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State-of-the-art Literature Review, Individual Company Analysis, Simulation Game Report
Course Code and Name
PART A: STATE-OF-THE-ART REVIEW
Reverse logistics refers to the procedures initiated after-sale that encompasses the
transportation of products from the typical final destination to the manufacturer of the
distributor to service, capture value, and recycle. There are certain stages included in reverse
logistics, which are essentially the 5R’s of the RL that consists of the Return, Repairs,
Repackaging, and Recycling. Within the past few decades, the advancement in technology
and economy has offered individuals the choice of applying electronic products with more
diversity and more affordable prices as the consumption of such products have increased the
amount of electronic waste created, which has also increased by a considerable percentage
(Prajapati, Kant & Shankar, 2019). In the developing nations, there is no regulation for the
collection of such products, whereas the developed countries have successfully implemented
certain regulations, though these regulations are still limited to informal initiatives. The waste
management process highlights the difference between developing and developed nations.
The requirement for reverse logistics is significant since improper handling of the waste
material leads to environmental pollution, which becomes the primary reason for ozone layer
depletion. Therefore, reverse logistics is considered as important as it reduces the level of
waste and enhances the environmental performance of industries.
As aligned to the 6th international conference on industrial, mechanical, electronic,
and chemical engineering, the trend of publication regarding the reverse logistic from the
year 2013 to 2020 (Radionov & Gasiyarov, 2021) is as shown in the table below:
Figure1: number of RL publications
Averagely, there are about 102 publications on reverse logistics, in which most are
written between the years 2017 and 2018. Out of the 102 publications, 72 relate to the
journals, and the rest refer to the conference papers (Voigt et al., 2019). Also, the publication
of reverse logistics can be disaggregated based on the academic journal and proceedings.
Figure 2: number of RL publications regarding academic journals and proceedings
Reverse logistics has been an essential segment of research for different academic
subjects throughout the evolution. When this information is disaggregated based on the
research area, the least reached areas for reverse logistics include economics, finance, and
econometrics, which account for about 3%.
Figure 3: Proportions for RL topic based on the research area
Nevertheless, engineering is the academic field with the most research on RL, with a
percentage of 28% concerning the total population. Further, the highest number of
publications on the topic of RL has been published by India (Prajapati, Kant & Shankar,
2019). This is mainly attributed to the vast Indian population with no waste management
strategy. Currently, the country is working on designing a reverse logistic system for waste
Reverse logistics is a design of waste management implemented by various nations,
hence presenting different opportunities for different nations. In developing nations, the
ideology of RL is emerging, and there are numerous opportunities for the research of this
topic. Hence, the collection and use of waste have economic, environmental, and social
benefits. Nonetheless, in the developed nations, the research on RL is dominated since they
are already aware that the collected waste can be potential if the value is added and new
products are created. Further, they are aware of the environmental advantages of recycling
and comprehend that this procedure can positively impact the country’s economy. The
opportunities presented by RL can be assessed with the network analysis, and the keywords
like recycling, remanufacturing, and utilization of waste were not encountered, even when the
cooccurrence chance was reduced to one. Presently, researchers are working on merging the
keywords of the network design and reverse logistics since the studies have shown no
correlation between these networks’ keywords. As the developed nations dominate the
number of studies, there is enough potential for the developing countries to research the topic,
RL. As established, India is the nation with the most publications, and still, the researchers
from India are attached to perform studies on RL to add to their contribution. Also, there is a
chance to study the difference in waste management in the emerging and developed nations,
particularly regarding the regulations to ensure that the developing countries can determine
suitable management strategies.
Certain prevailing reasons are paving the way for organizations to become more
involved with the concept of reverse logistics in their operations. Also, the notable reason is
that they are bound to apply the RL due to the prevailing regulations established in their
realm. Some firms opt for economic advantages that the RL concept offers them and being
part of corporate citizenship. However, the most evident challenge is that the RL concept is
perceived as complex and disjointed. Also, the RL designs are not well established by any
nation as this area is still developing, and more research should be executed (Agrawal, Singh
& Murtaza, 2016). Further, there is a requirement to follow the research and assess the
expansion of this field towards the models of integrated reverse logistics and the concepts of
extended reverse logistics. Thus, this would demand co-appointment with other explorative
fields, like marketing and advertising fields, with the need to have an alliance with the
specialists and researchers that have their core expertise within the fields other than RL.
