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Collaboration in reverse: a conceptual framework for reverse logistics operations

Kumaraguru Mahadevan (School of Business and Law, Central Queensland University, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 7 January 2019

Issue publication date: 8 February 2019




The purpose of this paper is to present the research carried out on the development of a conceptual framework termed as the reverse collaboration framework (RCF) to provide supply chain (SC) visibility and information sharing to practitioners in a reverse logistics (RL) operations.


The research methodology used in this research is a combination of concept mapping, and the extension of the work of other researchers (deductive approach) to develop a RCF that connects tools, techniques, systems and RL processes.


This research shows that by integrating tools, systems, tools and techniques with RL processes by means of the RCF will increase performance and productivity of a RL operations. This is demonstrated by applying the RCF to a consumer electronics business that proves that the time taken for the end to end RL operations is reduced by 20%.

Research limitations/implications

The RCF has been demonstrated with the data from a consumer electronics organisation. Literature points out that there are many different mathematical models for RL across a number of industries. Thus, at this stage, it is not clear if the RCF developed in this research will work in other industries, such as the newspaper, plastic bottles and online retailers industry where product returns are high. This research work can be extended in developing an IT solution by future researchers that can be linked to the main ERP system of an organisation.

Practical implications

SC managers can use the RCF in the extended form of an IT solution to manage the RL operations of their organisations.


There is a lack of research in the space of reverse collaboration in the broader field of SC management. This paper has fulfilled that gap.



Mahadevan, K. (2019), "Collaboration in reverse: a conceptual framework for reverse logistics operations", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 68 No. 2, pp. 482-504.



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