In the past years, we have seen many changes in how organizations moderate their business models to cope with the constantly changing market needs.
As a result of that, some concepts have been dramatically changed. In marketing for instance, the standard concept of “specific stable target segment” has entirely changed. Main reason behind that is the advancement in tools and data that can multiply any business reach with more depth factors than never before.
So we saw mass segmented marketing transforming to advanced intelligent marketing where each customer is an independent segment!
This changed traditional GTM strategies and took it to new horizons. Just recalling how our Facebook home pages ads are mostly related to our past purchases or online activities can make it clearer to see how deep marketing and sales approaches have become in modern days.
Thus, the increase in data volumes and analysis drove all industries to new areas, where whom who have more intelligence to reach customers, or manufacture goods at most acceptable standards, wins. It shifted as well the way of how advanced macro economy works, it became entirely technology-dependent relying on more advanced revenue patterns along business cycles to achieve higher profits at less waste possible.
This leveraged the convention of circular economy. The concept is not new, however it has recently evolved to touch almost every model, circular economy is based on retaining value along all stages of manufacturing and consumptions in a more efficient way than traditional linear business models.
Linear economy is based on retaining one direction value chain along manufacturing stages: Source, Design, Produce, which still results large amounts of material waste and missed business opportunities despite of all traditional efficiency optimization methodologies used till now.
What circular economy tries to achieve is to reuse all processes outputs along with production, a common misunderstanding here is that many people might think circular economy is only about recycling products to raw materials, which is not correct. Recycling is actually one of the least values of circular economy, circular economy retains its larger value from looping manufacturing along all industry stages like parts harvesting, refurbishing, reusing or recreating…
On the consumption level, the product can be circulated on multiple consumers among different markets, locations and segments. On manufacturing level, the product is produced from series of recursive production stages, and at any stage all spare parts can go into new processes to be reused and be part of another re-manufacturing processes/products. For example a manufacturer will lease out a TV for 2 years instead of selling it, then sell the same product to a different customer, along all that, the TV components can be reused, refurbished or re-harvested for another production cycles
Adopting a circular economy is one of the most interesting methods we see nowadays, as it opens doors for entering completely new markets where original products usually can’t reach (as emerging markets for example).
Example on Circular business model
A simple example is what we saw in the past days in the US mobile phones market, after the release of any new iPhone, almost all service providers (T mobile, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T) offered a special program to its customers. The program gives customers the opportunity to exchange (trade-in) their older iPhones with new locked iPhones provided that they should commit to a two years contract plan, this program was extremely successful and the benefits were great for all parties (customers, service providers, Apple and others) how is that? could be explained below…
Whenever a customer exchanges his or her old phone, the old phone is sent to Apple by the service provider, part of the monthly contract subscription fees goes to Apple as well (depends on the agreement between Apple and the service provider), Apple takes the old phone and sells it to partners who refurbish it then resell it to another consumer in the US or outside the US.
So the benefit to the consumer: He/She will have a new phone model at apparently no cost.
Benefit to service provider: Higher customer satisfaction, customer retention and securing stable revenue over 2 years.
Benefit to Apple: Selling new models, reaching out to other markets by selling the refurbished phones there and reusing of spare parts in various production stages.
Benefit to Apple partners: Selling refurbished models with good profit margins for different customers in other markets, Apple itself may bypass this partner sales stage and sell directly refurbished phones
Introducing the circular business process
As seen from the example above, the idea of Circular business/economy generates totally new revenue streams which is an interesting approach for executives to exercise.
I am introducing a new process representation to be used in any circular business modeling. That is the circular business process. A circular business process is simply a process that repeats itself with slightly different changes in inputs/outputs depending on which circle, loop or state the process is in.
Circular process have iterative production circles; where first circle represents the first time input/output, then this process can go through another cycle (circle #2) with different 2 versions of input/outputs are generated, this can go to N times and so on…
In order to simplify this and to avoid making huge changes in the current linear process representation, the box that represents a circular process can be drawn with a circle inside it.
The circle can contain a number to represent the process cycle number, where a circle number tells us in which circular state the process is at (1st, 2nd and so on).
This can be represented in the figure below
I think this representation provides an easy way to model a circular process without changing much the existing linear process representation
Adding to the huge environmental benefits, Circular Economy definitely generates new streams of profits, multiply any brand reach and leverage businesses development. Business Process modeling must be changed to represent this type of new modeling, this should be simple and easy to represent without affecting much the current linear representation as demonstrated in this article.