There are other certain challenges like the concept of biasness while conducting the study.
These concepts are sometimes biased by the researchers’ individual preferences, resulting in
dispassionate and impartial research work. Besides, the concept of reverse logistics involves
numerous components that still have ambiguous researches consisting of supply chain
management and sustainable supply chain management.
PART B: COMPANY ANALYSIS
Wincanton Plc is a British organization that offers logistics and transport services. It
is essentially a branch of the West Surrey Central Firm, which was established within 1925,
under the title Wincanton Transport & Engineering Ltd. Initially, the firm used to offer
transport and logistics services; however, currently, it is well-established to offer specialist
services consisting of container logistics, specialist transport to construction sites, tankers for
all forms of liquids and powder products, and warehouse and storage solutions. Further, the
organization has developed fleet management and vehicle maintenance services by forming
its subsidiary, Pullman fleet services. Presently, the firm is operation via a network of about
200 sites deployed within Ireland and the UK (Vieira et al., 2017). Moreover, the fleet of the
firm due to 2016 comprises 3400 vehicles, including trailers, tankers, conventional trucks,
construction vehicles, and skeletal trailers.
Operations management is the series of activities utilized to manage the resources
through which the products and services are delivered. Further, it involves various phases that
begin with understanding, designing, planning, controlling, communicating, and following
through with enhancement. Wincanton Plc applies several operation management principles
that are implemented by the management to ensure the effective execution of tasks (Yusof et
al., 2018). The principles include reality, accountability, organization, humility, and change.
The company offers transportation services in line with an unprecedented array of modes to
move the payload using the ideal model or combination of modes, including the fulltruckload due to reduced contract and truck and trailer ownership limits and the last-mile
transportation, collection, and assembly of heavy goods using the contractually agreed limits.
The logistic services, on the other hand, has made the company comprehend the complex
branch network requirements for different categorized of products using a contract range,
coordination, and drafted agreements, which includes high appreciation, exclusive testing,
and other Wincanton Plc innovations, returns the executives, web-based business and
omnichannel specialization, the main contract coordination provider globally and the largest
re-rated e-satisfaction provider in both UK and Ireland, and the global provider of supervised
Operation Transformation Process
The operation transformation is the process of converting the input into products. The
company selects its numerous operations though this section will mainly focus on export
logistics operations. In this operation, the input is encompassed of the team receiving orders,
inspection team, and the team sorting data for the product delivery, integrated IT system,
weight station, and packaging machines. After these input resources, the conversion is
conducted to ensure the provision of the required output. However, in this case, the output
would be the delivery of products to the clients. In Wincanton Plc, the operation
transformation procedure consists of inspection and quality checks. After the inspection, the
received package is labeled and the products marked. Further, the integrated IT system and IT
personnel are assigned a consignment number and a tracking number for the package. Also,
the team sorts routes and makes estimations to prepare the delivery order entailing the details
and conditions of the received package and the estimated period of product delivery to the
Additionally, the product’s tracking ID is detailed to allow the clients to track the
consignment. Thereafter, the firm transfers the products to the container, which is sealed to
ensure that there is no opportunity of product loss or theft. The next step is the transfer of the
containers to the loading points where it is loaded on the Wincanton fleet vehicle. The vehicle
transports the consignment to the port, where the documentation and government levies are
issued to attain the bill of lading. After the lading bill is acquired, the original bill is sent to
the client, and the products are departed for export via sea vessels. Besides, the Wincanton
Plc IT team continuously updates the consignment status in real-time for the clients to
effectively track their products through the issued tracking ID. Overall, the IT team sends
notifications upon receiving the products, transferring them to the port, and receiving the
The trade-offs among the operations performance objectives imply that while
increasing the performance of one attribute of operations, the performance in other sectors
reduces. This is attributed to the fact that operations are a combination of various suboperations that are connected. Thus, facilitating the development in one discourages the other.
