Product Modularity and the Design of Closed-Loop Supply Chains

by Harold Krikke, Ieke le Blanc, Steef van de Velde



While companies spend much effort on the design, analysis, and management of their forward supply chains, they need to pay the same attention to their reverse supply chain. Pioneering firms have learned that making product returns profitable relies on good design of the reverse chains' business processes, including integration with the forward chain. Product modularity offers new possibilities for supply chain design. Optimal closed-loop supply chain management requires three things. First, the type of return needs to be matched with the appropriate closed-loop supply chain. Second, through modular reuse, optimal value can be regained in closed-loop applications. Third, the value of reuse information may in some cases be higher than the value of the returns themselves.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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