Successful remanufacturing operations rely on a good supply of end-of-life products to act as core for remanufacturing. However, it is not always easy to establish a reliable core supply due to the dispersed nature of products, high scrap prices and uncertainty over the condition of the product.

Remanufactured products may not always be able to compete on price with new products if remanufacturing requires a significant amount of expensive labour.

Legal barriers to remanufacturing include: restrictions on product design information to third parties, banning of remanufactured components in new goods, unclear definitions of waste and unclear implications of waste legislation on remanufactured goods and core.

Many of the products best suited to remanufacturing are complex with a high embedded value. However, these products are often not designed for remanufacture, i.e. are difficult to disassemble, difficult to replace individual components and difficult to test.

The perception of remanufactured goods as “second-class” can limit sales growth particularly in fashion-oriented, lifestyle or status products, e.g. cars, white goods and attire.

Remanufacturing can involve highly skilled operations and require advanced problem solving and engineering skills. Skills shortages may limit the capacity to remanufacture.

In some cases, informational barriers are introduced – overtly or covertly – by original manufacturers. Independent operators must undertake costly reverse engineering activities to determine a product’s original specifications.