No, this is not just about Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). That is an exhaustive subject in itself. MSW generation levels are expected to double by 2025. Problems in supply chain management, infrastructure capacity constraints and associated costs in Solid Waste Management (SWM) seem to be severely snowballing into increasingly insurmountable proportions. According to a World Bank report, generation of Waste, fast fuelled by rapid population growth and widespread urbanization, is expected to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. It was about 1.3 billion tonnes just over half a decade ago. And the cost of SWM globally is projected to mount to $375 billion per year. It was about $205 billion just over half a decade ago. However, that could well be just a consequence of the apathy and lack of willingness across the spectrum of professions, in understanding the significance of Waste and its management.
Waste is an instance or a substance in a process and Wastage is a measure of the amount of waste generated in the process. Amount lost is Value deducted is Productivity decreased. Amount lost, only if not reused. If reused, then it no longer remains Waste. Neither in the process which has generated it, nor in the ones which consume it. It becomes output and input. And that is the essence of Waste Management. Also, its goal. Reduce Reuse Recycle. Repeat.
Wastages are direct measure of loss. And Business is for profitability. Thus, Wastages work against business. Wastages detrimental to business and supply chain, are of materials, resources, time, money, and opportunities. More detrimental than these wastages per se is the lack of their proper management. That is lack of proper strategy and processes that enable reducing reusing recycling them – all of them – materials, resources, time, money and opportunities.
Wastage of materials are solid, liquid and gaseous wastage mainly from residential, both urban and rural, commercial and industrial areas across the food, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, agriculture, aviation, construction and many other such sectors in manufacturing. Wastage of Water, the sine qua non of life, is the most expensive of wastage in materials.
Wastage of resources, time, money and opportunities have quite a few common causes. Burgeoning problems of traffic jams, task dependencies in series of activities, lack of collaboration and co-ordination between processes and owners thereof, delays in making decisions, design, development and debugging of complex systems, errors in data and analyses all lead to waste of time, resources, money and opportunities. An incorrect investment decision, for instance, is one of the major reasons for financial losses which is direct waste of money. Along with money, it is also direct waste of time, resources and opportunities. These losses could be caused or further worsened by absence of a well-defined optimized process viz. demand planning, sales and operations planning, budgetary planning, sourcing, procurement, contract management, inventory management, manufacturing, quality control, distribution, legal and regulatory compliance, financial audit, taxation, payables and receivables management, risk management, technology setups and upgrade, ethical code of business conduct and anti-corruption policies, acquisition and retention of skills, customer relationship management and business continuity. Lack of optimization in the various factors affecting business, in utilization of various assets and in collaboration across processes and stakeholders all lead to waste of time, resources and opportunities, consequently leading to wastage of materials.
A lean secure process with multi-stage distributed controls, a simple secure system easy to use, maintain, upgrade, debug and enhance, detailed documented operating procedures, synergy of perspectives, collaborative strategy, ˌconscientiously compliant and industrious implementation and a progressive agile policy framework are the vital ingredients of minimizing or even eliminating wastage. As a matter of fact, that is the only way to achieve Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) high-quality manufacturing and environment-friendly sustainable growth.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat.