Daily Archives: November 6, 2014

Procurement Trend #21. Increased Raw Material Scarcity

Eighteen anti-trends from the bush country still remain. As much as we’d like this series to be nearing the end of its run so that LOLCat can come out of the bag and once again explore the world, this lunacy has to stop. We have to shine the light on all these half-truths and lies and put an end to them once and for all. We will continue until each one is laid bare in the hopes that the boondock futurists run back into the bush lands from once they sprang and leave us alone to push forward.

So why do so many historians keep pegging increased raw material scarcity as a future trend? Besides their inability to recognize the twenty first century, there are a few reasons, but among the top three are:

  • We’re burning fossil fuels like there’s an endless supply
    and there isn’t. New drilling technology might allow us to tap more reserves then we thought we could, but this only gives us two or three extra decades before we run out. Since most of our current fossil fuel reserves formed over hundreds of millions of years, and are from plant remains before the time of the dinosaurs, it should be obvious that they are not renewable.
  • We’re using rare earth minerals as fast as we can mine them
    and demand is still increasing as mobile mania hits the world!
  • Global food reserves recently hit an all time low
    back in 2009 and with population steadily increasing, the situation is not going to improve.

So what does this mean?

Fossil Fuel being burned like there’s no tomorrow might mean there is no tomorrow

Non-renewable energy reserves are running out, pollution is on the rise, and if you aren’t already being hit with rapidly increasing energy costs, expect to be taxed to the hilt by way of carbon credits. At some point, where fossil fuels is concerned, there will be no tomorrow. Thus, you have to start moving towards renewable energy resources — wind, solar, water — as soon as possible and make sure that you are only using fossil fuels for transport, at least until such time as there are suitable hybrid bio-fuel/battery-powered transport options for you to choose from.

Rare Earth Minerals are on the verge of extinction

They are called rare earth minerals for a reason — they are few and far between compared to regular earth minerals and in a very limited supply. You need to find alternate designs that, at the very least, require less of these materials if you can’t eliminate the need for them completely. And you definitely need to start designing for recycle and reclamation.

Food Reserves at an all time low

Food costs are going to increase through the roof, and severely impact your bottom line, unless you do whatever you can to eliminate waste through the supply chain end-to-end. In many countries, a third of food is needlessly wasted. Not only can we do much better than this, but we need to. Even though there are now almost 7.3 Billion people in the world, we are still able to produce enough food to feed everyone, but yet over 870 Million people are chronically undernourished. Simple math says that if 2/3rds of global food production feeds about 6 Billion people, then we can easily feed 7.5 Billion people with sufficient nourishment. However, it also says that as the population grows, our ability to produce more than we need decreases substantially and any natural disaster that wipes out a major crop will have huge repercussions if we cannot eliminate waste. So you need to review all of your transportation, storage, and production processes to make sure you get total supply chain waste as low as possible as soon as possible.