Reverse logistics isn’t something most companies relish and as a result is often overlooked, but if handled with the right care, it’s what gives a modern supply chain the competitive edge.
Of the many areas of a supply chain that get attention, reverse logistics is certainly an area amongst those that gets the least. It’s entirely understandable. Most companies focus on getting their goods to the consumer as opposed to getting those goods back. Nonetheless, it’s become critical for modern supply chains. Quality reverse logistics isn’t just about adding anther element of value to a supply chain, it’s it’s making sure it stays competitive in the future.
This article by Morai Logistics covers 5 steps companies should be taking in order to make their reverse logistics process more successful.
Figure out the why Behind Returns
Returns shouldn’t be a mindless process. They’re costly, and it’s up to supply chain managers to figure out why they’re happening. With the right approach, they can be turned from a cost to a benefit—an opportunity to improve. That improvement can come from a number of areas as the reason for the returns can stem from different places. Predominantly, they’ll be a consequence of an issue in the return policy or a product. As such, addressing this root issue is not only a cost-saving measure but a way to better understand the customer.
Have a Simple Return Policy
Make the process of returning as easy as buying. Customers are typically able to buy something online in the space of seconds. As a result, they expect the process of returning to be equally quick and simple. Not meeting this expectation leads to dissatisfied customers. Thus, it’s important to have a return policy that is both easy to understand but also straightforward to follow. Not only does this help your customers, it also helps your customer service team.
Make Sure Return Labels Come with the Packaging
Little things go a long way. In line with making returning easy, is the incredible value in ensuring return labels come with packaging. The benefits of this match that of having a simple return policy (happier customers and customer service team). However, they don’t stop there. A return label improves overall supply chain efficiency, as it allows for products to be returned quickly.
As this Supply Chain Brain article on reverse logistics, and return labels in particular, explains,
It can then be placed on a sticker that the customer can simply peel off and pop onto the product for a hassle-free return. Not only does this help the customer, but it also gets the product back to the seller much more quickly, improving the efficiency of the entire process.
At this point in time, it’s become apparent that having a high degree of visibility throughout a supply chain is vital to its success. That visibility should extend to reverse logistics. With that in mind, it’s critical that, in the same way monitoring systems are used for product deliveries, they should equally be implemented for returns. By doing this, companies can evaluate the treatment of their goods. Moreover, they can use this evaluation to see if any of their goods need fixing and if the handling of their product on returns is adequate.
Don’t Neglect the Right Technology
Finally, there’s the technological component of returns. As previously stated, reverse logistics is a key part of the supply chain. It can be seen as its final step. Hence, the same way in which the modern supply chain requires digitization, it then follows that so does reverse logistics.
The previously mentioned Supply Chain Brain article elabourates,
A transportation-management system (TMS) and warehouse-management system (WMS) allow for greater efficiency over the course of a reverse logistics operation. These applications combine to keep you in the know about where a product is, while always maintaining the correct documentation.