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Challenges and Opportunities of Lean Remanufacturing
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2552-3636
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Automation Technology, ISSN 1881-7629, E-ISSN 1883-8022, Vol. 8, no 5, 644-652 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lean philosophy, which promotes business excellence through continuous improvement, originates from the Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota’s Production System (TPS). An area where lean has not been fully explored is remanufacturing, a process that brings used products back to useful life. Remanufacturing is often a more complex process than manufacturing due to the uncertainty of process steps/time and part quality/quantity. This study explored remanufacturing by identifying its challenges and opportunities in becoming lean. The challenges of a lean remanufacturing system do not exceed its advantages. Although some researchers state that it is difficult or even impossible to apply lean principles to remanufacturing, this research utilizes lean as a continuous improvement philosophy that focuses on improving the remanufactured products’ quality, process lead times, and inventory levels. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Fuji Technology Press , 2014. Vol. 8, no 5, 644-652 p.
Keyword [en]
lean, remanufacturing, product life cycle, continuous improvement
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120764OAI: diva2:848241
ÅterProdukt, KEAP
Available from: 2015-08-24 Created: 2015-08-24 Last updated: 2016-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Toward Lean Remanufacturing: Challenges and Improvements in Material and Information Flows
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toward Lean Remanufacturing: Challenges and Improvements in Material and Information Flows
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Remanufacturing is an environmentally sound material recovery option which is essential to compete for sustainable manufacturing. The aim with remanufacturing at a majority of companies is to prolong physical product performance by delivering the same or betterthan-original product quality. In general, remanufacturing is an industrial process that brings used products back to useful life by requiring less effort than is demanded by the initial production process. Consequently, from a product life-cycle perspective, remanufacturing generates great product value.

Remanufacturers lag behind manufacturers since they often face complex and unpredictable material and information flows. Based on a review of remanufacturing research, remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows can be classified into three groups: insufficient product quality, long and unstable process lead times, and an unpredictable level of inventory. While some remanufacturing researchers state that manufacturing and remanufacturing are significantly different, they have more in common than many other processes operations. Therefore, to sustain competitive remanufacturing, companies investigate an opportunity for improvement through the employment of lean production that generates significant benefits for manufacturers.

In order to investigate the potential to address remanufacturing challenges by lean production, a Minimum time for material and information flow analysis (MiniMifa) method was developed. This method originates from the value stream mapping (VSM) method, broadly practiced to bring lean to manufacturing companies. The focus of MiniMifa was to collect empirical data on the identified groups of remanufacturing challenges from the remanufacturing perspective, and to provide a basis for the development of improvements originating from lean principles.

Lean production was selected for this research due to its system perspective on material and information flows. Among the defined lean principles in remanufacturing, a pull principle was investigated at the case companies. The suggested principle demonstrated a reduction in lead time, followed by improvements in inventory level and product quality. However, in order to become lean, remanufacturers have to overcome three levels of lean remanufacturing challenges: external and internal challenges as well as lean wastes.

Finally, this research reduces the gap between academia and industry by contributing with a possible solution to the identified remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 72 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1718
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118280 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-118280 (DOI)978-91-7519-045-7 (print) (ISBN)
2015-06-10, Industriell produktions seminarierum, A-huset, ingång 15 B, plan 3, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2016-04-12Bibliographically approved

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