A Typology of Remanufacturing in Closed-Loop Supply Chains

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Abstract

This manuscript defines a typology of remanufacturing based on multiple decades of direct observations across various remanufacturing industries. The manuscript also details how managers adapt their remanufacturing operations and strategies to the idiosyncrasies of the varied remanufacturing industries. The typology identifies four distinct typological groupings based on the dimensions of a firm’s strategic focus and product design philosophy. Before delving into typology and implications on strategic and design issues, the manuscript provides recent information on the current state of the remanufacturing industry based on governmental and industry reports. To assist readers who may be less familiar with the remanufacturing industry and closed-loop supply chains, the discussion also provides a brief overview of remanufacturing processes and the overall remanufacturing industry.

Keywords: Closed-Loop Supply Chains, Sustainability, Remanufacturing, Typology

1. Introduction to Remanufacturing

Though much has been written about remanufacturing operations, far less has been written about the specifics of how managers must adapt their remanufacturing strategies to the idiosyncrasies of highly varied remanufacturing industries (Guide and Van Wassenhove 2009). In other words, a need remains to examine carefully how firms integrate remanufacturing to their specific and varied closed-loop supply chain constraints. Hence, this manuscript covers a typology of remanufacturing derived from first-hand observations in multiple industries over more than two decades of intensive work. Before moving into the typology and implications on strategic and design issues, the following sections cover a brief overview of the remanufacturing industry, remanufacturing processes, and the overall remanufacturing sets the stage for the detailed discussions in the coming sections.

1.1  Remanufacturing Industry Overview

Current estimates hold that remanufactured product sales continue to grow and likely exceed $100 billion per year (Hauser and Lund 2003; USITC 2012). Further, as the USITC (2012) report highlights, the U.S. is the single largest remanufacturing country in the world with remanufacturing operations supporting at least 180,000 full time U.S. jobs. As the remanufacturing industry grows—both within the U.S. and throughout the world—so too does the need to understand means to integrate remanufacturing processes within existing supply chain operations. Such integration of forward and reverse supply chain processes is not always a simple task and requires careful assessment of the strategic and product design fit within the overall industrial setting.

1.2 Remanufacturing Processes and Flows

Remanufacturing is the process of restoring a previously used—typically known as end-of-use—product to like-new quality specifications or to a quality level that meets the recently approved American National Standards Institute definition for remanufacturing (ANSI 2017). At a technical level, remanufacturing—commonly known as refurbishing in the electronics industry—entails disassembly and cleaning of the returned end-of-use product. After the product has been disassembled and cleaned, the remanufacturer inspects the product and replaces or restores all missing, defective, worn, or broken parts before reassembling the now remanufactured item. After the reassembly, the remanufacturer does final testing of the rebuilt product to ensure operation meets the specifications of a comparable new product for resale into the market (Lund 1984; Guide and Van Wassenhove 2001). These operations can occur at various levels of disassembly: the product level that entails minimal disassembly, the component level that requires partial disassembly, and the materials level—typically more akin to recycling than remanufacturing—that necessitates a complete teardown to the most fundamental elements of the product (e.g., reclaiming gold from circuit boards). These processes and the related market, waste streams, and feedback loops appear in Figure 1 (adapted from Guide and Van Wassenhove 2009; Abbey and Guide 2012).

Figure 1: A Process Flow Perspective of Closed-Loop Supply Chain Activities

Though the processes highlighted in Figure 1 may appear simple, there are many complicating factors embedded within the flows. Though the forward supply chain operations tend to be the focus of many firms, the market and reuse flows are often less clearly defined. Hence, the coming section delves into the nuances and details of the closed-loop supply chain structure, remanufacturing systems, and recent literature studying the nature of the market for remanufactured products.

2. Remanufacturing in the Closed-Loop Supply Chain Literature

The literature on closed-loop supply chains continues to evolve at a rapid pace (Guide and Van Wassenhove 2009; Souza 2013). Of course, many themes in the literature remain relatively consistent over time. For instance, after a first lifecycle in the market, any remanufacturing firm—whether an OEM or a third-party remanufacturer (3PR)—must acquire the end-of-use products for remanufacturing. The process of acquiring these previously used products is often termed Product Acquisition Management (PrAM) and represents a significant challenge (Guide and Van Wassenhove 2001). Further, the intensity of use by the previous owner before PrAM occurs can vary radically from effectively no previous use (i.e., a false failure) to intensive, multi-year use in some industrial settings (Ferguson et al. 2006). This wide discrepancy in the intensity of use and quality of returned cores has significant implications for the nature of product design and type of strategy a firm should employ to meet customer demands—a main topic of the coming typology of remanufacturing.

