Product Deletion and Sustainable Supply Chains

Product Deletion and Sustainable Supply Chains

Qingyun Zhu (University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA) and Joseph Sarkis (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2173-1.ch001
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Products and their associated material, capital, and information are critical flows within supply chains. Supply chain management needs to facilitate product portfolio management. Some example activities include material sourcing, product design and manufacture, product delivery and transportation, product usage, and service. Closing the supply-chain loop, especially for sustainable supply chains, include end-of-life disposal and repurposing activities. Sustainable supply chain development typically focuses on three major dimensions of organizational competitiveness, economic, social, and environmental. Organizations make product deletion continuously. These decisions can profoundly contribute to sustainability. Alternatively, sustainability performance of various supply chain process and product or material flows may also be strategic product deletion reasons. This chapter will review the integration of product deletion with sustainable supply chain management. It will entail the impact of product deletion on sustainable supply chains.
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Product Deletion

There is no standard definition for product deletion. In the existing literature, strategic outcomes overlap amongst concepts including product deletion, product portfolio rationalization, product portfolio optimization, product design and its dynamics, complexities and varieties. These concepts might not explicitly address product deletion, but they might discontinue or remove certain product units or attributes of products (Avlonitis et al., 2000; Gilliland, 2011; Saunders & Jobber, 1994). Product deletion, alone, is a strategic choice of a firm to discontinue, remove, or withdraw a product from its product line or product family (Avlonitis & Argouslidis, 2012).

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