Funder: Innovate UK – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Project Lead: Prof. Nachiappan Subramanian (Professor of Operations and Logistics Management & Supply Chains, University of Sussex))
Partners: Yan Wang, University of Brighton; Oliver Baker, Remade Group; Peter Fearon, Innovation Action
In 2021 the team got an Innovate UK award to do a feasibility study on the development of “Remanufacturing Electronic MarketPlace (REMP)” to integrate the fragmented supply chains to sell remanufactured products in Europe. Our innovative platform will be exploitable by several routes globally as a stand-alone insert into the supply chain of manufacturing companies by encouraging midsized companies to convert some of their activities to remanufacturing. University of Sussex partnered with REMADE UK, a start-up company, to develop this platform and foresee opportunities from the UK-India bilateral trade activities after Brexit.
Remanufacturing is one of the circular economy initiatives that extend the product life of goods by up to 300% and comes with energy savings of up to 80% in addition to significant cost savings. Research on technology intervention and development of digital capabilities for remanufacturing is at the primitive stage.
Blockchain adoption is on the rise across supply chains of different industries. However, the lack of interoperability standards is a major obstacle to mass adoption (Casino et al., 2019; O’Leary, 2019). In a large-scale multi-chain environment, one of the important issues is to integrate different ecosystems to sustain cross-chain information sharing and seamless secure data exchange between those ecosystems (Li et al., 2020; Belchior et al., 2021).
The aim is to facilitate trade growth to handle end of life products as the feedstock for the manufacturing industry and act as a conduit for trade in remanufactured products for corporate procurement teams all supported by an education programme aimed at achieving net-zero targets through remanufacturing while reducing supply chain stress and costs.
The project will focus on two functions:
- Introduce a distributed ledger that provides accurate information on the availability, location and condition of end-of-life products to enable trade for remanufacturing. This will provide the information needed for quality assessment and will enhance the value of the products as the feedstock for manufacturers and facilitate resource planning for production.
- Introduce a data-driven automated grading of quality including smart costing of end-of-life products based on multiple criteria analysis tools considering usage, conditions, brand, age and price of new equivalent products etc. This will provide vital information for informed decision-making when bulk buying end-of-life products for remanufacturing, providing data to businesses so they can plan for remanufacturing activities without any shortages and get the right price for the products.
Engagement & Impact
The introduction of this platform will send a strong signal to industry, the policy community as well as the investment ecosystem that new technologies and platforms will facilitate the growth of circular economy-based business models, particularly remanufacturing. This will further add to the legitimacy, credibility and momentum in the transition from a linear economy to a circular one, in alignment with the vision of long-term sustainable development and one of the many responses needed to deal with the urgent challenge of climate change.
During this project, the team will engage with a wide range of global stakeholders including government-funded environment bodies, institutions representing the manufacturing and digital industries, and firms who already have remanufacturing plants globally.