A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF 3PLS’ ENTRY INTO REVERSE LOGISTICS
The concepts of Industry 4.0 and closed loop supply chains are becoming popular as logistics management evolves. Industry 4.0, through its instruments such as cloud manufacturing and the Internet of Things, has been known to improve operations management significantly. At the same time, closed loop supply chains have gained momentum with the increase in environmental sustainability issues. However, closed loop supply chains are often associated with uncertainties in the timing, quality, and quantity of returns. For these and other reasons, most organisations employ third parties to perform most reverse logistics activities. This paper systematically reviews the literature on the entry and use of third parties in reverse logistics with the objective of providing researchers with future research directions for this fast-emerging topic. The results show that there is a need to expand on the literature and on managerial issues such as performance measurement of reverse logistics networks with third parties. The literature also needs to consider how third parties use technological aspects such as Industry 4.0 to manage and operate reverse supply chains successfully.
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