Enhancing the Supply Chain in Organisations: The Pivotal Role of Reverse Logistics

Enhancing the Supply Chain in Organisations: The Pivotal Role of Reverse Logistics

M. Reza Hosseini (University of South Australia, Australia), Nicholas Chileshe (University of South Australia, Australia), Raufdeen Rameezdeen (University of South Australia, Australia) and Steffen Lehmann (Curtin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6220-9.ch010


Reverse Logistics (RL) is an innovation able to bring about immense benefits for organisations in a wide range of industries through enhancing the performance of supply chain procedures. Yet, evidence demonstrates that RL has remained unexploited mainly due to the lack of knowledge about its benefits, enablers, and major aspects of its adoption and implementation. In this context, promoting the adoption and diffusion of RL into the supply chain of organisations has been recommended frequently. This chapter provides a response to such need by (1) explaining the phenomenon and dispelling the confusions surrounding the RL concept, (2) clarifying the major drivers and barriers of RL and highlighting the role it can play in enhancing the performance of conventional supply chains; in addition, (3) the chapter intends to demystify the major aspects associated with implementing RL in organisations. The chapter also aims at familiarising potential readers with the major references available in the field.
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2. Reverse Logistics Background And Definitions

Research studies leading to the birth of the Reverse Logistics (RL) phenomenon date back to the 1960s (see Pokharel & Mutha, 2009). However, traces of the concepts such as Reverse Channels or Reverse Flows are found in the publications from the 1970s (Bouzon et al., 2013; Brito & Dekker, 2004). For example, one of the earliest definitions of RL was inspired by considering the traditional flow of products from the manufacturer/supplier to the consumption point as the standard direction for the conventional supply chain. In this context, RL was described as “going the wrong way” (Lambert & Stock, 1982, p. 19).

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