DHL advances Reverse Logistics Maturity model

Reverse logistics could lead to recycling of old goods and reduce the need for raw materials according to academic model published by Deutsche Post DHL, Cranfield University and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100.

The new model called the “circular economy” aims to reduce the use of raw materials and promotes sustainability through the ‘circular flow of goods’ that boils down to recycling more components and reusing packaging.

The report, called ‘Waste Not, want not. Capturing the value of the circular economy through reverse logistics’, the partners introduced what they term the ‘Reverse logistics maturity model’. In a statement, DHL explained, “Reverse logistics plays a critical role in the circular economy by enabling the return of products and components for refurbishment, recycling, redistribution, or extraction and re-use of their useful organic materials.”

Christof Ehrhart, Head of Corporate Communications & Responsibility, Deutsche Post DHL Group, said of the project, “Deutsche Post DHL Group recognizes the important role that the circular economy can play in contributing to a more sustainable world and we are committed to supporting and enabling its development with our knowledge and global network.

“The Reverse Logistics Maturity Model is a valuable tool for any organization that is committed to embedding the circular economy more integrally into their supply chain. It also highlights the opportunities that exist for logistics companies to adapt and expand their services and approaches to support the circular economy, which in turn creates additional value both for business and the environment.”

The model was developed based on company interviews, exploratory workshops and appied logistics and academic expertise. Professor Simon Pollard, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Water, Energy and Environment at Cranfield University, added: “Understanding reverse logistics’ requirements is crucial to manage return and recovery.”

There are three main archetypes – base scenarios and requirements for reverse logistics set up. These are driven by different product and business model attributes. It then provides a template for mapping out reverse logistics activities based on their place in the circular economy value chain and their decision dimension within an organisation. After this, it looks at ‘maturity’ – the level of sophistication of project management that is being applied to the reverse logistics activities.

Many of the ‘advances’ in electronics today such as the incremental advances of the iPhone are made from many of the same components as the last model. In recycling components, so technological advances can also be mindful of the environment.