There is something to be said for the peace and serenity of having a home off of the beaten path. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the stars are a little brighter and evenings a little quieter. Of course, the privacy that comes with this seclusion also comes with a long driveway. Whether it’s a steep, paved path down to your garage, or a long, winding trail that disappears behind the trees, it is generally easier to get to your destination than it is to return. The same is true for athletic apparel logistics.
The processes in place to get a product from the warehouse to the customer are very similar to driving your car to your house, very well-rehearsed and effective. However, just like driving in reverse up a 45 degree incline in the dark can be a difficult task, so is managing reverse logistics. Whether you’re negotiating bicycles, garage doors and the family dog or managing returns, refunds and in-transit inventory, streamlining reverse logistics can create key bottom line opportunities and advantages.
Shifting the thought process from simply managing returns to including reverse logistics as an aspect of your supply chain is a way to capitalize on the benefits of a lean fulfillment cycle. Here are few things to focus on to enhance your reverse logistics process:
Mitigate the Chaos: The unpredictable volume and timing of returns makes it difficult to forecast. With technology and operations in place to account for these items and return them to the supply chain, the quicker they can generate revenue as intended. In a story done by the Wall Street Journal, UPS expects a 15% increase in returns this year, showing that this is a sizeable opportunity, or threat, to your margins.
Prioritize: While resources are aimed at cost effectively meeting consumer demands, and rightfully so, it is important to prioritize returned inventory in the grand scheme of your fulfillment operation. Much of the difficulty of reverse logistics stems from the lack of a timeline or plan for merchandise moving back upstream. Placing an onus on these endeavors can keep your returns from cannibalizing the strides you’ve made in your forward logistics planning.
Make it a revenue stream: With focus on cost savings in this competitive sector, lean fulfillment plans are working at a greater efficiency than ever before, in an attempt to satisfy consumer demands. With very little left to trim from a traditional logistics standpoint, return management is one arena where dramatic savings can be realized. Instead of this being an element of your supply chain that easily becomes expensive and easy to mismanage, it can create enormous savings.
There is no denying that the changing landscape of consumer demands is spurring a spike in merchandise returns. Instead of allowing this cost to cut further into your revenue, managing the reverse logistics element of your supply chain can become a competitive differentiator. Barrett Distribution Centers specializes in forward and reverse logistics and can provide the resources and expertise your company needs to realize these savings.