Date of Award

9-2009

Degree Name

MS in Industrial Engineering

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Advisor

Reza Pouraghabagher

Abstract

As part of sustainable development initiative, product take-back strategy encourages manufacturers to transform definition of sustainability into business practices that would reduce environmental wastes, while reducing increasingly growing waste management cost from municipal governments. This thesis evaluates the complexity of reverse logistics with regards to product take-back strategy development and presents a programmatic approach of determining appropriate number and location of initial collection points that would reduce variable cost, while promoting more frequent product return. The application of this thesis would grant ‘green’ opportunities for organizations to strategize and execute cost-efficient reverse logistics to advance sustainability. A single-objective, mixed-integer, binary programming was utilized to optimize the variable cost of handling, transshipping, facilities, and carrying of reverse logistics. Apple Inc.’s current product take-back strategy was carefully evaluated and analyzed to suggest potential improvements to its system. Network optimization design methodology along with case study results would provide useful managerial insights and suggest avenues for further research and applications.

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