This paper aims to present a survey of the perceptions of the barriers to implementing reverse logistics (RL) practices in South Australian (SA) construction organisations. Despite the extensive research on forward logistics and RL, there is a paucity of studies that examine the barriers to implementing RL particularly within the Australian construction industry. This study builds on the ongoing research being undertaken by the authors, entitled “Designing for reverse logistics (DfRL) within the building life cycle: practices, drivers and barriers”, which is examining the best practices and drivers that could be used as a “road map” for developing appropriate solutions for the successful implementation of RL.
Data were collected by utilising a triangulated data collection approach, a literature review and 49 questionnaires. The review of the literature identified 16 barriers to implementing RL. The quantitative survey data were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics with correlation analysis to examine the relationships between different pairs of variables comprising RL’s critical barriers.
The following barriers were indicated as most significant: lack of incorporation of salvaged materials by designers; regulation restrictions to usage of recovered materials and components; potential legal liabilities; higher costs; and longer-time association with deconstructing buildings. The least ranked barriers were mostly drawn from the operational and industrial categories as being: organisational lack of support for deconstruction due to incompatible design; lack of organisational support for deconstructing buildings due to higher health and safety risks; and inadequate skills and experience for deconstruction (operational). The industrial barrier was related to “higher costs of salvaged materials in comparison to virgin products”.
First, the reported findings are focussed on one study that used questionnaire surveys within the construction industry; therefore, the results may not be generalisable to other contexts. Further, studies should be conducted and extended to other industrial sectors beyond the construction industry. Second, the quantitative study (n = 49) used a smaller sample, and the survey items were based on the review of the literature.
The identified barriers could be used as a “road map” for the development of appropriate solutions for the successful implementation of RL, and to improve the environment-related decision-making processes of contractors.
This study makes a contribution to the body of knowledge on the subject of RL within a previously unexplored SA context. In addition, the study provides some insights on the contributory effects of the barriers to the implementation of RL. It is the first work undertaken to determine the barriers to the adoption of RL within the SA construction industry.
This paper provides the background to the successful Zero Waste SA Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b) Centre’s Research Funding Scheme’s 2013 program: “Designing for reverse logistics (DfRL) within the building life cycle: practices, drivers and barriers”. The project team comprises Dr Nicholas Chileshe, Prof Steffen Lehmann, Dr Raufdeen Rameezdeen and Mr M Reza Hosseini. The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to two anonymous reviewers and the editor of Supply Chain Management: an International Journal for their constructive and helpful comments which have enhanced the quality of earlier versions of this paper.
Chileshe, N., Rameezdeen, R., Hosseini, M.R. and Lehmann, S. (2015), "Barriers to implementing reverse logistics in South Australian construction organisations", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 179-204. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-10-2014-0325
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