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Performance of reverse supply chains

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Frei
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Reverse supply chains (RSCs) include any reverse flows of products, either because they were wrongly delivered, faulty, damaged, unwanted, or because they have reached the end of their first use phase. Ideally, returned products will be reused, upgraded, remanufactured / refurbished or at least recycled, following the concept of a circular economy.

For more companies to engage in reverse supply chains, better ways to assess the cost, benefits and performance of an RSC are required. This project will research current best practice in industry and compare it to methods published by academia. The candidate will then suggest new and improved ways to model different RSCs and analyse their efficiency and effectiveness. This will include financial performance as well as environmental and social perspectives. Finally, a set of case studies will be conducted to apply the newly generated knowledge and demonstrate its usefulness.

Ideal candidates will have personal contacts to a company that manufactures high value engineered products (in UK or anywhere in the world), and be able to exploit these contacts for the case study.

The student will engage in an on-going collaboration between the School of Engineering ( and Portsmouth Business School (

The candidate will be encouraged to publish their work in leading peer-reviewed journals and present their findings at high-profile UK and international conferences. Furthermore, the student will have the opportunity to develop further research and collaborations with industries as well as academia.

For further information please contact Regina Frei ([email protected]) or consult the website:

Funding Notes

The candidate needs to hold a degree in manufacturing engineering, supply chain management or similar. Previous knowledge of the concept of circular economy and experience in mathematical modelling is an advantage. Excellent English in written and spoken form is essential.

Further information on how to apply is available via the following webpages:


- M. Butar Butar, D. Sanders and R. Frei (2016). Measuring performance of reverse supply chains in a carpet manufacturer. Accepted for publication in Journal of Advanced Management Science, 4(2), pages 152–158.
- R. Frei, I. Lothian, A. Bines, M. Butar Butar and L. Da Gama (2015). Performance in Reverse Supply Chains. Logistics Research Network Annual Conference (LRN), Derby, UK.
- M. Butar Butar, D. Sanders, G. Tewkesbury and R. Frei (2014). Measuring performance of reverse supply chains in a carpet manufacturer. Int. Conf. on Industrial Technology and Management (ICITM 2014), Paris, France.

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