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Reverse Logistics: Managing Returns to Fulfil Deliveries

Reverse Logistics: Managing Returns to Fulfil Deliveries

For manufacturers, distributors and retailers, returns have often been seen as a nuisance.

Whilst many in the future may outsource the management of their returns to a third party, having to deal with them ‘in-house’ will still be the stark reality for the majority of organisations for some time to come.

In recent studies, over 90% of shoppers cited the returns process as being important to their final decision when buying online – nearly 50% consider it to be very important, indeed a possible deal-breaker. This indicates just how crucial it is to get it right if customer satisfaction levels are to be maintained.

Returns are very much on the increase. As consumers, we’ve all become accustomed to there being a wide range of options available when it comes to purchasing online. We want choice – in both our products and our routes to buy – and we demand fast delivery. Unfortunately, the convenience of the online shopping experience is only complete if we can also return our goods when and how we want to and have confidence that the process will be handled efficiently.

Around 40% of shoppers under 35 return more than they did just 2 years ago. This comes as no real surprise as they are effectively following the same pattern as they would if they were actually in store – taking more items than they know they want to purchase into the changing room and then making a ‘final cut’ before heading to the tills. The problem is, they now expect to do this without the inconvenience of having to leave home!

The key to a successful online or high street business – and for everyone involved in the supply chain which serves it – is to ensure that returned goods are identified, received, turned around and placed back on sale as soon as possible.

When it comes to logistics, there are 3 essential areas of operation to consider – accuracy, speed and reliability. When it comes to reverse logistics – it’s exactly the same three things that matter, and that’s why the use of hand-held capture devices, EPoS hardware and mobile printers is essential for anyone who wants to efficiently manage their returns.

Accuracy – for good inventory management it is essential to have visibility on all returned stock (i.e. what it is and where it is), making sure that it is ‘seen’ for order fulfilment

Speed – any returned items must be returned to stock as soon as possible; having them sitting in the warehouse or stockroom waiting to be relabelled represents lost time and lost opportunities

Reliability – even the most well-designed returns system is only as good as its weakest link so if any of the equipment fails or requires maintenance at a vital time then the process fails too

Real-time data is essential when it comes to returned stock. As well as allowing a quick turnaround, it provides valuable insights into where goods are coming from and how often – the kind of information which is vital when deciding how your organisation might ultimately manage returns.

Let us help!
If you would like to see how PLM Global can help you keep your reverse logistics moving then please get in touch. We specialise in the supply, maintenance and repair of hand-held capture devices, mobile print and EPoS hardware to assist your operation to achieve the high level of efficiency which today’s consumer demands.
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