Telecommunication service providers, also called operators or carriers, must maintain 99.999% of their telecom network availability. To avoid or mitigate the effects of an outage in the network, carriers perform different activities to restore service. Spare parts management plays an important role in meeting the required service. Unfortunately, the closed-loop supply chain that supports the availability of spare parts experiences variability in its processes as a result of endogenous and exogenous variables that make matching the recovery process with the demand process difficult. Understanding the effect of the variables on the variability outcome and the emergence of the variability can help to guide the development of future mathematical models for the management of spare parts. In this article, a complex system approach to analyze the variability behavior is presented. © 2012 World Scientific Publishing Company.