Comprehensive Management of Electronic Product Return Logistics: Design of the Return Chain


Official reference: DPI2007-65827-C02-02
Funding Body: Ministry of Education and Science (MEC)
Type of Funding: Public
Main Researcher: Prashant Yadav
Other Researchers: Mustafa Çagri Gürbüz, Jarrod Goentzel, Carolina García, Santiago Blasco

Project Description

This project studies the complete process that products undergo from pick-up in the reverse chain to processing (recycling, repair, etc.) at the corresponding facilities. Each of the two partners (Universidad de Oviedo and the M.I.T./Zaragoza Logistics Center research institute) shall focus on one of these two steps: the return chain and product processing, to look into opportunities to improve the design and planning of the entire process.

Firstly, this project will study how to optimally design a supply chain with direct and reverse flows. Specifically, it will analyse when it is best to pick up electronic return products through a retail outlet and when it is best for the producer to pick them up directly and under what conditions, if any, a logistics company as a third party should be in charge of managing and operating the complete reverse supply chain.

With regard to the second step, this project studies the most important decisions to be made from a recycler’s point of view, defining new decision-making models and techniques to help with the planning and operation of these facilities. A case study will be made beforehand to look at the coordination problems between them and the equipment return chain, as well as the main difficulties identified by these centres in terms of management. Based on these results, the characteristics of the new models and procedures to be undertaken shall be identified, focused on four basic lines of research:

  • Analysis of waste treatment cell lines,
  • Tools for analysis of eco-efficiency and decisions regarding electrical devices’ end-of-life,
  • Search of efficiency in disassembly scheduling,
  • Planning of returned materials by means of “Reverse-MRP” algorithms.

Participating Organizations

  • Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC)
  • DHL España