Addition by subtraction: Integrating product deletion with lean and sustainable supply chain management

Qingyun Zhu, Purvi Shah*, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Product management activities have typically focused on the innovation, acquisition, expansion and management of product lines and products. However, product deletion or discontinuation is also critical. Despite its strategic importance, product deletion has received relatively less attention in both academia and practice. Researchers have conceptually investigated product deletion, its influence on firm's resources, the factors influencing product deletion decisions, and the product deletion process. However, very few papers have related product deletion decisions to supply chain management, especially when leanness and sustainability are major objectives. This paper aims to integrate lean and sustainable supply chain dimensions with product deletion by proposing a multilevel decision model that can facilitate a product deletion decision with an objective of developing a leaner and more sustainable supply chain. The model has three major decision dimensions with 8 factors with 29 influencing determinants. The model uses an integrated analytical hierarchy/network process (AHP/ANP) and a benefits, opportunities, cost and risks (BOCR) analysis. An illustrative company scenario is provided for the model application. The paper contributes by filling an important gap by integrating lean and sustainable supply chain management and product deletion literature to formulate a product deletion decision making model which aids in enhancing the leanness and sustainability of supply chains. The model also allows for cross-functional participation involving marketing, operations, finance, and environmental sustainability fields.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue numberNovember
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 07.09.2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Product deletion
  • Supply chain management
  • Lean supply chain
  • Sustainability
  • Analytical hierarchy/network process model
  • BOCR analysis


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