In addition, though remanufacturing is fairly common in business-to-business markets, the acceptance of remanufactured products is not guaranteed in consumer markets (Souza 2013). Consumer products often face faster decay in market value—typically termed the marginal value of time (Guide et al. 2006; Blackburn et al. 2004). Recent research also reveals the existence of distinct consumer segments that may entirely reject remanufactured products as a substitute for an equivalent new product (Guide and Li 2010; Abbey et al. 2015b). Further, though again not as apparent in the business-to-business sector, other research into consumer perceptions shows significant concerns about the perceived quality of remanufactured products that leads to significantly lower willingness-to-pay (Abbey et al. 2017; Ovchinnikov 2011; Subramanian and Sumbramanyam 2012). Though remanufactured products often offer environmental benefits over their new counterparts (Atasu et al. 2008; Klassen and Vachon 2011; Kleindorfer et al. 2005), consumers appear to show a general lack of knowledge regarding the environmental benefits of purchasing a reused product in terms of materials savings and reduced environmental footprint (Abbey et al. 2015a, b; Ovchinnikov et al. 2014). Further, brand equity that applies nicely to new products seems to be oddly behaved for remanufactured products and can be significantly influenced by the source of the remanufactured product—original manufacturer versus a third-party (Abbey et al. 2015b; Agrawal et al. 2015). On the bright side, other research into the consumer markets reveals that cannibalization of new product sales often is significantly overestimated in practice (Atasu et al. 2010). One theme of the literature is clear: many of the common norms applied to business-to-business remanufacturing do not necessarily apply to the business-to-consumer markets. This observation of highly discrepant market behaviors represents another major topic of the next sections’ typology of remanufacturing.

The business-to-business literature, which has a longer history than the business-to-consumer literature discussed previously, has numerous seminal works on the general functions and constraints involved in remanufacturing operations (Debo et al. 2005; Guide 2000; Guide and Van Wassenhove 2009; Souza 2013). In particular, the driving force behind many recent evolutions in reuse stems from legislative pressures, particularly in Europe (Atasu and Van Wassenhove 2010; Atasu and Subramanian 2012). Further, as highlighted in Figure 1, firms must figure out what level of reuse is appropriate, which often entails some degree of quality grading for returned cores (Thierry et al. 1995; Ferguson et al. 2009). The quality grading and core acquisition topic has been more recently covered in terms of balancing return rates with demand for the resulting products (Jia et al. 2016; Mutha et al. 2016). Of course, before a product can even be collected, the product design and intrinsic quality investments often dictate a significant portion of the recoverable value that will remain in the product at end-of-use, which has recently become a major topic in multiple works (Atasu and Souza 2013; Bras 2010). Further, firms that design for easy remanufacturing and repair are often in the best position to extract future value from the product, though PrAM can remain a challenge (Abbey and Guide 2013; Akturk et al. 2017). At the extreme, firms can even design the product such that ownership remains with the original manufacturer—a practice known as servicizing (White et al. 1999).

Though seemingly disparate at first glance, the various literature streams outlined above all fit within the typology described in the coming section. In fact, based on the considerations of the product design philosophy and the strategic focus on the firm, the typology highlights the different dimensions, considerations, and strategic fits for the varying choices firms make with regard to closed-loop supply chains and embedded remanufacturing systems. Specifically, the coming section will demonstrate how design philosophy and strategic focus combine to have a major influence on product acquisition systems, process intensity, control over the market, and profitability from remanufacturing operations. Note that the design philosophy can range from design for a single lifecycle through robust designs for reparability and multiple lifecycles. Likewise, strategic focus of the firm can range from little to no intent to remanufacture (i.e., a cost minimization focus) through remanufacturing as a core strategic focus (i.e., a source of increased profit). Hence, the coming section integrates this strategy-design mix into the overarching typology of remanufacturing within a closed-loop supply chain.

