Purpose – To provide in‐depth insights into one specific product recovery operation (remanufacturing) in the automotive sector, taking the example of original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Design/methodology/approach – The research was undertaken within the engine remanufacturing facilities of a major European car manufacturer. The main data collection methods were open‐ended, non‐directive interviews and process observation. In addition, secondary data (internal company reports and documentation) were collected. Overall, a total of 64 interviews were conducted within the engine remanufacturing plant. Findings – The case study revealed that the remanufacturing processes included challenges that have been traditionally investigated within “conventional” operations and supply chain management, such as high inventory levels or process through‐put times. It was also found that product take‐back and recovery in the automotive sector do not necessarily stem from a company's mission statement that includes (sustainable) responsibility, but are based on other motives. These motivations include the long‐term supply of spare parts, for example. Research limitations/implications – The findings are limited to one specific European car manufacturer and may therefore not necessarily apply to the independent automotive remanufacturing sector or to other OEM remanufacturers. Practical implications – The case study gives an in‐depth insight into the issues within automotive product take‐back and recovery, the types of obstacles that may occur as well as how these may be overcome in the real world. Originality/value – The findings provide new, real‐world insights for academia, but also feedback to industry by providing an in‐depth account of current automotive remanufacturing practices undertaken by the OEM.
Business Process Management Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 2006
Keywords: Automotive components industry; Supply chain management; Product management; Reverse scheduling