Effective Circular Supply Chain Management

by Charles Hofacker


The Role of Technology, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 1 May 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Maja Arslanagic-Kalajdzic

Industrial Marketing Management

Call for Papers

The Role of Technology in Achieving Effective Circular Supply Chain Management

Deadline for submission: May 1st, 2021

Overview and Purpose

In recent years, research on the circular economy (CE), which refers to an industrial economy that aims to achieve enriched sustainability through restorative objects and design (Ghisellini et al., 2016), has been attracting increasing attention from academics as well as practitioners. The core purpose of the CE is the recovery of value from tangible commodities through a narrow, closed-loop of reuse and restoration that can increase economic and environmental performance, for instance through recycling and energy recovery (Ashby, 2018).

The execution of a CE programme involves a firm implementing strategies to develop the circularity of its manufacturing system and collaborating with other firms throughout the supply chain to accomplish a more efficient circular pattern of production (Wrinkler, 2011). As such, a circular supply chain (CSC) is a complex system that offers an infinite cycle of reutilizing, remanufacturing and recycling of materials and resources (Mangla et al., 2018). Within this context, circular supply chain management (CSCM) aims to enhance the use of resources throughout the entire product lifecycle by applying circular remanufacturing (Lieder and Rashid, 2016). Initial evidence exists that CSCM, for instance in the form of manufacturer-supplier and retailer-manufacturer collaboration, improves the CE innovation capabilities of firms (Lieder and Rashid, 2016).

A critical issue companies face when implementing CSCM is the lack of efficient information systems to effectively manage their CE involvement and objectives (Paras et al., 2018). Effective data management and underlying technological infrastructure are essential for supporting CSCM during the product life cycle. For example, during the product development stage, vital variables to consider in CSCM include the content and structure of the product. As such, the types of resources and technologies used for manufacturing determine the degree of the product recovery that is possible after the end-of-use/end-of-life of the product (Lewis et al., 2017). Highly efficient information and technological systems can enable product development programmes that facilitate product eco-design and other important CE factors such as product recovery and reuse, generally referred to as ‘Design for X’.

Effective communication systems are also essential for the independent tracking and tracing of product returns in connection with earlier sales. Connecting the product return with a past sale can help predict returns, thus assisting in inventory management (Srivastava & Srivastava, 2006). Being able to generate such records is highly valuable for the preparation and control of product recovery activities. Information support is thus crucial for accomplishing effective operations (Francas & Minner, 2009).

Currently, there are no tools available for manufacturers to trace and evaluate products over their lifetime, with the objective to for instance predict the quantity, quality or timing of product returns. Thus, tools that enable supply chain traceability are in dire need. Traceability within the context of CSCM can be accomplished by using exclusive identifiers to track source components. Universal product codes, radio-frequency identifiers, and two-dimensional barcodes are currently the most commonly used identifiers (Ali & Haseeb, 2019). As these tags become more intelligent through sensors, and as data are exchanged via internet protocols (i.e. the Internet of Things), firms can acquire information about asset status, location and accessibility, which accelerates product protection, recycling and remanufacturing along the value chain (Franco, 2017). Ultimately, identification and reuse technologies enable the reporting of the exact fabrics and manufacturing procedures of the products’ recyclable parts that can be reused in the production process (Garcia-Torres et al., 2019).

Considering these frontiers for companies in their quest for CSCM, we invite submissions that investigate antecedents, dynamics, consequences, and obstacles associated with the role of information technology in CSCM. We welcome empirical contributions from researchers deploying diverse methods that are grounded in business-to-business marketing. Literature reviews or conceptual papers will not be considered.

Papers for the Special Issue may focus on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Case studies focusing on behavioural and governance models for technological improvements to CSCM;
  • Analyses of the challenges involved in implementing technologically innovative CSCM practices taking a local, national or global perspective, with an identification of potential solutions (consequences of these solutions should be addressed);
  • Examinations of how knowledge may be transferred and collaboration achieved across multiple-tier suppliers to enable technology-based CSCM;
  • Analyses of best practices that can be used to identify and adopt innovative technology to enable CSCM;
  • Analyses of the role that trust plays in implementing CSCM technologies;
  • Analysis of technological innovations and new product development within the context of CSCM;
  • Identification of new innovations and their contributions to CSCM implementation (e.g. radio-frequency identification, Internet of Things)

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial site at


Please login, register as an author, and submit the paper following the instructions on the website. Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length.

