Getting hold of cores is a major issue - but Scotland is pioneering a programme which links a remanufacturer with the high street consumer and a logistics company.
Menzies Distribution was an obvious choice for the pilot scheme, chiefly due to its large scale of operation. The company was unfamiliar with remanufacturing but was keen to get involved. "We have a great match,” explains Stavros Karamperidis of Heriot Watt University. “They deliver anywhere in Scotland, any convenience store. Scotland is a very remote and isolated area, apart from the central belt. There are a lot of places in the Highlands that are remotely located." To date, the pilot study has focused on Glasgow, and is still in its first phase. As further analyses and information are collated, and outcomes noted, Karamperidis says that the project is likely to cover fresh geographical areas. At the moment 13 convenience stores are participating in the project: launched in September last year, its first phase was due to finish at the end of January 2018. "We are collecting the data and making decisions on a weekly basis, so we have some preliminary outcomes,” he says. “Everyone is so happy with what we are collecting, and the quality of the products.” He expects, with all the information collated, to run a second, two-week pilot project in May this year. There are also plans to expand the scheme into a "pan-Scottish base". The implementation date of the main programme, though, is yet to be set in stone. "We have to think about [further] funding applications,” he concedes. “It's research for us, so if we don't get any external funding, it's impossible. As a university, we have to have to a researcher associated with a project, someone dedicated to the project, and to keep an eye on what is happening every day, and the overall operations. Also, we need to keep an eye on the marketing of the campaign, because we have to motivate and educate people. That is what we are doing as a university. We have to liaise with the partners every day, find out how the deliveries are going, how we can create optimisation, and the overall supply chain."