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The Killer App for 3D Printing? The Circular Economy

3D printing is currently a niche technology — but it has the potential to help us completely alter how we use and reuse materials to make custom goods. As a technology, it offers 3 factors that define sustainable systems: (1) materials parsimony, (2) power autonomy, and (3) value cycling. Guest editor Gregory Unruh explains how 3D printing represents a sustainability game-changer.

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Lean Production in an International Supply Chain

In a global supply chain, managers must plan for longer lead times, expensive air freight, higher inventory levels, poor sales-forecasting accuracy, and significant delays in resolving technical problems. However, the reduction of defects and engineering change orders associated with lean production can stabilize the supply chain.

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Returns Policies: Make Money by Making Good

ALTHOUGH RETURNS POLICIES HAVE BEEN WIDELY USED FOR MANY YEARS, THEY CONTINUE TO BE A SOURCE OF CONTROVERSY. THE AUTHORS present a framework that explains when and how to adopt returns policies. They analyze the benefits and costs of accepting returns from distributors, and also compare returns policies to alternative ways of coordinating the distribution channel.

04-Operations-500

Reassessing the Japanese Distribution System

JAPAN’S DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS, LONG THE TARGET OF CRITICISM, ARE CHANGING. DEREGULATION, NEW MANUFACTURING IMPERATIVES, consumer behavior, and the economy have interacted to reshape Japanese distribution. The trends have important implications for global business, since the system now offers areas of opportunity for Western manufacturers and retailers.

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