Special Issue "Reverse Operations: Paving the Way for Circular Supply Chains"

A special issue of Logistics (ISSN 2305-6290). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability and Reverse Logistics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Goyannes Gusmão Caiado
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Chief Guest Editor
1. Institute of Technical-Scientific Software Development, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Tecgraf / PUC-RioRua Marquês de São Vicente, 225, Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2. Department of Management Systems, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rua Passo da Pátria, 156, Campus Praia Vermelha, Niterói, RJ, Brasi
Interests: smart manufacturing; Industry 4.0; operations and supply chain management; circular economy; sustainable supply chain management
Prof. Dr. Osvaldo Luiz Goncalves Quelhas
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Management Systems, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rua Passo da Pátria, 156, Campus Praia Vermelha, Niterói, RJ, Brasil
Interests: sustainable development; sustainable practices in logistics systems; circular economy; reverse logistics
Prof. Dr. Luiz Felipe Scavarda
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 22453-900, Brazil
Interests: sustainable supply chain management; reverse logistics; sales and operations planning
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to introduce this Special Issue (SI) of Logistics. Its scope concerns the reverse operations: paving the way for circular supply chains. Original reviews, theoretical papers, and theory-based empirical research are welcome. The SI’s focus is broad and intended to complement existing literature on reverse logistics (RL) and supply chains from the perspective of circular economy (CE), advancing academic knowledge relevant to theory and practice.

Faced with the need to rethink product development, production, and consumption practices, CE proposes that RL be thought of more broadly, beyond a company’s perspective of embracing its supply chain, in order to preserve the value and usefulness of the material for the longest possible time, in addition to generating significant gains in the value chain. RL is the driving force for the material flows that make up a circular supply chain (CSC), which presents an integrated approach that considers the forward and reverse supply chains simultaneously fulfilled. In this context, CSC management comprises integrating circular thinking, aimed at restoring technical materials and regenerating biological materials under the zero-waste approach through supply chain functions involving all stakeholders, into supply chain management (SCM) and its industrial and natural ecosystems. The integration of sustainability and CE concepts under the holistic development of RL systems and closed-loop supply systems is a fertile research area that ensures the conservation of waste, conservation of resources, recovery of materials, and mitigation of environmental impact (Julianelli et al., 2020). Furthermore, Industry 4.0 (I4.0) can be considered an essential driver of CSC, incorporating new applications that include not only aspects of economic and operational efficiency but also social and environmental implications (Azevedo et al., 2019). Thus, I4.0 technologies can be integrated into CE practices to facilitate the flow and sharing of RL information across the chain and between different supply chains. For example, I4.0 offers technological artifacts (e.g., 3D printers) that enable the reuse of wastes from non-organic solid materials in urban or industrial environments (Nascimento et al., 2019).

Therefore, this SI calls for innovative, theory-based research addressing the issues of RL and CSC-related aspects (e.g., sustainability, digitalization) as a whole, or as combined streams, addressing CE-related objectives, such as to support companies that practice circular flows in disseminating new forms of consumption and product design; and to discuss experiences of industrial symbiosis, resulting in mutually profitable transactions and much more effective processes. CE implementation is incipient and CSC is an evolving concept that awaits a greater maturity in accumulated knowledge to consolidate its definition, boundaries, principles, and practices. Theoretical and empirical original research work are welcome. The methods of qualitative and quantitative systematic literature reviews, empirical research using surveys, case studies, mathematical modelling and simulations, and mixed methods are suitable to address the issues at hand. Papers allying rigor and relevance with implications for research and practice will receive particular attention from the Editors. This SI welcomes further investigation on initiatives and practices of RL trajectories towards CSC (Julianelli et al., 2020) related to supply chain digitalization, encompassing critical factors for value creation through I4.0 (e.g., Caiado et al., 2021).

