Top Sector Logistics

Logistics in a circular, capital-intensive manufacturing industry

The background

Logistics is one of the nine ‘top sectors’ in the Netherlands that have been identified as requiring extra attention; each of these top sectors must participate in the transition to a circular economy. Logistics play a crucial role in closing cycles, especially when it comes to capital-intensive goods that retain their value over longer timescales. The organization Topsector Logistiek (Top Sector Logistics) asked Copper8 to investigate what the most important logistics knowledge questions are in the transition to a circular, capital-intensive manufacturing industry.


The transition to the circular economy will lead to the longer and higher-quality use of products and materials, including a higher degree of maintenance, repair, restoration and reuse, which create new value chains. This will also result in new logistical challenges around transport, stock management, value chain management and service logistics. These challenges are summarized in case studies for the different logistical flows, based on interviews.

The question

Support us in picking up the most important knowledge questions for the logistics sector in relation to the capital-intensive manufacturing industry in the transition to a circular economy.

Current situation and future

The study was commissioned by Topsector Logistiek and the organizations behind it, TKI Dinalog and Stichting Connekt. By gathering information from the networks of these organizations, knowledge questions can be developed that are relevant across the board. This creates a support base and enables the different organizations to work together on the same knowledge questions in the following phase.

The process

Since there was no clear definition, we started by characterizing the capital-intensive manufacturing industry. Meanwhile, we looked at which logistics flows could be distinguished. We then interviewed producers and users of capital-intensive goods as well as logistics parties, to identify which logistical challenges are at play in the transition to a circular model. We tested the insights obtained with a sounding board group, which consisted of logistics experts from the science and business worlds.

The results

The most important logistics knowledge questions for a circular capital-intensive manufacturing industry are summarized in a white paper, which examines the distinction between different logistics flows and how they change as we move towards a circular model. The knowledge questions are explored through case studies based on the interviews. Topsector Logistiek will use the white paper to set up further research and to connect different parties that have the same logistics requirements.

“The transition to a circular economy demands a great deal from sectors, including logistics, but at the same time, it provides opportunities. This is certainly the case in the capital-intensive manufacturing industry, where there is already a lot of experience with service logistics; this puts the industry in a good starting position for making value chains truly circular. To seize those opportunities and to accelerate the transition, Copper8 helped Topsector Logistiek to sharpen the relevant knowledge questions. This has enabled us to program studies that will help companies take the next step in the transition.” Jasper de Graaf Program Developer

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