3. A Remanufacturing Typology

Before getting into the details of the typological regions seen in Figure 2, a few comments are necessary to set the stage. First, though the typology found in Figure 2 appears to lay neat dividing lines for each combination of design and strategic focus, firms can hold portfolios of products that exist across the spectrum of design and strategy options. Hence, each of the four focal typological regions should be viewed as part of continua along the design and strategy dimensions. Second, many of the observed focal firms had to transition their design and strategic decisions over time. Viable strategies can shift quickly when operating in a highly competitive industry. Third, the exemplar firms that led to the typological framework are representative but not exhaustive of all possible scenarios in business practice. As noted above, the legislative landscape continues to change and can have a significant influence on a firm’s decision regarding both the design and strategic focus dimensions (Atasu and Van Wassenhove 2010; Atasu and Subramanian 2012). With the preceding notes in place, Figure 2 presents a typology of remanufacturing based on multiple decades of direct observations across multiple remanufacturing industries.

Figure 2: A Typology of Design and Strategic Focus for Remanufacturing

3.1 Multiple Lifecycle Products: Robust Design with a Profit Focus

This typological region represents the ideal for truly integrated remanufacturing from both design and strategic perspectives. Only a few major firms, such as Xerox, Caterpillar, and Cummins Diesel, operate in this region of using remanufacturing as a strategic tool to improve profitability, gain greater market control through vertical product differentiation, and maintain asset control through leasing or even servicizing systems. Though Caterpillar uses similar processes for their remanufacturing and maintenance systems, Xerox stands out as a prime exemplar that has embodied this strategy for over twenty years. Of course, not all products Xerox offers fall into this category (e.g., small-to-medium sized enterprise equipment fits with the commercial returns design and strategy mix). The focal products in that fit in this typological category are the large high-speed imaging equipment offerings manufactured and remanufactured in Xerox’s New York facilities.

Through use of design for remanufacturing, Xerox has enjoyed many benefits through the multiple lifecycles of their products, such as easier reparability in the field, simpler disassembly, faster reassembly, streamlined inspection processes, and faster turnaround of machines to client sites after remanufacturing operations (Whitmyre 2011). In fact, for the highly remanufacturable DocuTech high-speed printer, Xerox was able to acquire an end-of-use core and ship out the resulting remanufactured unit in a matter of days—one of the few cases of near cross-docking in remanufacturing (Banaszak 2009). By having such an integrated system with a single line producing both new and remanufactured units seamlessly, Xerox enjoyed significant economies of scale that would not be possible with disjointed remanufacturing operations (Whitmyre 2011). Of course, the joint new and remanufactured operations were only one piece of the strategic puzzle for Xerox. Xerox also employed a system of asset control after the time of sale through a dominantly leasing system, with over 80% of large equipment going out under a lease with the remaining machines carefully monitored under field service and maintenance contracts (Gamble 2010). The field service team was further integrated into a triadic knowledge flow with both manufacturing and design teams. This integration of field knowledge with manufacturing and design allowed continuous improvement of both product and process simultaneously. Further, Xerox would even go so far as to provide all toner, maintenance supplies, and even paper stock under a fixed price agreement—a system of providing particular volume ranges of prints as a service, not as a product (DeBolt 2009). The objective of the system was simple: provide the customer with nothing but the customer’s true need—the printed document (Joigneault 1999). In other words, for some clients, Xerox applied a servicizing strategy as the asset was still owned by Xerox while the client enjoyed fully managed, on-site printing services.

As the preceding exemplar case shows, choosing to have the combination of a robust design and a focus on extracting long term profit through internal remanufacturing operations provides a potent combination on multiple dimensions. Specifically, firms that operate in this region ensure that product acquisition management is an integral part of the sales process, usually through leasing arrangements or contracts for asset reacquisition at the end-of-use. Because products in this design-strategy mix tend to be materials rich and expensive, the threat of asset leakage into the hands of third-parties is omnipresent. In other words, as there is significant intrinsic value locked into the product, third-party remanufacturers will actively seek to acquire the products for their own profit opportunities as discussed below. After the product acquisition system is in place, firms operating in this typological region must also invest heavily in their remanufacturing process, even going so far as integrating the new and remanufacturing lines into the same facility as was the case with Xerox. This is not a trivial investment, as many operations for remanufacturing, such as disassembly, inspection, testing, and disposition, are not required for a line dedicated to only new product manufacturing. This significant investment can take years and multiple generations of products to become profitable. Hence, the investment in intensive and expensive processes can represent a significant hurdle for many firms. That said, with both product acquisition and remanufacturing processes in place, a firm in this typological region is ideally placed to use the remanufactured products to achieve greater market penetration through vertically differentiated products that can target particular price-performance consumer segments (Debo et al. 2005; Abbey et al. 2013). This increased market reach can have significant competitive implications by removing the need to produce a larger variety of new products and instead offering high-performance machines at a fraction of the cost that would be required for a new version of a similar product. If a firm can get the mix of designing a product for multiple remanufacturing lifecycles and the commensurate supply chains—both a forward product sales supply chain and an end-of-use reverse supply chain for core acquisition—in place, the resulting portfolio of products can provide significant market control and commensurate profitability opportunities. In other words, operating in the multiple lifecycle products typological region can provide significant competitive advantages on multiple dimensions.

