Product Recovery in Business Networks: An Inter-organisational Approach
Doctoral thesis, 2014
This doctoral dissertation analyses various ways of organising product recovery in inter-organisational networks. The purpose of product recovery is to dispose products in an environmentally responsible manner, which is strongly associated with the conservation of raw materials and sustainability. The aims of the thesis are (i) to develop an analytical framework for organising of product recovery and (ii) to apply this framework in an empirical study.
The framework is based on the Industrial Network Approach, with its three basic pillars: actors, activities and resources. In this way the study complements the previous research focus on activities with analysis of resources and actors.
The empirical context of the thesis includes two qualitative case studies in the PC industry. The first case takes the starting point in a firm involved in coordination of product recovery networks, while the second centres on a disposer of used PCs.
The study shows that the most significant issues in the organizing of product recovery are concerned with the coordination of interdependent activities and the combining of physical and organizational resources. Effective organizing in these respects is contingent on interaction and information exchange among actors. In these processes joint classification systems and sorting rules are crucial in order to maintain and enforce routines in the product recovery operations from disposer to end user.
Regarding implications for practice the study shows that the organising of product recovery is affected by substantial uncertainties with regard to supply and demand. These problems can be handled through increasing collaboration between the business partners in the recovery network, which provides opportunities for enhanced economies of scale, and joint planning of collection, transportation and reprocessing.
Closed Loop Supply Chain Management