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A systems approach for forward and reverse logistics design: maximising value from customer involvement

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-03-11, 14:36 authored by Ayham A.M. Jaaron, Chris Backhouse
PURPOSE. There is significant potential for adding value by involving customer in the design process and delivery of logistic services. In order to add value to the overall logistic system, this paper proposes applying an integrated systems approach for the design of forward and reverse logistics services in order to build a self-organising service that can maximise efficiencies and in particular reduce reverse logistics costs. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH. Two exploratory case studies were conducted in the logistics systems of housing repair and maintenance sector in the UK. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations, and documented evidence. FINDINGS. The findings of the cross-case analysis suggests that systems approach expressed as the Vanguard Method (Seddon 2008) has a direct impact on enhancing forward logistics performance and reducing reverse product flows by nourishing three dimensions for learning from demand-driven analysis; capturing customer clean information, demand predictability and categorisation, and failure demand analysis. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS. Findings from exploratory case studies cannot be easily generalised. Hence, further case studies are needed to enrich the findings, and to facilitate their industrial applications. Further, the paper explores the utilisation of the Vanguard Method only in the area of housing repairs and maintenance logistics services. It would be valuable for future studies to further investigate the utilisation of the Vanguard Method in other logistics services settings. ORIGINALITY/VALUE. The paper demonstrates an important dynamics of how logistics services can incorporate customer demands into the logistics design process.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

The International Journal of Logistics Management






947 - 971


JAARON, A.A.M. and BACKHOUSE, C.J., 2016. A systems approach for forward and reverse logistics design: maximising value from customer involvement. International Journal of Logistics Management, 27(3), pp. 947-971.


© Emerald


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal The International Journal of Logistics Management and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-07-2015-0118.