3.2 Durability and Reparability: Robust Design with a Cost Focus

In the durability and reparability typological category, firms focus on selling long lifecycle, high value products but have minimal if any focus on reprocessing or remanufacturing operations after the initial sale. This focus on selling, rather than maintaining an asset through multiple lifecycles, is actually quite common in some of the largest industries in the world, such as ship building and particularly aircraft manufacturing. In most cases, aircraft manufacturers have followed the long-standing tradition of selling their hundred million dollar products to airlines or private customers, in part due to the tradition of asset depreciation (IATA 2016). In many cases, the design intensity and capital investments in research and development are at least as significant as those involved in the multiple lifecycle product typological region (Arkell 2005). The difference is that the aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing, have made their strategic focus one of selling the high value, multi-decade in service assets to airlines that have their own in-house service or use contract service from third-parties, such as those offered by Delta Airlines (Carry 2012).

Of course, simply shifting strategies to one that incorporates significant product acquisition, asset control, remanufacturing capabilities, and market portfolio expansion is not trivial. This lack of an original equipment manufacturer committed to an integrated remanufacturing system provides both a significant opportunity but major barriers as well. Specifically, establishing a product acquisition management system and a stable reverse logistics network would be particularly difficult when third-parties, such as Delta, already possess knowledge, experience, and a network throughout the market. These same principles were observed in work with the Department of Defense (DoD) operations. Specifically, the DoD operations often employed ad-hoc asset recovery processes and had a limited in scope of reuse because the original equipment manufacturer provided little if any support for such post-acquisition reuse systems. In each case, adding competence in processing the returned assets would require significant training of personnel and capital intensive investments for the original equipment manufacturer to integrate the forward supply chain activities with the necessary reverse supply chain reuse processes.

Overall, firms operating in the robust design with minimal investment in post-sale reuse processes face major hurdles for integrating remanufacturing in terms of product acquisition management, remanufacturing process knowledge, investment in the capital intensive resources required for remanufacturing, and lack of a market presence in the reuse market. Though such firms often offer some form of post-sale support, mostly in the form of spare parts for third-party repair, the detailed knowledge of remanufacturing processes has been ceded to the third-party remanufacturers. This lack of a cogent strategy for a reuse system prevents such firms from enjoying the benefits of increased market penetration and improved profitability enjoyed by firms operating in the multiple lifecycle product typological region.

3.3 Commercial Returns: Single Use Design with a Cost Focus

Both of the preceding quadrants dealt with the robust design philosophy but examined different strategic objectives of the focal firms. In both cases, the exemplar firms operated in dominantly business-to-business industries—industries dominated by large, long use cycle, expensive products. The commercial returns quadrant moves away from such business-to-business products to focus on smaller, less expensive, shorter lifecycle products that are often targeted toward the consumer or less industrially-oriented markets. These business-to-consumer product firms face numerous challenges not found in the preceding two quadrants: rapidly shifting consumer tastes, higher levels of competition for market share, increased marginal value of time constraints, difficulty tracking assets after the initial sale, and a generally fragmented market for product acquisition management (Guide 2000).