Manuscripts should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage through the EVISE system. Manuscripts should be uploaded using the dropdown box for the SI Circular supply chain management. All papers will be reviewed through the standard double-blind peer review process of IMM. Authors are advised to adhere closely to the Author Guidelines when preparing their manuscripts. A guide for authors is available


Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf. homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file.)

Important Dates

  • Submissions open: March 1st, 2021
  • Deadline for submission: May 1st, 2021

Guest Editors

Professor Fu (Jeff) Jia, Chair Professor of Supply Chain Management, The York Management School, University of York, United Kingdom (email: fu.jia@york.ac.uk)

Dr. Lujie Chen, PhD, Associate Professor of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, China (email: Lujie.chen@xjtlu.cn)

Dr. Michelle D. Steward, PhD, Associate Professor of Marketing, Wake Forest University, USA (email: stewarmd@wfu.edu)

Tobias Schoenherr, PhD, Hoagland-Metzler Endowed Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management, Michigan State University, USA (email: schoenherr@broad.msu.edu)


Angelis-Dimakis, A., Alexandratou, A., & Balzarini, A. (2016). Value chain upgrading in a textile dyeing industry. Journal of Cleaner Production138, 237-247.

Ashby, A. (2018). Developing closed loop supply chains for environmental sustainability: insights from a UK clothing case study. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 29(4), 699-722.

Braungart, M., McDonough W., & Bollinger A. (2007). Cradle-to-cradle design: creating healthy emissions—a strategy for eco-effective product and system design. Journal of Cleaner Production, 15(13-14), 1337–48.

Dubey, R., Gunasekaran, A., Childe, S. J., Papadopoulos, T., & Helo, P. (2019). Supplier relationship management for circular economy: influence of external pressures and top management commitment. Management Decision, 57(4), 767-790.

Ellen McArthur Foundation, (2013). Towards the circular economy vol. 1: an economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition, p. 96. Available at http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications.

Francas D., & Minner S. (2009). Manufacturing network configuration in supply chains with product recovery. Omega, 37(4), 757-769.

Genovese, A., Acquaye, A. A., Figueroa, A., & Koh, S. L. (2017). Sustainable SCM and the transition towards a circular economy: evidence and some applications. Omega, 66, 344-357.

Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., & Ulgiati, S. (2016). A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. Journal of Cleaner Production114, 11-32.

Lowe E. (1993). Industrial ecology—an organizing framework for environmental management. Environmental Quality Management, 3(1), 73–85.

Matos, S., & Hall, J. (2007). Integrating sustainable development in the supply chain: The case of life cycle assessment in oil and gas and agricultural biotechnology. Journal of Operations Management, 25(6), 1083-1102.

McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York, NY: North Point Press.

Mutingi, M. (2013). Developing green SCM strategies: A taxonomic approach. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management (JIEM)6(2), 525-546.

Sarkis, J., Zhu, Q., & Lai, K. -H. (2011). An organizational theoretic review of green SCM literature. International Journal of Production Economics, 130(1), 1-15.

Savaskan, R. C., Bhattacharya, S., & Van Wassenhove, L. N. (2004). Closed-loop supply chain models with product remanufacturing. Management Science, 50(2), 239-252.

Srivastava, S.K. (2007). Green supply-chain management: a state-of-the-art literature review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 9(1), 53-80.

Svensson, G. (2007). Aspects of sustainable SCM (SSCM): conceptual framework and empirical example. SCM: An International Journal, 12(4), 262-266.

Van Wassenhove, L. N., & Guide Jr, V. D. R. (2009). The evolution of closed-loop supply chain research. Operations Research57(1), 10-18.

Zhu, Q., Geng, Y. and Lai, K.H. (2010). Circular economy practices among Chinese manufacturers varying in environmental-oriented supply chain cooperation and the performance implications. Journal of Environmental Management91(6), 1324-1331.