Reverse logistics is the term used to describe the way a company handles products that get shipped backwards through the supply chain. Customer returns are a form of reverse logistics, but so is the unsold merchandise sent back from a store, among other scenarios. The central idea behind reverse logistics is to recapture value from these returned items and to enhance service throughout the supply chain. There are several key benefits to reverse logistics that any business, large or small, has a vested interest in obtaining.
Enhance Customer Service and Loyalty
When a customer returns a product, your business has an opportunity to learn about and respond to their concerns that shouldn’t be ignored. Making swift and effective repairs or replacements of damaged or faulty merchandise is the most basic way you can use reverse logistics to impress the customer and maintain their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. Not all repairs are due to a direct flaw in the product, however. Sometimes a customer misunderstands what your product does, finds it confusing to use, gets the wrong size, finds that they don’t like the color, or other reasons that don’t necessarily relate to a functional problem. Getting feedback during the return process lets you learn more about why the return is being made so you can make improvements accordingly in the future.
Reverse logistics is a lot like recycling, and it even has its own version of the three “R”s: resell, refurbish, repurpose. If a product is returned in good shape and isn’t faulty, then it can be packaged back up and sold to someone else. If the product requires repairs, part replacements, or other bits of maintenance, then it can be refurbished at a lower cost than building an entire new item. Lastly, if a product is truly unable to be turned into resalable condition, it can be repurposed and broken down so its usable components can be recycled. This not only reduces your business’s waste, it also helps recapture value across multiple points of the reverse supply chain.
Boost Public Perception
In addition to garnering goodwill from customers with an effective returns process, the benefits of reverse logistics also extend to public perception at large. People are more environmentally conscious than ever, and attempts by companies to become greener are often met with positive responses. Reverse logistics keeps more of your goods out of landfills and in circulation to help do your part and earn public approval to boot.
Reduce Security Risk to Businesses
This particular benefit does not apply to all businesses and mainly affects those that deal with products capable of storing information. A proper reverse logistics process will take into account any security issues surrounding product disposal and includes the steps needed for a proper response. By making sure data is thoroughly wiped before disposal or recycling, you can avoid unpleasant situations where customer information is obtained by someone who receives a previously-used product or who was rummaging around in a dumpster.
Find Efficient and Effective Reverse Logistics with Lean Supply Solutions
Lean Supply Solutions is a 3PL fulfillment company whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chain. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, predictable, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.