In response to these pressures outlined above, particularly the pressures of the marginal value of time to extract value from returns, firms in the commercial returns space often focus on designing for a single lifecycle without significant consideration for end-of-use disposition (Blackburn et al. 2004). Such a strategy has led to a consumption culture that generates excessive waste streams and has engendered significant legislation to mitigate the environmental impact (Atasu and Van Wassenhove 2010; Atasu and Subramanian 2012; King et al. 2006). Further, though product acquisition management should have a plentiful supply of products due to the sheer volume of consumer returns—over $260 billion in the U.S. for the year 2015—the reverse supply chains tend to be highly fragmented and difficult to manage (Guide 2000; NRF 2015). Interestingly, many original equipment manufacturers have largely viewed product acquisition management and reuse processes for consumer returns as too onerous to manage.  As discussed below, this view among original equipment manufacturers has opened the door for third-party remanufacturers who view their product acquisition management systems as a core competence and a fundamental part of their business model. As an exemplar case, Hewlett-Packard (HP) initially held views that consumer returns were a nuisance to be avoided and prevented rather than used as a value-stream and profit opportunity. After a considerable amount of work, as highlighted in Guide et al. (2005b), HP had a unique opportunity to change their systems to view consumer returns as a natural part of their business and found integrated, end-to-end solutions to manage returns and match consumers with the appropriate HP product.

Unfortunately, the challenges continue on the market side for reselling previously returned commercial products. Even if a firm does seek to reuse the consumer products, not all consumers will even consider the remanufactured product as a viable substitute for the equivalent new product (Guide and Li 2010; Abbey et al. 2015b). Further, consumers often hold significant price-quality concerns when the reused product is priced at levels that signal potential quality issues (Ovchinnikov 2011). Many managers also hold fears that offering a remanufactured product will cannibalize new product sales, though this belief is often overstated (Atasu et al. 2010; Rysavy 2001). In some cases, though many consumers participate in providing materials for recycling, many of those same consumers do not wish to consume products made from the reuse activities (Abbey et al. 2015c; Haws et al. 2013; Rozin et al. 2015). Additionally, recent literature shows that while many consumers report being concerned about the environment and waste stream generated from this consumer consumption culture, many consumers do not choose to purchase products that would mitigate the ill-effects (Griskevicius et al. 2010).

3.4 Third-Party Remanufacturing: A Focus on Extracting Profit

Though third-party remanufacturers often thrive in finding ways to reuse products that were never designed for reuse, their activities are not completely isolated to such products designed for a single-use cycle. As noted earlier in the discussion of the durable and reparable typological region, third-parties will opportunistically enter most any market. Though asset control in the robust design space is typically constrained by the sheer scale and cost of the products, third-parties will eagerly acquire such products when feasible. Hence, unlike the other typological regions, which are well defined by the design-strategy mix, third-party remanufacturers play a somewhat amorphous role. In fact, the role of the third-party remanufacturers typically entails extracting profit from the original equipment manufacturer’s design decisions. In other words, the third-party remanufacturers often have little if any input into the initial product design process but do have a significant role in designing remanufacturing processes to extract value. As such, the third-parties play the role of the ultimate opportunists: whatever the original equipment manufacturers will give, the third-party remanufacturers will take. Few firms exemplify this opportunistic mentality better than ReCellular, which made their entire strategy based on acquiring products—products originally designed for a single use cycle—into multiple lifecycle products (Guide et al. 2005a). ReCellular managed their business model through inventive means to manage product acquisition and novel methods to remanufacture such single use designs in ways never intended by the original manufacturer.

As a stark illustration, the automotive parts industry serves as a sentinel reminder of how ceding a reuse system can make the road to reuse exceptionally difficult at a later time. The remanufactured auto parts industry has long been dominated by third-party remanufacturers (Clottey and Benton 2010). As a specific example, Ford sought to enter the remanufactured auto parts industry but found themselves far behind existing players, such as Cardone Industries, which has a large footprint in the automotive parts product acquisition market.  In fact, at a meeting involving Ford and Cardone attended by one of the authors of this paper, an argument occurred. A Ford representative claimed Cardone was “stealing” Ford’s parts—a claim to which a Cardone representative responded “stop me.” In effect, original manufacturers may feel that they have a continued investment in the parts after the initial sale. However, by ceding any vertical market or acquisition control after the initial sale, a firm has few options to reclaim the used product market against third-parties that have mature product acquisition management systems in place. Hence, the auto parts industry serves as cautionary example: once an industry allows third-parties to take control over remanufacturing, there is often little means to regain access and control over the product acquisition and reuse market.

