A model-based definition of the generic remanufacturing business process
Remanufacturing is a process of bringing used products to a "like-new" functional state by rebuilding and replacing their component parts. The practice has a low profile in world economies, however, studies indicate that it obtains cost savings in the region of 20% to 80%, as well as quality similar to that of an equivalent "new" product. In fact, in excess of 73,000 firms are engaged in some sort of remanufacturing in the United States alone. The key remanufacturing issues are the ambiguity in its definition and the scarcity of its analytic models. The objective of the research was to address these issues, and was achieved using a 3-Phase research approach that followed Eisenhardt's (1989) case study methodology. Initially, the research examined remanufacturing operations in order to unambiguously define it. Following this, the remanufacturing business process was modelled to define remanufacturing in the context of its total system. The research contributions are a robust definition of remanufacturing and a comprehensive generic model of the remanufacturing business process. The research beneficiaries are industry and academia, because the unambiguous definition permits remanufacturing to be differentiated from alternative secondary market operations for the first time. This assists researchers to explicitly understand remanufacturing so they can undertake effective remanufacturing research and correctly disseminate their findings. The generic model is a remanufacturing-specific, analytic error-reduction tool to reduce risk in remanufacturing. The research originality is that for the first time remanufacturing has been analysed from a business process perspective, an unambiguous definition of remanufacturing is determined and a generic model of the remanufacturing business process has been established.