Thematic Development of Recovery, Remanufacturing, and Support Models for Sustainable Supply Chains
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The long-term availability of our resources depends on the reduction of their consumption. One method to achieve this goal is to encourage product remanufacturing, as the production of remanufactured products typically costs less than manufacturing new ones. This thesis explores the effects that remanufacturing can have on the collection of end-of-life products, value recovery activities, and after-sale support systems. These three areas constitute the three main themes of this dissertation, which are investigated in the natural sequence of their appearance in the life-cycle of a reverse logistics network. The first theme addresses the collection of products within the context of closed-loop supply chains by considering design decisions such as the selection of collection centres to serve, the establishment of transportation routes, the scheduling of pickups and deliveries, and vehicle assignment. This is important for any organization involved in product recovery to allow them to understand the interactions between these decisions. A case study on the design of a collection network for a Nova Scotian firm recovering recyclables is included. The second theme investigates production planning within a remanufacturing framework taking uncertainties in product quantity and quality into account. In this context, an existing collection network recovers used products which can then provide components that can be remanufactured and used to repair failed products under warranty. An optimal two-stage control theory model is developed and solved to find the optimal time to start remanufacturing and the quantity of spare parts needed. The third theme deals with warranty models for reconditioned products. After the current state of the literature in this burgeoning research area is presented, we develop a generalized mathematical model for an unlimited free replacement warranty policy where repairs are carried-out with parts drawn from a lot composed of a mixture of new and reconditioned components. Using the mathematical model, relationships between reconditioning decisions and market responses are analyzed. This research addresses substantive issues in the design and operation of sustainable manufacturing and logistics. Our models show that remanufactured products can be used to benefit both the economical imperatives of companies and the environmental needs of society.