'Reman': devising a new spin

by Derek Guest

Source: Live Mint

The 'restorative approach' of remanufacturing is catching on, with bargains already available in some select consumer goods categories.

You've heard the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" mantra too many times? Your eyes glaze over when you come across do-good advocates who tell you how to save the planet? Hang on, we are about to add another "R" to the litany. This one has a powerful business driver and is called "Remanufacturing" or "Refurbishing".

Remanufacturing isn't exactly "flavour of the year". It's reached a point where industry fondly calls the trend "reman", and has begun to attend World Reman Summits (the next one is in June in Amsterdam, the Netherlands). What exactly is reman? And how different is it from recycling or reuse (see "The 'R' Primer")?

Fundamentally, "reman" enhances the ratio between virgin materials and reconditioned components in a product. For example, the manufacturer of your mobile phone may take back (or buy back) the handset from you at the end of its life. Then the manufacturer will disassemble it, refurbish the worn-out parts and put the handset back in the market.

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