Sustainability issues have driven many industries to close the loop in their supply chains (SCs), evolving into a more complex process, with many risks due to the circular or multi-circular structure with several reverse flows of goods/parts/materials. Moreover, the levels of integration between partners and the levels of digitalisation in Closed Loop Supply Chains (CLSCs) are still low, yet the benefits for society are vitally relevant. Enabling technologies under the Industry 4.0 umbrella have demonstrated their positive impacts mainly on the manufacturing level, while a few researchers have investigated their effects at the SC level. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to concentrate its attention on the analysis of the benefits that enabling Industry 4.0 technologies can provide in terms of mitigating the risks in CLSCs, with a specific focus on the operational risks. Through two systematic literature reviews, this paper identifies the main operational risks connected with CLSCs activities and describes the impact of Industry 4.0 technologies on mitigating identified risks. A conceptual framework and a new cross-sectional matrix are proposed to summarise the reviews and to support future managerial initiatives in the CLSCs domain. Finally, the paper concludes by identifying some open research opportunities.
Bibliografisk noteFunding Information:
The authors sincerely thank the European Project POR 2014–2020 – “Closed Loop Supply Chain” – code: 1001-1-1267-2017 and Fondazione Speedhub office for providing funding and valuable support for this research.
© 2022 The Authors