Investigation on reverse logistics of end of life cars in the UK

Sorker, Farhana (2019) Investigation on reverse logistics of end of life cars in the UK. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Global warming is becoming the most significant problem in the world, which generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants. This has forced government and business to focus on environmental issues on their initiatives where reverse logistics (RL) practice is described as an initiative that plays an important role for those who seek environmentally responsible solutions to reduce waste, which in turn, reduces carbon emission caused by end of life (EoL) products. Among the EoL products, cars are one of the major concerns due to their increasing volume, use of thousands of parts and hazardous materials like CFCs, which cause carbon emission during use, end of life collection, recycling and disposal process. Proper implementation of RL process of EoL cars can slow down the carbon emission by reducing the number of old cars on road, transportation distance for EoL collection and waste for disposal, and by increasing recovery of components, parts and materials.

Therefore, this research investigates RL of EoL cars in terms of its key aspects including the reasons cars become EoL and arrive for disposal, details of the diverse nature of EoL cars and its impact on the EoL RL process; details of the return process and its performance, players involved in the process and their relationship nature, drivers influencing players to become involve and challenges they may face in the RL process. Finally, given that EoL car RL practice understanding would be of limited value unless accompanied by general principles (theories) that inform wider application, the study utilises several established and emerging
management/organisational theories (resource and knowledge based views, resource dependence theory, stakeholder theory, agency theory and institutional theory) to underpin the multifaceted reality of EoL car RL practice.

Even though a significant amount of RL research has been done, most of the research is generic, addressing issues in a standalone manner such as cost in RL, technology in RL, or environmental issues. Thus, many important aspects are not known, especially in the automotive industry, particularly in the UK, where managing EoL cars is a key concern now for the automotive industry due to strict law from the UK government to protect the environment by implementing proper EoL car RL solutions. This lack of holistic direction also carries the risk that practitioners and policymakers could mistakenly be addressing the wrong issues and neglecting important aspects that have more significance in reverse logistics practice.

Therefore, an exploratory approach was employed to comprehensively answer the research questions. This exploratory research used a multiple case study method involving semi-structured interviews with the stakeholders who are involved in the EoL car RL practice to explore four research questions within RL key aspects derived for this study.

With regards to the findings, this study contributes a conceptual understanding of EoL car RL practice through operationalising and developing detail of RL key aspects which validates EoL car category (natural, unnatural and abandoned) and the reasons a car becomes EoL (damage due to age, accident or theft); diverse nature of EoL cars and its significant impact on the recovery process due to its design (how components are put together, use of diverse components and materials), components functionality (repairable, nonrepairable) and the source of EoL car (individual consumer, industrial customers or institutions); a systematic EoL car collection process to reduce cost and carbon emission by reducing transportation cost and fuel consumption; use of expertise, processing and equipment to remove and recycle hazardous components from EoL cars to improve quality and quantity of recovered parts and materials; use of updated shredding technology to increase recovery rate and reduce unrecoverable waste for landfill; diverse relationship nature (acquisition, strategic alliance, arm’s length) between players and its impact on the EoL car RL process; factors influencing (legislative pressure, economic gain, stakeholder pressures, competitive pressure, environmental and social awareness) and hindering (costly process, lack of expertise, lack of last car owner support, lack of technology, lack of effective disposal system) involvement of stakeholders in, and the development of, the EoL car RL process.

This study provides practitioners (across all stakeholders) with a potential stock of RL process that they could implement as well as potential performance measures they could operationalise in their respective firms. Also, it helps them to measure the drivers and barriers affecting their RL practices implementation. Overall, given that most of the underlying issues in RL practice are similar within related sectors, the insights from this study can be used as a good starting point for practitioners and policymakers elsewhere in RL practice.

The study is arguably the first comprehensive attempt to understand EoL car RL practice and its importance/relevance in the UK. Also, the application of several established/emerging theories to understand the various RL aspects has not been undertaken previously in the automotive sector and hence constitutes a novelty.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Theses
Item ID: 30308
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2020 08:14
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2020 08:58
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/30308

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