Challenges and Opportunities of Lean Remanufacturing
Jelena Kurilova-Palisaitiene and Erik Sundin
Division of Manufacturing Engineering, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, SE-58381, Linköping, Sweden
Lean philosophy, which promotes business excellence through continuous improvement, originates from the Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota’s Production System (TPS). An area where lean has not been fully explored is remanufacturing, a process that brings used products back to useful life. Remanufacturing is often a more complex process than manufacturing due to the uncertainty of process steps/time and part quality/quantity. This study explored remanufacturing by identifying its challenges and opportunities in becoming lean. The challenges of a lean remanufacturing system do not exceed its advantages. Although some researchers state that it is difficult or even impossible to apply lean principles to remanufacturing, this research utilizes lean as a continuous improvement philosophy that focuses on improving the remanufactured products’ quality, process lead times, and inventory levels.
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