Checking and inspection of the received products from the suppliers, though previously
checked by the supplier, increases the quality of the services; however, it increases the cost of
deploying a fully dedicated team. Moreover, offering the clients a tome-to-time update via
tracking ID increases the product cost though it enhances their satisfaction. Also, meeting the
set deadlines sometimes requires speeding up the process; this offers clients appreciation but
increases the opportunities for error, reducing service quality. Speeding up the process always
omits the tracking ID updates, though this would allow the company to process more orders
daily, hence maintaining the profits and cash flow consistent. Wincanton Plc is flexible and
provides a vast array of transport and logistic services, which increases the cost of procedures.
Nonetheless, the flexibility attribute aids the company in speeding up the process in case of
unprecedented situations due to the availability of extra resources and other forms of logistics.
The operation performance can be measured by using the KPI, which Wincanton Plc
uses to assess the number of complaints concerning late delivery and defects in the delivered
products (Graham et al., 2015). It was established that there are complaints concerning the
delivery time mentioned and the actual product delivery time. The firm established that such
delays are caused by delays in processing government levies and custom clearances agents.
However, the complaints on the defects of products were associated with the lack of adequate
information from the suppliers on the handling of products when they are imported.
Nevertheless, the firm acknowledged that it is a flaw in its internal management since the
organization had deployed an inspection and labeling team. Thus, it is the responsibility of
the team to assess the received products and ensure they are properly handled during the
Due to many orders daily, the firm sometimes does not check the products
thoroughly; hence the clients often receive defective products. Also, the estimated and actual
delivery time shows a large variation since the delivery team often does not consider the
delays due to customs clearance. Moreover, Wincanton Plc has outsourced the custom
clearance process; thus, in some cases, the lading bill is generated at a delayed time, thus
leading to delays in delivery (Rees et al., 2016). Thus, the company should design a control
system to ensure that all the consignments are properly checked to guarantee the quality of
the delivered products. Also, Wincanton Plc must design the system to coordinate the
delivery team and the custom clearance agents and forecast the delays that might be
encountered to ensure consistency in the delivery time. Overall, instead of outsourcing the
clearance procedures, Wincanton Plc should develop a sector of professionals to be
accountable for the clearance procedures and any casual delays.
Operational Challenges and Recommendations
In the logistics sector, organizations are presently working in emergency logistics,
including product delivery to remote areas in case of emergencies (Havenga, 2018). Most of
these organizations are establishing strategies of prolonging their operation during floods for
the community’s well-being. Also, the firms are working on the dimension of global
sustainability, in which they strive to maintain a sustainable environment alongside
maintaining the pace of the operations. Wincanton Plc is anticipating extending its operations
regarding emergency logistics. It will mainly focus on corporate social responsibility to
maintain a suitable environment (Combes, 2019). Also, the firm will upgrade its customer
relationship management software to store the details of the corporate clients to track their
buying behavior and preferences to increase its profit margin.
PART C: Reflection on Simulation Game SodaPop
The main parameters and variables of the game
The SodaPop simulation game mainly simulates a bottling plant with three different
procedures: mixing the new materials, filling the bottles with the soda, and packaging the
bottles for purchase. Therefore, the participants must ensure that there are enough bottles to
serve the client’s demands. Further, the decision concerning order quantity and reorder points
and accepting or rejecting certain clients’ contracts require to be made. The game’s main
objective is to end up with the highest revenue. Overall, the game’s learning objectives are
basic operation management concepts, such as production and inventory management,
service level, make-to-stock production, economic order quantity, and demand forecasting.