Manuscripts or papers can be submitted on the following topics:

  • Investigation of the relationship between RL and CE in the SCM context;
  • Empirical studies on the success of CE application in industry or with different product types;
  • Guidelines for evaluating the performance of a circular system;
  • Investigation of a better understanding of the relationship between the CE and (economic, environmental, social) sustainability;
  • Investigation of CE’s influence on the performance of supply chains, business models, and innovation systems;
  • Investigation of how emerging concepts such as performance economics, sharing economics, I4.0, and new forms of business can enable CE practice;
  • Studies that already consider all the alternatives of circularity (recycling, remanufacturing, reuse, and repair) in the design phase of the supply chain network;
  • Studies that focus on how different managerial decisions impact the RL and closed-loop supply chain management performance;
  • Studies that explain in detail how CE determinants can be supported at the micro (consumers), meso (economic agents that interact with each other) and macro (society) levels;
  • Studies that explore the effect of I4.0 (technologies and principles) on CSC.

This list is not exhaustive. We are looking forward for your paper in the abovementioned and related thematic areas.

Kind regards,

Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Goyannes Gusmão Caiado
Prof. Dr. Osvaldo Luiz Gonçalves Quelhas
Prof. Dr. Luiz Felipe Scavarda
Guest Editors


  1. Azevedo, B. D., Scavarda, L. F., & Caiado, R. G. G. (2019). Urban solid waste management in developing countries from the sustainable supply chain management perspective: A case study of Brazil's largest slum. Journal of cleaner production, 233, 1377-1386.
  2. Caiado, R.G.G., Scavarda, L.F., Gavião, L.O., Ivson, P., Nascimento, D.L.M., & Garza-Reyes, J.A. (2021). Fuzzy rule-based industry 4.0 maturity model for manufacturing and supply chain management operations. International Journal of Production Economics, 231, 107883.
  3. Julianelli, V., Caiado, R.G.G., Scavarda, L.F., Cruz, S.P.M.F. (2020). Interplay between reverse logistics and circular economy: Critical success factors-based taxonomy and framework. Resources Conservation And Recycling, 158, 104784.
  4. Nascimento, D. L. M., Alencastro, V., Quelhas, O. L. G., Caiado, R. G. G., Garza-Reyes, J. A., Rocha-Lona, L., & Tortorella, G. (2019). Exploring Industry 4.0 technologies to enable circular economy practices in a manufacturing context. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Logistics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • reverse logistics
  • reverse flow
  • green logistics
  • sustainable logistics
  • circular economy
  • closed-loop supply chain
  • reverse supply chain
  • green supply chain management
  • sustainable supply chain management
  • Industry 4.0
  • sustainable logistics networks design
  • closed-loop logistics systems

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A Predictive Maintenance System for Sustainable Reverse Lo-gistics Operations
Authors: Sotiris P. Gayialis; Evripidis P. Kechagias; Grigorios D. Konstantakopoulos; Georgios A. Papadopoulos
Affiliation: Sector of Industrial Management and Operational Research, School of Mechanical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 15780 Athens, Greece
Abstract: Predictive maintenance and service supply chain operations face significant challenges when performed by companies that provide equipment (sale, lend, lease) to third parties while re-maining responsible for its maintenance and repair. These challenges are mostly related to their reverse logistics operations in terms of remanufacturing and refurbishing activities that are re-quired. After-sales support is directly related to the supply of spare or reused parts and mate-rials, technical staff and services required for the efficient operation, maintenance and repairing of the equipment. Predicting the parts of the equipment requiring maintenance or replacement is the key to the effective operation of the service supply chain and the related reverse logistics operations. However, this is a complicated process, as the equipment operate in scattered loca-tions, making it challenging to collect the necessary data. Effective predictive maintenance is es-sential for businesses as the need to reduce costs while improving services' quality can help them operate sustainably and gain a significant competitive advantage. This paper presents a system that covers the needs for the monitoring and maintenance of the equipment, as well as for the efficient operation of the service supply chain. It is based on the emerging technologies of Industry 4.0, such as the Internet of Things, machine learning and cloud computing. Sensors embedded in the equipment, are connected over the internet to collect data that is needed to monitor the operation of the equipment. As a result, companies that decide to use the system, will achieve more effective equipment maintenance and service supply chain operations. Ulti-mately, the reverse logistics operations will become more sustainable as fewer good-conditioned spare part replacements will be needed and the replacements will be per-formed just in time.

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