New research from APICS Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advances supply chain and operations management innovation through research, publications, education and talent development, finds remanufacturing serves a broad array of strategic interests for companies, provides considerable career advancement potential for individuals and has become instrumental in furthering sustainability initiatives.
Remanufacturing, defined as the process of restoring used or worn products to like-new condition, is an area of growing opportunity for supply chain and operations management professionals. Previously segmented to specific areas of the B2C supply chain, like customer service, remanufacturing has established a place in both B2C and B2B supply chain models and is expanding significantly as additional markets accept and trust the “as good as new” concept.
“Remanufacturing provides obvious benefit for the forward progress of sustainable supply chain initiatives,” said Sharon Rice, executive director, APICS Foundation. “Supply chain professionals are eager for more information about this quickly evolving area because, as our survey has shown, more than 50 percent of survey respondents felt it was important for supply chain and operations management professionals to have at least some familiarity with remanufacturing as they expect a growing demand for remanufactured goods.”
Three key findings arose through the surveys that further identify the current perception of remanufacturing and distinguish how professionals anticipate its future industry benefit:
- Improves the Environment – Remanufacturing drives sustainability – Sixty-eight percent of respondents felt that sustainability was the primary advantage associated with remanufacturing, and 41 percent already consider it a formal component of their organization’s sustainability policies.
- Improves Your Company – Remanufacturing provides vast organizational benefits – While 59 percent of respondents noted the additional complexity remanufacturing brought to reverse supply chains, the process was commended for the additional benefit it brings to an organization: increases customer satisfaction (66 percent), enhances product and organizational value chain (47 percent), and reduces production costs in relation to new manufacturing (46 percent).
- Improves Yourself – Remanufacturing adds career versatility – Remanufacturing requires new skills in forecasting, planning, and inventory management. With these skills, a supply chain and operations management professional can better identify potential for opportunity and innovation in forward and reverse supply chains.
These findings are part of the APICS Foundation’s recent report “Examining Remanufacturing in Supply Chain and Operations Management.” To gather information for this report, the APICS Foundation surveyed supply chain and operations management practitioners in 2013 in response to a growing interest in remanufacturing and requests for more research.