Circularity Development Program, Blog 3: Dismantling and Reverse Logistics, Enhancing Efficiency and Sustainability

Circularity Development Program's third Sprint, Dismantling and Reverse Logistics, focused on exploring how to seize value from end-of-life products through dismantling, reverse logistics and take-back systems. In the Program's third blog post KONE's Mari Lemberg shares KONE's thoughts on dismantling and reverse logistics.


In the quest for a more sustainable future, dismantling and reverse logistics are crucial elements in a circularity strategy. For example, when carefully dismantling elevators and efficiently managing the flow of materials and components for reuse, KONE can reduce waste, preserve resources, and promote a circular economy. This third blogpost explores how dismantling and reverse logistics can contribute to a circular economy and make a positive impact.

Dismantling and reverse logistics play a critical role in using resources safely, for as long as possible. Dismantling is a meticulous process, looking at potential reuse, excluding safety components. Reverse logistics facilitates the repair and refurbishment of selected returned components, extending their lifespan, and reducing the demand for new production. Efficient reverse logistics also ensures proper recycling and responsible disposal of materials and components, minimizing landfill waste and reducing environmental impact. In short, it means an approach of renovating, reshaping, and repurposing.

Dismantling and reverse logistics play a critical role in using resources safely, for as long as possible.

To harness the full potential of dismantling and reverse logistics, KONE has investigated different strategies and principles already for some time. Embracing design principles that prioritize simple disassembly, modularity, and standardized components, enables KONE to do efficient dismantling and promote material renewal. In addition, KONE has worked with customers, such as the Lyon Opera House in France, on circularity pilot project. Here, where materials may have been discarded as waste, many components were selected for a potential second life (excluding safety components) and put up for resale to professionals in the real-estate and construction industries, and beyond.

Another learning from the pilot was that it is important to start integrating reverse logistics into the broader supply chain and create seamless coordination between forward and reverse flows of components, materials, and information. Also, fostering partnerships with suppliers, customers, and marketplaces to establish closed-loop systems, where materials and components from modernized elevators are reincorporated into the process, are key to creating circular ecosystems. Implementing repair and refurbishment processes that extend the lifespan of products, reduce the need for new production, minimizing waste. Developing comprehensive take-back processes that encourage customers local teams to return used components, accelerate their reintegration into the cycle. In the future, technologies which leverage data analytics and tracking will help gather more insights on elevator usage, returns, and component flow.

Adopting dismantling and reverse logistics practices to drive circular development has significant benefits for KONE and companies in other industries. By recovering and reusing materials and components, circularity reduces the reliance on brand new materials, can help natural resources and help minimize environmental impacts. Dismantling and reverse logistics contributes to waste reduction by diverting materials from landfills, promoting recycling, and responsible disposal. Demonstrating commitment to sustainable practices through circularity development allows KONE for example to be part of the solution for a more sustainable future, something which is at the heart of KONE’s business.

By recovering and reusing materials and components, circularity reduces the reliance on brand new materials, can help natural resources and help minimize environmental impacts.

Implementing circular development through dismantling and reverse logistics comes with challenges, of course. The ability to identify potential gaps in existing processes and promoting shared values and broader program objectives beyond the individual interests of the parties is crucial. In addition, integrating reverse logistics into the supply chain requires careful coordination and collaboration among multiple stakeholders and establishment of efficient networks. Furthermore, some components may pose challenges in terms of disassembly and material recovery due to complex and customized design, for example. Overcoming the limitations requires continuous innovation. Encouraging and coaching KONE teams, suppliers as well as customers participating in circular initiatives are proving essential for the success of reverse logistics. Even small changes in the way people think, plan and act can have a significant impact. In the construction industry, while the infrastructure, processes and regulatory environment necessary for a full circular economy may still be a long way off, the direction of travel is clear, and many elements are already in place for the transition to circularity.

As a conclusion, dismantling and reverse logistics have emerged as enablers of circular development. By prioritizing resource recovery, adopting closed-loop systems, and fostering collaboration, companies like KONE can minimize waste, conserve resources, and pave the way for a more sustainable future. Through these practices, ecosystems that thrive on circularity can be created, driving economic growth while minimizing environmental impact. Effective dismantling and reverse logistics can act as mechanisms for circular development, shaping a more sustainable future. The framework and support from the Combient Pure program as well as collaboration with the program participants have given focus and enabled us to have a broader perspective. This has been a particularly good way to start developing things further.

- Mari Lemberg, Circularity Development and Sustainability at KONE

Go to the Circularity Development Program page

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