E Logistics

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Research paper E-logistics and the natural environment
Joseph Sarkis, Laura M. Meade and Srinivas Talluri
The authors
Joseph Sarkis is in the Graduate School of Management, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Laura M. Meade is in the Graduate School of Management, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, USA. Srinivas Talluri is in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Eli Broad College of Business Administration, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Introduction
Many Internet and traditionally-based electronic commerce (e-commerce) companies, whether focused on business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, have come to realize that easy access to information and communication and the delivery of their products or services are important drivers in developing market competitiveness. Having a supportive electronic logistics (e-logistics) and reverse e-logistics system is necessary to maintain this competitiveness. Billions of dollars will be spent on developing, using and maintaining these systems. The B2C market in the USA generated an estimated $28 billion in 2000, up from $17.3 billion in 1999 and $7.7 billion in 1998, according to the US Census Bureau. According to Jupiter Research, the B2B marketplace reached $2.1 billion in 2000 and is predicted to grow to $80.9 billion in 2005. Jupiter also expects B2C to grow to $210 billion in the Asia Pacific Region alone by 2006. Billions more dollars of services and materials will flow over these systems. Killen and Associates (2001) expect that total worldwide Internet commerce will be $2.2 trillion by the year 2005. It is expected that billions of dollars will be spent on developing infrastructure and supporting processes in this evolving environment. Organizations will feel the economic burden and benefits of such electronic inter-organizational systems when integrated into their commerce relationships and delivery mechanisms. However, the environmental and ecological implications of these latest organizational and consumer-driven systems have not been investigated or evaluated. In this paper, we seek to bring to the forefront this dimension of e-commerce implications on the natural environment from the perspective of the movement of materials and information through the supply chain. In a networked economy, the winners will be those who can take advantage of the benefits of e-commerce while avoiding its liabilities. By assessing natural environmental variables at this early phase, we can be better informed about which trends to watch and the policies and practices that need to be put in place to ensure that e-commerce leads not to waste and inefficiency, but rather to an ecologically sustainable society. In seeking to accomplish this goal of identifying ecological relationships we will focus on two main dimensions of the closed-loop supply chain, i.e. the forward and reverse e-logistics functions. We will begin the discussion by providing a short overview of logistics and the various electronic technologies that exist to enable the logistics function. We then discuss e-logistics elements and their various

Keywords
Environmental management, Electronic commerce, Distribution management, Supply chain management

Abstract
Organizations realize that a strong supporting logistics or electronic logistics (e-logistics) function is an important organizational offering from both the commercial and the consumer perspective. The implications of e-logistics models and practices cover the forward and reverse logistics functions of organizations. They also have a direct and profound impact from an environmental perspective. Focuses on a discussion of forward and reverse e-logistics and their relationship to the natural environment. The issues analyzed include those of traditional green logistics and supply chain management functions such as: inventory management, transportation, warehousing, delivery management,...
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