An effective returns management strategy is key to your business. It minimizes loss on returned products while increases bottom line revenue. The optimization of your returns management processes translates directly to improving your overall reverse logistics strategy. Touting such remarkable benefits, there is little question that establishing an optimized strategy is a worthwhile endeavor. But what are the key facets that separate an effective strategy from an ineffective one?
1: Multi-Level Control
A returns management strategy can graded on its reliability and predictability. Some of this reliability can be attained by compliance with established quality management systems. This regulatory compliance helps to provide consistency of information, which establishes a “common language” internally to keep everyone on the same page. Regulatory-compliant systems yield a comprehensive solution covering national border regulations, industry-specific regulations, and shipping regulations.
Fault diagnosis and quality control benefit immensely from a returns management tactic. Clearly-defined rules establish a steady workflow stream. A method of feedback that’s both timely and comprehensive helps you assess root causes of returns. Order accuracy is improved with shipment audits. Automation improves efficiency and consistency within operations. And all of this improved quality also helps minimize corporate liability
Time is money. The reverse logistics pathway is an expensive and time-consuming one – each facet being a necessary evil that stands in the way of profit. Before an item even reaches the potential for resale, it needs to be reworked. Extended repair and refurbishment time puts reselling off and cuts significantly into the revenue acquired by the eventual reselling.
A truly comprehensive returns management strategy automates base decisions for efficiency: how you’ll process returned material, for example, can be essentially programmed. Your automated returns process will assess the value of an item in scrap materials. It will determine return eligibility. It can even determine the repair cost, scope, time-frame, and strategy.
3: Early, Accurate Information
Inaccurate information can wreak havoc on your reverse logistics pathway. With automated returns management processes, you can expect consistent and accurate information. This goal is furthered by the early acquisition of key data points: condition, components, dates, quantities etcetera.
If this information is acquired in the first steps of the reverse logistics pathway, you reap the benefits of efficiency on every subsequent marker in the pathway. Your repair depot can be stocked with the appropriate parts prior to the item’s arrival. Your receiving dock knows when the shipment is anticipated and plan the proper equipment and labor to handle it. Your third-party resellers can plan for the arrival of the refurbished or repaired item.
The entire reverse logistics pathway offers countless opportunities for improvement, and a truly optimized system yields incredible benefits to your bottom line. Returns management is a great focus for any optimization strategy. But returns management is, of course, only a small portion of the entire reverse logistics process. In order to attain maximum efficiency, a returns management strategy must be coupled with many other tactics, and viewed as a cog in a much greater machine.
For a comprehensive reverse logistics strategy, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable business consultant. Each business is its own animal, and yours is no exception: consult with a strategist who is experienced and versatile enough to customize strategies based on your business needs and your short- and long-term goals.
Don’t waste your valuable time on an unoptimized strategy. Blumberg Advisory Group has years of experience in strategic consulting, and is ready to help you optimize your reverse logistics approach. Reach out today for a free consultation!