Management implications of readjusting product lifecycles towards a circular economy during product planning and development

Main Presenter: Anna Diaz 

Co-Authors: Katharina Roche Rupert J. Baumgartner

In private sector organizations the circular economy concept is increasingly seen as a way to achieve sustainable development goals. Accordingly, private sector organizations need to plan the integration of value-retention strategies during the design of products. These seek to increase resource-efficiency and reduce material throughput by readjusting product lifecycles so that the product’s integrity and functionality is preserved for as long as possible. They often entail substantial management efforts as new lifecycle stakeholders, services, and communication systems need to be set up to realize value-retention strategies. The purpose of this study is to describe the incorporation of circular economy-oriented forecasting methods during product planning – seeking to integrate value retention strategies into the design of products. The forecasting methods are combined with a product strategy roadmap to coordinate organizational functions and resources around the deployment of the
circular economy-oriented product. This research describes and compares the outcomes from 3 case studies where the forecasting methods were applied involving durable (cooking device) and non-durable products (industrial packaging). The findings of this study shed light on the intra-organizational resources that need to be mobilized in order to readjust product lifecycles towards circularity for different product types. Thus, the study’s contribution is to expand the knowledge on circular economy implementation in private sector organizations.

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