Cascade Use and the Management of Product Lifecycles

Kalverkamp, M.; Pehlken, A.; Wuest, Th.
This paper explores the challenges related to the End-Of-Life phase of products and circular systems of reuse and recycling within the commonly established frameworks of product lifecycles. Typically, Original Equipment Manufacturer-centric supply chain perspectives neglect the complexity at the End-Of-Life where many third-parties are involved in reuse and recycling activities. Based on a review of product lifecycle and related recycling literature, this study proposes the application of ‘cascades’, a term originally coined within the biomass domain. We propose and subsequently apply the ‘cascade use methodology’ and identify additional and value-adding End-Of-Life solutions for products and materials. The adoption of cascade utilization into product lifecycles is analyzed and critically discussed using case studies from independent remanufacturing and tire recycling, focusing on the End-Of-Life while excluding business models as renting or sharing. Although theoretically feasible, we argue that the practical adoption of ‘cascade use’ deserves more attention from researchers and practitioners in order to become an integral part of the comprehensive management of product lifecycles.
08 / 2017