Managing Reverse Logistics or Reversing Logistics Management? Defended on Thursday, 12 February 2004
In the past, supply chains were busy fine-tuning the logistics from raw material to the end customer. Today an increasing flow of products is going back in the chain. Thus, companies have to manage reverse logistics as well.This thesis contributes to a better understanding of reverse logistics. The thesis brings insights on reverse logistics decision-making and it lays down theoretical principles for reverse logistics as a research field.In particular it puts together a framework for reverse logistics identifying the elementary dimensions, providing typologies, and structuring their interrelations.With respect to aiding decision-making, this thesis comprises return handling and inventory management. On the first, the focus is on critical factors for the combination vs. separation of reverse and forward flows during material handling. On the second, the main research issue is the value of information. One of the findings is that more informed methods do not necessarily lead to the best performance.Furthermore, this thesis proposes a reflection on the future development of the field. Through a Delphi study with an international panel of academics working on the area, recommendations are made concerning both research and pedagogy. This thesis also poses the following question: is it a matter of simply managing reverse logistics or of reversing logistics management?The message is: logistics cannot go forward without reverse thinking!
Reverse Logistics, Sustainable Supply Chains, Supply Chain Management, Sustainable Development, Return Handling, Inventory Management, Information Management, Operations Management Case studies, Delphi Study