Your team’s strategy during the game
We used two strategies in the game to increase our possibility of winning. Our first
strategy was based on what we had observed from the trail simulation. We had noticed that
the daily demand remains fairly the same, approximately 216 per day. Hence, we intended to
ensure that at least we had a capacity to meet the daily demand of 2016 per day. To achieve
this, we were required to ‘line-balance’ the production by purchasing enough machines, and
once the balance was attained, we needed to guarantee the maximum utilization of the
machines simultaneously. Also, we periodically changed the Q and R to optimal values.
Another strategy was to use the data-driven approach, which calculates the values needed by
the game to optimize the operations and anticipated profits. Hence, we had to generate an
excel tool that considers the parameters issued by the simulation to deliver the optimal values.
The tool applies the basic optimization formulas in the calculation of the highest anticipated
values due to the nature of the process. We utilized formulas like bottleneck analysis, EOD,
and newsvendor model, among others.
Comparing your team’s performance versus others and reflecting on what could be
done better in yours
The strategies used enabled a100% satisfaction of the daily demands from the 86th day
until the 365th day, the game’s last day. Further, we were able to take up all three contracts
and had a 100% fill rate. Also, we did not get any penalties via the contracts and got the
maximum profit utilizing the contracts. Lastly, when the simulation ended, we had
approximately $895 000 cash, which is 4.5x growth, and we had merely 473 stocks, which is
two days inventory. However, comparing our results with others, certain discrepancies were
established, and we could have done various aspects of the game better. To attain the 100%
fill rate, we overproduced and had an average inventory of around 4686v per day, which
required that we stop the production on the 350th day and still had 473 stocks left on the final
day of the game. We had also maintained the Qat 4000 and the R at 1800, which was
extremely high for the daily demand of about 200 a day. Therefore, we should have
implemented a better line balancing for the production. Overall, we learned that
overpopulation would result in extremely high inventory overhead, and the Q and R required
to be optimized to attain the low inventory costs needed.
Agrawal, S., Singh, R. K., & Murtaza, Q. (2016). Triple bottom line performance evaluation
of reverse logistics. Competitiveness Review. 26(3).
Combes, F. (2019). Equilibrium and Optimal Location of Warehouses in Urban Areas: A
Theoretical Analysis with Implications for Urban Logistics. Transportation Research
Record, 2673(5), 262-271.
Graham, I., Goodall, P., Peng, Y., Palmer, C., West, A., Conway, P., … & Dettmer, F. U.
(2015). Performance measurement and KPIs for remanufacturing. Journal of
Remanufacturing, 5(1), 1-17. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13243-0150019-2
Havenga, J. H. (2018). Logistics and the future: The rise of macrologistics. Journal of
Transport and Supply Chain Management, 12(1), 1-10.
Prajapati, H., Kant, R., & Shankar, R. (2019). Bequeath life to death: State-of-art review on
reverse logistics. Journal of cleaner production, 211, 503-520.
Radionov, A. A., & Gasiyarov, V. R. (Eds.). (2021). Proceedings of the 6th International
Conference on Industrial Engineering (ICIE 2020): Volume II. Springer Nature.
Rees, C. J., Gibson, S. T., Rutter, M. D., Baragwanath, P., Pullan, R., Feeney, M., & Haslam,
N. (2016). UK key performance indicators and quality assurance standards for
colonoscopy. Gut, 65(12), 1923-1929. https://gut.bmj.com/content/65/12/1923.short
Vieira, J. G. V., Toso, M. R., da Silva, J. E. A. R., & Ribeiro, P. C. C. (2017). An AHP-based
framework for logistics operations in distribution centres. International Journal of
Production Economics, 187, 246-259.
Voigt, D., Casarotto Filho, N., Macedo, M. A., Braga, T. G., & da Rocha, R. U. G. (2019).
Performance Evaluation of Reverse Logistics: Opportunities for Future
Research. Sustainability, 11(19), 5291.
Yusof, M. S., Azmi, Z., Mohd Ali, N. A., & Tan, Y. L. (2018). The Influence of Corporate
Governance to the Firm Performance in Logistics Industry. Available at SSRN