Luk N. Van Wassenhove

Title of Presentation: Closed-Loop Supply Chains: Past, Present and Future

INFORMS Conference

San Francisco, California, USA

November 13, 2005


In this presentation we focus on product recovery as a viable business proposition, the premise being that if we can design a profitable business model, companies will engage in reuse. This would help divert products from landfills without too much need for strict legislation. The presentation is not dealing with environmental issues or end-of-life recycling. It is a mixture of problem motivation using industrial examples; an illustration of the power of simple O.R. modelling to resolve design as well as tactical/operational problems, an overview and critique of the literature, and a look into the research needs for the future. The presentation is aimed at a general audience and represents the personal views of the speaker (i.e. it is heavily biased).


Luk Van Wassenhove holds the Henry Ford Chaired Professor of Manufacturing at INSEAD. Before joining INSEAD, he was on the faculty at Erasmus University and at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His research and teaching are concerned with operational excellence, supply chain management, quality, continual improvement and learning. His recent research focus is on closed-loop supply chains (product take-back and end-of-life issues) and on disaster management (humanitarian logistics). He is departmental editor for Production and Operations Management and associate editor for Technology and Operations Review and International Journal of Production Economics. He publishes extensively in Management Science, Operations Research, The International Journal of Production Research, The European Journal of Operations Research and in many other academic as well as management journals (Harvard Business Review, California Management Review). He is the author of several books and many teaching cases and regularly consults for major international corporations.