Silla Corona: David Grant

November 19, 2015

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Published in Previous years

Our most recent guest speaker, Professor David Grant, visited us from the Hull University Business School. On Tuesday, November 10th David gave a lecture at the Silla Corona Seminar Series about his paper “Reverse Logistics in Household Recycling and Waste Systems: A Symbiosis Perspective”.

On Wednesday, he led a conversation panel for Executive Education participants on logistics operations, sustainability and consumer satisfaction. In addition, he gave a workshop for doctoral students.

Professor Grant has focused his research in customer service and satisfaction, services marketing and service quality, retail logistics, reverse and sustainable logistics, logistics and supply chain relationships, and the integration of logistics and marketing.

What is the paper entitled “Reverse Logistics in Household Recycling and Waste Systems: A Symbiosis Perspective” about?

The paper looks at questions such as, what are consumer’s attitudes towards recycling? What are the factors that influence that behavior? Do they want to recycle? We wanted to look at the influence of these factors on one another. We collected the information on those factors, and then we did a survey of householders in the city of Hull and in East Riding of Yorkshire. We obtained 400 responses.

As consumers, and even as organizations, we’re not geared up to give stuff back. What do people do when they’re done using a product? In England, where I live, they first try to resell it. In fact, the largest online retailer is: ebay.uk.com. You can also give it to a charityorganization like Oxfam.

Recycling, product disposal, or any other option, are all part of reverse logistics, which can take many forms. Now, about household waste, which we all generate, in the UK the local councils come and collect it. Years ago, everything went  from the bin to a landfill or it was incinerated. Nowadays, they collect garbage in different batches according to type. There are three main bins: in the black one goes what cannot be recycled, in the brown goes organics, and in the blue, bottles, plastics, cans, paper, cardboard.

What did you find?

East Riding (UK) is more affluent than the city of Hull, but there was no difference between the two in terms of why people recycle. What drives their behavior is certainly regulation and that they want to contribute.

We found that the situational factors that they are concerned with are accessibility (where do I put my garbage, how can I get rid of a sofa), availability of service provided (when, how) and convenience (for example, biodegradable bags often leak, and that’s a problem because you then have to clean up).

Another finding was that the council’s education and advertisement efforts didn’t seem to play an important role.

What’s the significance of this research?

It can give councils guidance as to what is important for the consumers. If the councils are able to satisfy these concerns, consumers will have a greater propensity to recycle. Right now, if it’s not convenient, say, because they change the date of collection, many people will just throw it all in the black bin. So using statistical analysis, we found there is a symbiosis between councils and citizens: there will be a mutual positive effect if councils understand factors that are important to the people.

We know they have to make the system accessible and convenient. If so, the whole system will improve. Years before, Hull and East Riding had the worst rates of recycling. This is what prompted our research. Now, they want to get to 45% of all waste recycled correctly.

Biography

David GrantisProfessor of Logistics at Hull UniversityBusiness School (HUBS). From 2009 to 2012 he was Director of the Logistics Institute. In 2013 he was appointed as Associate Dean at HUBS until 2014. Professor Grant holds a PhD (2003) and an MSc (1999) from the School of Management at the University of Edinburgh.

David has over 175 publications in various refereed journals, books and conference proceedings and is on the editorial board of many international journals.  He is a member of the US Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the UK Logistics Research Network (LRN), the French Association Internationale pour la RechercheenLogistique (AIRL), the Nordic Nordisk Forskningi Material Administration (NOFOMA), and the British Retail Consortium’s Storage and Distribution Technical Advisory Committee.  David is also a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA). 

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