The German-based Deutsche Post DHL Group has collaborated with Cranfield University and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 initiative to develop a new logistics model to support efforts to expand the circular economy.
In a new report published in April – “Waste not, want not. Capturing the value of the circular economy through reverse logistics” – the partners have introduced the Reverse Logistics Maturity Model, a practical tool that helps organizations to map out and continuously improve reverse logistics processes for their products.
The circular economy aims to reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy, and to ensure more sustainable, regenerative production and consumption patterns through the circular flow of goods. Reverse logistics plays a critical role in this sector by enabling the return of products and components for refurbishment, recycling, redistribution, or extraction and re-use of their useful materials.
The Reverse Logistics Maturity Model was developed based on company interviews, exploratory workshops, as well as applied logistics and academic expertise. “As a first step, the model identifies three main ‘archetypes’ – base scenarios and requirements for reverse logistics set-up, driven by different product and business model attributes,” Deutsche Post DHL gave account. “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 organization. After this, it looks at ‘maturity’ – the level of sophistication of project management that is being applied to the reverse logistics activities. Once these steps have been undertaken, organizations can identify how to reach a level of continuous improvement in their supply chain and move further on the path to a circular economy.”