In an ideal scenario, retailers and manufacturers would only experience the outbound pathway of a product. In the real world, the inbound pathway is a major component of business, and optimizing your reverse logistics pathways can result in massive resource savings.
Environmental awareness is nothing new for the manufacturing industry: factories are notoriously seen as polluters, and even the most conscious manufacturing processes consume resources. In the past, environmentally-conscious procedures were taken on as a burden – resulting either from external motivation (requirements imposed by new regulations) or internal ones (feeling a sense of obligation to helping, or at least not hurting, the environment). “Greening” was cost-prohibitive, and often didn’t provide much benefit from a productivity standpoint…until now.
The tides have changed. Currently, “going green” has just as many internal, operational benefits as it does external, societal ones. In fact, it is no longer seen as a burden, but instead as a potential competitive advantage. Green processes that were once exorbitantly cost-prohibitive to implement are now cost-effective, and their benefits are far-reaching. An improved community standing is an intangible result, but the money you’ll save and productivity you’ll reap are very real indeed.
This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned how the reverse logistics pathway is one that’s ripe for optimization. But sometimes, the route to optimizing can be difficult to choose. Which processes will you focus on? What is the most lucrative change you can make? How much will it cost to implement X, and how much will it save you – and how long will it take for those savings to come in? Which of your most-used processes is contributing least to your productivity?
Market research is still key in making those decisions. Clear, accurate, and relevant data is and always will be critical for making the right choices. But the choices are still abundant, and still difficult to select. If you narrow your sights by deciding to focus on “greening” your processes, you make the specific pathways easier to choose.
The design and operation of supply chains has traditionally been based on economic impact: what will cost the least to operate and cause the most profitability? Even technological advances take a back seat, because their expense is often outweighed, at least in the short term, by the money they’ll save. But environmentally conscious procedures are different. Implementing green practices in your supply chain can improve the quality and reliability of products, improve your operational productivity, cut costs via energy efficiency, and improve the overall performance of your products. Clearly, this offers rippling effects like less returns, easier fault diagnosis of those returns, and major cost savings down the line.
Manufacturing and transport are the biggest contributors to waste, pollution, ecological disruption, and depletion of resources. This means it’s the perfect focus for sustainability. With such great opportunities for improvement, choosing the “greenification” of your reverse logistics pathway could give you a huge competitive advantage – economically and socially – and help to improve your standing for the long term.
To learn more about optimizing your reverse logistics pathway, visit Blumberg Advisory Group. With years of experience working with OEMs, retailers, 3PSPs and more, Michael Blumberg is your best choice for comprehensive analysis and a strategic solution.