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Product Resynthesis as a Reverse Logistics Strategy for an Optimal Closed-Loop Supply Chain

[+] Author Affiliations
Chinmay Sane, Conrad S. Tucker

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Paper No. DETC2013-12587, pp. V004T05A017; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 18th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 2013 ASME/IEEE International Conference on Mechatronic and Embedded Systems and Applications
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5591-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


With continued emphasis on sustainability-driven design, reverse logistics is emerging as a vital competitive supply chain strategy for many of the global high-tech manufacturing firms. Various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and multi-product manufacturing firms are enhancing their reverse logistics strategies in order to establish an optimal closed-loop supply chain through which they can introduce refurbished variants of their products back into the market. While a refurbished product strategy helps to mitigate environmental impact challenges as well as provide additional economic benefits, it is limited to an existing product market, possibly a subset of the existing market, and fails to commercialize/target new markets. In addition to refurbishing, the alternatives available for utilizing End-Of-Life (EOL) products are currently restricted to recycling and permanent disposal. In this work, the authors propose employing a new EOL option called “resynthesis” that utilizes existing waste from EOL products in a novel way. This is achieved through the synthesis of assemblies/subassemblies across multiple domains. The “newly” synthesized product can then be incorporated into the dynamics of a closed-loop supply chain. The proposed methodology enables OEMs to not only offer refurbished products as part of their reverse logistics strategy, but also provide them with resynthesized product concepts that can be used to expand to new/emerging markets. The proposed methodology provides a general framework that includes OEMs (manufacturers of the original product), retailers (distributors of the original product and collectors of the EOL products) and third-party firms (managers of the EOL products) as part of a closed-loop supply chain strategy. The proposed methodology is compared with the existing methodologies in the literature wherein a third-party supplies the OEM only with refurbished products and supplies products unsuitable for refurbishing to another firm(s) for recycling/disposal. A case study involving a multi-product electronics manufacturer is presented to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed methodology.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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