MIS Applications in Emerging Areas and Novel Business Domains

MIS Applications in Emerging Areas and Novel Business Domains

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0164-2.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter is dedicated to the examination of a case study related to the efficient management of waste. It is commonplace that industrial activities have created serious ecological problems, and even though there are different philosophies and approaches to resolving these problems, it is necessary to organize business activities along ecologically sound principles. Waste management in this chapter refers to the widest concept of organizing, handling, transporting, recycling, and disposing responsibly of all types of waste generated by companies. Building of W-MIS, i.e. Waste-Management Information System, is a key issue, because every business activity produces some waste, either hazardous or polluting to the environment.
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9.1. Case Study: Efficient Waste Management

Industrial activities of the past century have created serious ecological problems. Even though there are different philosophies and approaches to resolving these problems, it is necessary to organize business activities along ecologically sound principles. Waste management is a key issue because every business activity produces some waste, either hazardous or polluting to the environment. Waste management refers in general to the processes of collecting, processing, recycling or disposal of waste materials. Waste (or industrial waste) includes a wide variety of kinds, including liquids and solid waste, sewage, electronics, chemicals, commercial waste (e.g. packaging material, etc.), biodegradable waste, etc.

Even though companies may have relatively minor impact when examined independently, collectively their impact is great because of their large number. As a result, waste management is essential for companies, too. The adoption of environmental protection measures, both proactively and reactively, provides companies with the opportunity to meet their legal obligations, take care of and protect the natural environment and -at the same time- improve their competitive position. In this section we review the literature and outline the strategic opportunities of waste management considering the competitive advantages for companies. Emphasis is put on proactive views on waste management that provide strategic benefits to the firms, rather than on reactive approaches that mean merely to conform to the existing legislation.

Businesses are aware of the popular demand for careful waste management as a high priority environmental issue. Companies – and especially small(er) ones - face greater pressure when coping with waste products, because they often lack necessary resources or expertise. E-business could offer unique opportunities both for companies wanting to dispose of their waste or find waste management services and for companies who deal with specific aspects of waste disposal itself. This chapter proposes an approach for locating actors involved in the transportation, disposal, recycling and reuse of waste created by companies. The approach we take incorporates the notion of Request Based Virtual Organizations (RBVOs) using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and an ontology for the definition of waste management requirements. The populated ontology is utilized by a Multi-Agent System which performs negotiations and forms RBVOs, as this approach enables companies to find appropriate partners, handle waste management and gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. Of course, the list of alternative implementations is not limited to the above; there are plenty of competing approaches that a system analyst may take to converge to a more or less optimal solution.

More specifically, we present a brief literature review in relation to environmental issues of which waste management is one of increasing global concern. It also includes the competitive advantages of waste management for commercial enterprises. An innovative approach is presented which gives a brief outline of a proposed system for decision support on selecting a combination of firms to enable cost effective, ecologically sound and efficient waste management of a company’s or other organization’s waste. The complex problems faced by companies concerning the management of their waste is acknowledged and the solution proposed incorporates state-of-the-art technology in order to smash barriers imposed by limited resources of companies or confusion as to where to turn for comprehensive solutions. For readers lacking insight into virtual organizations and other terminology used in the chapter a brief introduction to the technical terminology is provided. We also demonstrate how the concept of RBVOs could be used in waste management.

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