Leveraging the supply chain for sustainability: From Service to Sustainable and back to Reverse Logistics
Research focus in logistics has shifted from the traditional forward logistics to what happens after sales. Drivers have been economics, since much money can be made in service contracts. This is followed by legislation, making companies responsible for their products after their user-life and finally, social responsibility. A good example is Philips, which is expanding rapidly in the medical market with relatively high profit margins in service contracts. An example of legislation is the complex of European WEEE and RoHS laws which force companies into taking care of reverse logistics. This area has been named as one of the top three challenges for logistic service providers. In this presentation we first give an overview of these trends. Next, we review some of the research results obtained so far including the Revlog project on reverse logistics. We also discuss some of the industrial projects presently being conducted in this area. We conclude with providing a number of issues for further research.