This article examines strategic production and operations management issues in product recovery management (PRM). PRM encompasses the management of all used and discarded products, components, and materials for which a manufacturing company is legally, contractually, or otherwise responsible. The objective of PRM is to recover as much of the economic (and ecological) value of used and discarded products, components, and materials as reasonably possible, thereby reducing the ultimate quantities of waste to a minimum. This article also discusses the relevance of PRM to durable products manufacturers. It contains a categorization of PRM decisions. A case study based on the PRM system of a multinational copier manufacturer is presented to illustrate a set of specific production and operations management issues. The experiences of two other pro-active manufacturers (BMW and IBM) are also discussed.
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