Designing Efficient and Effective Reverse Logistics Systems

Designing Efficient and Effective Reverse Logistics Systems

DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-0669-7.ch001
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Reverse logistics systems engage in end-of-life product and materials management through facilitating movements from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value through recycling, re-manufacturing, repairs/refurbishments, re-processing, re-distribution, and re-sale. However, most of the reverse logistic systems are designed in haste to comply with government legislations, to promote economic benefits, to fulfill customer requirements/expectations, and to enhance social/environmental performance. Thus, the systems often fail in execution as they are designed without an in-depth consideration for holistic planning involving strategic, tactical, and operational decisions. Hence, an in-depth study is needed to understand the directives/initiatives at various levels, i.e., strategic, tactical, and operational planning levels for efficient and effective RL systems design through multiple case studies for efficient recovery of e-waste within the electric and electronics equipment manufacturing sector.
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End of Life (EOL) Product and Materials Management stands very crucial within the Electric & Electronics Equipment (EEE) Manufacturing sector due to stringent environmental regulations and increased pressure from customers to collect old products from their premises for safe disposal and recovery, as products at the end of their life cycle can no longer be landfilled or incinerated (Ferguson and Browne, 2001). Further, the technology trends within the EEE sector result in reduced product life cycle times, thus forcing the supply chain stakeholders to recover maximum value from EOL products through development of new reverse logistic (RL) channels for collection, inspection/separation, disassembly, reconditioning/reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling of the products (Sasikumar and Kannan, 2008). Likewise, a product demand surge within the EEE sectors resulting from rapid economic growth coupled with high urbanization levels increases the WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electric Equipment) or e-waste, thus calling out for efficient RL systems to promote recycling for reduction of amount of waste requiring treatment to convene environmental sustainability, but also to foster recovery of valuable materials to convene economic sustainability (Balakrishnan Ramesh et al., 2007).

Moreover, the design of such RL Channels involves strategic activities such as planning and design of networks to convene material/information flows and transportation/warehousing infrastructures for efficient transport/storage of materials/products collected from the customer end for enhanced recovery. However, the implementation and control of such activities call out for tactical and operational planning/decisions for enhanced performance under the three dimensions of sustainability (Alkahtani et al., 2021; Shad, 2000).

Conversely, most of the RL implementations fail due to lack of integration of initiatives within the decision-making hierarchy levels (U-Dominic et al., 2021). In addition, RL strategies need to be designed considering the operational risks to foster sustainable performance (Saffari et al., 2023). Additionally, Tânia Rodrigues Pereira et al. (2014) highlighted the importance of embracing tactical and operational decisions within RL system designs to holistically promote economic, social, and environmental benefits. Further, various decision problems with the RL systems design such as facility location, capacity allocation, production planning, vehicle routing etc., need to be categorized based on the time planning horizon and implemented in an integrative fashion (Farahanim and Lai Soon, 2017).

Based on the premise, the research study aims at listing and understanding the directives/initiatives at various levels i.e., strategic, tactical, and operational planning levels for efficient and effective RL systems design through multiple case studies within the Electric & Electronics Sector.

Further, the broad objectives of this study include:

  • Highlighting the importance of RL practices within the EEE Manufacturing Sector.

  • Listing out the initiatives and directives from the Literature for RL Systems Design and Implementation.

  • Exemplifying the real-life implementation of the directives identified at different decision hierarchical levels through multiple industrial case studies within the EEE Manufacturing Sector.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Disruptive Technologies: Disruptive technologies involve innovations that alter the way in which consumer’s, industries, and business operate ( Smith, 2022 ).

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) technology uses radio waves to identify a tagged object ( Hayes, 2023 ).

Reverse Logistics: Reverse Logistics encompasses a set of activities pursued towards managing end-of -life products for value recovery and safe disposal.

Green Supply Chain Management (GrSCM): Green Supply Chain Management involves management of logistic structures to enable production and distribution of products globally in an environmentally friendly manner ( Jo and Kwon, 2022 ).

FMEG: Fast Moving Electrical Goods refer to products designed to serve the basic needs of the consumer within the modern society and lifestyle ( Mathur and Kumar, 2019 ).

End-of-Life Products: It includes the list of products that have completed their life-time-service and have reached the end of their useful life (Campos et al. , 2017).

FDI: FDI falls into a category of cross-border investment wherein an investor resident within one economy exhibits a lasting interest and a predominant degree of influence over an enterprise resident within another economy ( OECD, 2023 ).

SCOR Model: Supply Chain Operations Reference Model describes all of the business activities (plan, source, make, deliver, return, and enable) associated with satisfying the customer’s demand. Further, the model is used to evaluate the supply chain performance and identify areas for improvement ( APICS, 2017 )

CSR: It is a management drive aimed at initiating a triple bottom line approach within all of its operations/processes/policies to strike a balance between economic, social and environmental imperatives (UNIDO, 2023).

WEEE Directive: WEEE is a regulatory directive aimed at reducing the amount of electrical and electronic equipment waste incinerated or sent to land fill sites. It is a European Community Directive numbered 2012/19/EU mainly concerned with managing and reducing electrical and electronic equipment waste. The main objective of the WEEE Directive is to promote re-use, recycling, and other forms of recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to reduce the quantity of e-waste to be discarded. Further, the WEEE Directive also defines the criteria for the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment ( European Environment Agency, 2023 ).

IoT: Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of connected devices that communicate through a cloud interface ( Kenton, 2022 ).

Electric and Electronics Equipment (EEE): Electrical and Electronic Equipment can be defined as equipment that works on electric currents or deploy electromagnetic fields for generation, transfer, and measurements of currents ( Ayvaz, 2016 ).

Circular Economy: It is a production and consumption model where products and items are reused to the maximum extent without being discarded. It aims at reducing the waste and consumption of natural resources through reusing and recycling of the materials (Andy, 2023).

Supply Chain: Supply chain encompasses a network of facilities, functions, and activities associated with procurement, manufacturing, and distribution of products/services in-line with the customer demand requirements ( Chopra and Meindl, 2010 ).

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