You’re planning a trip from Philadelphia to Chicago. You’ll be there for several nights, but you want to live relatively cheap. To cut costs, you plan on eating a few of your meals at home. What lodging service comes to mind?
Upon arrival at the airport, you realize you need to take a 30-minute ride to your living arrangements, but haven’t booked a taxi. What transportation service comes to mind?
I would bet a handsome sum the majority of individuals reading this post thought of two particular brands in answer to the two questions above: Airbnb and Uber.
These services, and their brands, have become synonymous with their industries and continue to challenge the boundaries of traditional business models.
But what is it that makes these companies so unique?
Simply put… you.
Uber and Airbnb are two of the largest successes to bear sharing economy business models. And, they wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for you: the user, the partner, the collaborator, the ‘employee’, and/or the customer.
“The Sharing Economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations” (thepeoplewhoshare.com 2016).
The very existence and success of the shared economy is completely reliant on sharing-based technology, platforms, communities, creation, sales, purchases, and ownership; the very thing that makes the marketplace so volatile.
A business model once considered irrelevant to several business sectors, (as highlighted in the graphic below) the sharing economy, was recently valued at $15 billion market value in 2014.
Experts have projected that number to grow to a $335 billion value in 2025 (Wadlow 2017).
There exists potential for application of the sharing economy model in supply chain management activities. Unlocking that potential lies within the creativity of businesses, the willingness to accept disruptive technology and the development of new supply chain applications and innovations.
This post exists to disprove the naysayers, accept the evolution of emerging business models, and to try to make sense of the potential the sharing economy holds for supply chain optimization.
Who’s already making it happen?
To set a framework of how far the application of a sharing economy business model can take a company, I figured I’d share some factual examples of companies that are already making it work.