Value flow characterization during product lifecycle to assist in recovery decisions

Document Type


Publication Date



The value of a product at the end of its useful life determines whether it is disposed, recycled, remanufactured or is handled some other way within the recovery infrastructure. This value changes over time, and depends on factors such as the quality of the product and its perception by business entities within the recovery infrastructure. Under the assumption that the last user wants to maximize economic gain, these factors can be considered as uncertainties that affect the decision of the last user with regard to product disposition. Since the choice made by the last user has a significant effect on the environmental impact of a product, it is important to understand the value of the product over its lifecycle and thus its end-of-life value. A model is proposed in this paper to characterize the value flow during the product lifecycle. The model considers three product lifecycle stages: (i) manufacturing (the value creation stage); (ii) usage (value consumption stage); (iii) recovery/post-use (value reclamation stage). The role of product attributes and product usage history on the value flow across the product lifecycle is investigated. In addition, the perception-dependent nature of product value is explored and related to utility theory. The model has application in decisions related to product use and recovery; an example is presented to demonstrate the use of the value model in selecting the best product recovery option.

Publication Title

International Journal of Production Research