Keywords: reverse logistics, information technology, information systems, recycling, case study, product recovery, remanufacturing, reuse, used products, end-of-life products, environmental concerns
The role of information technology and systems in reverse logistics: a case study
Reverse logistics is a process whereby a manufacturer accepts products from consumers for possible remanufacturing, recycling, reuse or disposal. Recovery of used products is receiving increased attention due to growing environmental concerns. Though studies have shown that reverse logistics practices can result in substantial cost savings for companies, there has been some reluctance implementing these methods. Our research shows that information systems and information technology may play an important role in the support of this process. To this end, we address several questions related to reverse logistics: What are the drivers – internal, external, and legislative – that impact reverse logistics? What exemplar companies have saved money by implementing reverse logistics programs? What is the role of information technology within reverse logistics? Our paper will explore this area through a case study of a company that is involved in the practice of reverse logistics. We hope that this application will shed light on the operations of a recycling outfit and the role of information technology and systems within this reverse chain. For the purpose of this paper, the company will be referred to as XYZ.