In this project, we worked on two different recovery policies for a one-month disruption in the reverse part of the CLSC. We modeled a temporary unavailability of a warehouse for collecting the used Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) for electric cars, and added use of financial and sustainable manufacturing concepts. The first recovery scenario is reactive, based on transportation management. And the second one is proactive, it’s about adding a new backup collection facility to the supply chain.
E: Yes, and we used a simpler simulation approach because it worked best. There are basically two other approaches: one uses complex mathematical equations; the other one uses the SCOR model, but needs a lot of information about the company that we didn’t have access to.
M: To analyze the two scenarios, you had to define all facilities in each scenario, add vehicles and transportation routes. What was it like to do this?
K: Compared to other simulation software, SCM Globe was the easiest one to use. Putting the facilities on the map is very realistic. Define each entity by entering some data, and there you go, you can set up a scenario quickly. Then run the simulations and see real-time results.
You can see a short video of these simulations on Kaoutar’s LinkedIn page – https://www.linkedin.com/posts/kaoutar-karam-7089a8179_automotive-lib-battery-ugcPost-6758440847315869696-Jsc0
M: What was the conclusion of your simulation? Can you please talk more about that?
K: Disruptions in the reverse logistics, at the LIB collection facility, significantly reduce supply chain performance both at operational and financial levels. The simulation results show that the recovery plan with the new transportation policy appears more efficient for small-scale and short-duration disruptions, and for disruptions that do not completely shut down a site. In this way, the flows of disposed batteries are not too high and the related costs are low. The backup collection point recovery strategy appears efficient only for long-lasting disruptions that entirely shut down one or more sites.
M: Any final thoughts or messages you want to deliver to other supply chain students?
E: I invite any student studying supply chain management to try SCM Globe, because the software doesn’t teach you only about SCM, but it also teaches one of the most important tools in a supply chain manager’s toolbox, which is using simulations to analyze problems and design solutions.
THANK YOU Kaoutar and Maryam
Interviews like these help us better understand the user experience and improve the software by listening to suggestions.
Special thanks to KARAM Kaoutar and Maryam ACHAIB, who took the time to attend the interview and answer our questions. Their answers reassure us that we are committed to accomplishing our goals. We are glad they found the simulations powerful and easy to use.