Product take back and reuse is sometimes at odds with the rapidly evolving desires of some customers. For other customers, the environmental benefits of reuse more than compensate for minor drawbacks. “Selling a service” (rather than a product) through leasing enables the manufacturer to control the timing and quality of product take-back, but current methods assume a fixed leasing period. What is needed is a method for fine-tuning the time span of the customer’s life cycle in order to provide each market segment the combination of features it most desires. This paper presents a new method for performing long range product planning so that the manufacturer can determine optimal take-back times, end-of-life design decisions, and number of lifecycles. The method first determines a Pareto optimal frontier over price, environmental impact and reliability using a genetic algorithm. Then, a multiattribute utility function is employed to maximize utility across different segments of the market, and also across different lifecycles within each segment. The proposed methodology is illustrated through an example involving personal computers.

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