ISE and supply chains for human needs

Industrial and systems engineering and supply chain management focus on overall efficiency improvements and cost reduction. This focus has significantly benefited all parties in society. However, sometimes the focus does not best serve the ultimate user of the supply chain – humans.

The tools in the ISE toolbox are great. Cost reduction and efficiency improvement help most people with more and better products and services. Even in a food desert, the low cost reduces the economic burden for low-income populations.

In the healthcare system, ISEs can help provide more services to more people at lower costs within the existing complex structure. However, the optimized solutions in silos have not supplied human needs well for food deserts and healthcare.

There are essential factors and information related to human needs not considered in cost- and efficiency-focused supply chain research and development. Non-ISEs often propose inefficient solutions to the problems. ISEs have an advantage to supplement their tools on cost and efficiency with a few more tools, such as a deterrent to moral hazards and the internalization of externalities, to address some of the most important social and environmental issues.

Many corporations have made changes to serve the broader range of stakeholders that are closely linked to human needs. Similarly, the ISE profession can lead the way in creating a supply chain to better meet those human needs.

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