New research aids Novo Nordisk spread out take-back programmes

MADE PhD Pravin Mallick is mapping all the aspects to be considered by manufacturers before implementing a take-back programme. Among others, Novo Nordisk can use this research when implementing take-back systems in new areas. Learn more about his research in the video below.

Taking back used products for reuse or for materials recycling is key to creating a more climate-friendly manufacturing industry.

But there are many things to consider before one can just implement a so-called take-back programme.

“Often, companies face challenges in designing and implementing take-back systems because of lack of knowledge or experience,” says MADE Ph.D. at DTU Pravin Mallick, who is currently working with pharmaceuticals giant Novo Nordisk and other MADE partners on a solution:

“I’m working with Novo Nordisk on designing a take-back program configuration tool, which can help manufacturers design a take-back programme for their used products.”

MADE research project

Name: Moving towards circularity – configuring take-back systems for single-use medical devices

Timeframe: 2020-2024

Aim: The overall aim of this PhD project is to design and develop a configurator for the value chain design of take-back programmes. The main aim is to provide a systematic means of assessing the viability of building, rolling out and running country/region-specific take-back programmes.

The project is part of MADE’s MADE FAST research platform, under the “Sustainable manufacturing business models and value chain designs” initiative.

MADE FAST is an industry-led research, innovation, and education partnership developing the next generation of Danish advanced manufacturing capabilities.

The most important aspects

The tool maps out all the aspects that should be considered when designing a system for taking back old products.

“For instance: what is the product in terms of the product dimensions and the product composition?” says Mallick, adding that infrastructure, geography, legislation and consumer behaviour as well as existing local authority collection systems and mechanisms are also among the key aspects to be addressed.

Novo Nordisk are part of the project and they are aiming for global implementation of a take-back system for the 600 million insulin pen devices they distribute annually worldwide.

“I hope that the tool will help all the different countries replicate the take-back programme and implement it in a much faster way,” says Mallick, who is currently working on an online version of the tool he developed and tested with MADE partners.

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