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Modelling for product information tracking and feedback via wireless technology in closed-loop supply chains

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Closed-loop supply chains (CLSC) consider all of the activities in the lifecycle of a product from design to end-of-life operation. These chains encompass, in addition to the traditional forward flow of products to customers, the acquisition and return flows of products for functional rehabilitation or value recovery. One critical challenge during the operation of CLSC is that information flow almost breaks down after products are delivered to customers. Nevertheless, with the fast development of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially such as wireless technology, information flow can go beyond the customers, up to its final destiny and back to designers and producers. This paper focuses on the research of closed-loop product information (CLPI) tracking and feedback in wireless technology-enabled CLSC from the modelling point of view and models of three levels of abstraction are proposed to elucidate and decompose the whole scenario. First, from the system level, the framework of CLPI tracking and feedback is presented, which covers the related application background. Second, from the process level, the models for three major information flows are addressed, focusing on the dynamic information related flows and activities of CLPI tracking. Third, from the information and data level, the product related information is classified, and then the information structure of required information for tracking is modelled as well as the method to track and feedback the dynamic information. Finally, a case study from the EU PROMISE project is given to illustrate the modelling proposition.
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Keywords: closed-loop supply chains; information-oriented modelling; product lifecycle; wireless technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Automation, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China,CIMRU, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland 2: Department of Automation, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China 3: STI-IPR-LICP, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland 4: CIMRU, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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