Few firms have enough market control to prevent third-party remanufacturers from entering the market. Even Xerox, the exemplar firm of multiple lifecycle products, faces significant third-party competition. In fact, Xerox has taken a tact of co-opetition in many cases and provides the third-party players with access to coming design changes and part phase-outs to mitigate any damage the third-parties might cause to the Xerox brand name—a name that is prominently displayed on the product whether Xerox or a third-party completed the remanufacturing operations (Whitmyre 2011). In some cases, Xerox will even provide service contracts for machines remanufactured by third-parties to mitigate any potential brand damage from remanufacturing practices that do not meet with Xerox’s exacting standards.

Due to the somewhat ill-defined nature of third-party manufacturers, largely due to their opportunistic nature with a focus on extracting any remaining value in an end-of-use product, the dimensions of the original typological constructs become somewhat blurred. However, multiple themes are clear. The third-party remanufacturers thrive on creating supply chains centered on product acquisition management (Guide et al. 2005a). The third-party remanufacturers often find novel remanufacturing processes that were never intentionally designed by the original equipment manufacturer (Guide and Van Wassenhove 2001). Where many original equipment manufacturers see a layer of additional overhead costs and capital intensive investments in remanufacturing processes, the third-party remanufacturers see only profit opportunities.

3.5 Design and Strategy Implications

Figure 3 provides a summary look at each of the typological regions discussed in the preceding section. Each typological region has traits related to the nature of product acquisition management, the reuse processes and systems (i.e., remanufacturing capabilities in the system), the nature of the market penetration after the initial product sale, and the outcome in terms of the product portfolio and related profit focus stemming from the combination of design-strategy choices.

Figure 3: Typological Outcomes for the Design-Strategy Mix

As Figure 3 displays, the design-strategy mix leads to significant variability in the outcome for firms within each typological region. Further, when taking Figures 2 and 3 in combination, the challenges involved in transitioning from one design-strategy mix to another mix becomes quite apparent. As discussed in the previous section, one thing that neither graphic can fully illustrate is the omnipresent fact in the remanufacturing industry: if the original equipment manufacturer does not commit to a reuse process, a third-party will step in to fill the gap. The above discussion of the automotive parts industry makes this point abundantly clear.

4. Concluding Remarks: Research Needs and Future Directions

The preceding discussion offers a rich amount of contextual detail and distinguishing characteristics based on the typological regions found in Figure 2 and described in detail with Figure 3. Overall, this manuscript is the first of which we are aware to provide a detailed typology of remanufacturing based on multiple decades of direct observations across multiple remanufacturing industries. Though not exhaustive of all specific firms and industrial settings, the manuscript provides insights into how managers adapt their remanufacturing operations and strategies to the idiosyncrasies of their varied remanufacturing industries. Each of the four distinct typological groupings initially stem from the dimensions of a firm’s strategic focus and product design philosophy. From this basic framework of strategy and design, the typology then expands into a more nuanced discussion of various outcomes with regard to product acquisition constraints, remanufacturing complexity and process intensity, the nature of the market for various kinds of remanufactured or reused products, and finally strategic outcomes for the exemplar firms.

Even with all this information, one last step remains: how should a researcher employ this framework to lay better foundations for their own work? Figure 4 displays how to understand the remanufacturing environment by applying the typological framework. In other words, Figure 4 translates how a researcher can take the concepts of the typological framework when setting the stage for their own manuscripts.

Figure 4: Applying the Typological Framework to Continued Research

Each of the concepts highlighted in Figure 4 represents distinct traits that a researcher needs to acknowledge before delving into the analytical or empirical details of a closed-loop supply chain. For instance, mixing a lease-based simple product acquisition management system with a consumer products focus is difficult to motivate from industry and hard to generalize. Similarly, though cost minimization and profit maximization are two sides of a similar coin in theory, the managerial behaviors surrounding each perspective are not as neatly partitioned. When an industry views returned products and commensurate reuse as a burden to be mitigated, the resulting investments in acquisition management, reuse processes, and market penetration are likely to be minimized as well (Guide et al. 2005b; Martin 2010; Martin et al. 2010). Conversely, when a firm views reuse as a means to generate an additional revenue stream and broaden a product portfolio for improved competitive positioning, the manifest behaviors are radically different. Taking these points and those highlighted throughout this manuscript, we hope that future research into closed-loop supply chains can benefit by applying the constraints and opportunities discussed throughout this manuscript.

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