Browsing Centre for Supply Chain Improvement by Subjects
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Examining legitimatisation of additive manufacturing in the interplay between innovation, lean manufacturing and sustainability.In response to hypercompetition, globalisation and increasing consumer expectations, many manufacturing firms have embraced lean manufacturing (LM). The primary goal of LM is to reduce/eliminate waste (muda). There is broad consensus as to what constitutes waste, but not on LM implementation. Implementation is not prescriptive with each firm relying on a different combination of administrative, process and routine change / innovation. Lean manufacturing brings about incremental change relying on administrative, process and routine levers. It best fits mass production where process variability is low and demand is high and stable. Lean manufacturing can significantly reduce waste but not eliminate waste, and the attained benefits have not always lived up to expectations. Additive manufacturing (AM) promises to revolutionise manufacturing beyond recognition by eliminating or drastically removing the waste thereby achieving sustainability. But AM is at its formative stage – the space between the concept and growth - where many promising breakthrough technologies fail. To reach its full potential, it needs to achieve high-scale adoption. In this paper, we examine how AM can significantly reduce/eliminate waste and how it can deliver triple bottom line on an unprecedented scale. We contend that AM, if adopted deeply and widely, will take LM to its final frontier, but there are a number of impediments to this end. We identify legitimation as critical to its wide diffusion and develop a number of propositions expediting AM’s legitimation. Legitimation of AM will ensure its deep and broad diffusion and should this happen, waste will be a thing of the past an important stride towards sustainable future.
Exploring industry 4.0 technologies to enable circular economy practices in a manufacturing context: a business model proposal.Purpose - The purpose of this study was to explore how rising technologies from Industry 4.0 can be integrated with circular economy (CE) practices to establish a business model that reuses and recycles wasted material such as scrap metal or e-waste Design/methodology/approach – The qualitative research method was deployed in three stages. Stage one was a literature review of concepts, successful factors, and barriers related to the transition towards a CE along with sustainable supply chain management, smart production systems, and additive manufacturing. Stage two comprised a conceptual framework to integrate and evaluate the synergistic potential among these concepts. Finally, stage three validated the proposed model by collecting rich qualitative data based on semi-structured interviews with managers, researchers, and professors of operations management to gather insightful and relevant information. Findings – The outcome of the study is the recommendation of a circular model to reuse scrap electronic devices, integrating web technologies, reverse logistics, and additive manufacturing to support CE practices. Results suggest a positive influence from improving business sustainability by reinserting waste into the supply chain to manufacture products on demand. Research implications/originality – The impact of reusing wasted materials to manufacture new products is relevant to minimizing resource consumption and negative environmental impacts. Furthermore, it avoids hazardous materials ending up in landfills or in the oceans, seriously threatening life in ecosystems. In addition, reuse of wasted material enables the development of local business networks that generate jobs and improve economic performance.