An Assault on Resource Scarcity – Analytics is a force multiplier

EARTH HOUR is a fascinating spectacle. It is quite astonishing to see such a powerful symbol showing synchronization of intent on such a massive scale to conserve what’s left of our beloved planet. The sight of entire cities or even countries shutting down inspires breath-taking awe. It’s about time too. Above all else, the overarching narrative of our time has been the realization that our planet is running out of almost all of life-sustaining resources.

Earth Hour

While such grandiose symbolism is laudable, they remain just that- symbols. They also generate tremendous awareness, awakening and activism which may lead to ripple effects that have the potential to spread out in virtuous concentric circles of conservation.

But surely, this is not enough. This is not sustainable action to reverse the indiscriminate, mega scale wastage and depletion going on at an ever increasing rate. The ongoing tussle between the industrialized and the developing world adds an interesting twist to the issue. While developed countries have all reached a stage of maturity after decades and centuries of industrialization, the conservation lobby is accused of applying unfair restrictions on the consumption boom in places like China, India and Brazil. There is significant merit to this argument that simply cannot be ignored. The aspirations of billions o in these countries looking forward to transform their miserable lives simply cannot be ignored.

So, then what is the way out of this conundrum?

The answer lies in identifying and dealing with the real enemy here. That enemy who is embodiment of evil eating away at our vitals is WASTAGE. It is everywhere and the enormity of the damn thing churns the acid in the stomach.

For example,

  • Every unit of electricity generated from fossil fuels is a body blow to our planet’s ecological balance and a withdrawal of a currency that cannot be regenerated. Still, upwards of 40% is wasted due to poor transmission and distribution.
  • Tonnes of grains rot in warehouses, while a lion’s share of the earth’s population do not have enough to eat.
  • Only a tiny proportion of the earth’s land mass has been utilised for civilisation, but most overcrowded cities are squeezing the life out of their inhabitants.
  • I deliberately stay away from wastage of money because it is a completely tamed, shape shifting animal. All that one needs to do when they run out of money is to print more of it. In any case, it will be completely useless when everything else has run out, apart from probably being a good source of fibre for those of us who don’t mind the foul smell and the dry taste.

In this atmosphere of gloom and doom, there is a silver lining. It’s called RESOURCE OPTIMIZATION. Business Analytics has brought forward a whole host of impressive tools and techniques that can squeeze out the last drop of juice from any kind of resource.

The resource optimization armory contains some very potent weapons. Algorithms that integrate best in class concepts from Game Theory, Non Linear Optimization and a multitude of new age learning networks can identify valuable patterns in resource consumption and utilization.

Adoption of a data driven resource optimization philosophy will ensure superior forecasting of demand, just-in-time provisioning of supply, lean and mean inventory and precise, sharp capacity planning and scheduling. Scaling this capability has the capacity to satiate unlimited want of any kind.

The bottom line is that a systematic approach to ensuring optimal utilization and allocation of resources will maximize availability. Nobody needs to consume less or endure deprivation in a world without waste. There is no need to artificially temper down the animal spirits in the world economy. We just need to get smart about it

Applying the noble principles of conservation on a foundation of analytics driven resource optimization is the best chance of making a serious dent on the defining challenge of our lives.

I am not MLK, but I too have a dream. A world where RESOURCE OPTIMIZATION will ensure that there is not just enough for everyone’s need but also for everyone’s greed.


This blog is written by Karthikeyan Damodharan, Consulting Services Delivery Leader at BRIDGEi2i

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.