Inbound Logistics | March 2022


What’s your best reverse logistics tip?

SHARE THE COST WITH COMMERCIAL COUNTERPARTS and invest in online merchandising. Measure the reduction in returns that comes from better product descriptions and photos, customer reviews and ratings, and demo videos. —Dustin Burke Global Co-Leader, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Boston Consulting Group IDENTIFY I O T AND TECHNOLOGY TO COLLECT ESSENTIAL DATA. Reverse logistics is essential to customer experience and to business success, involving repair, replacement, coordination between locations, information from service management and inventory systems. —Sarah Nicastro VP, Customer Advocacy, IFS Creator, Future of Field Service

PROVIDE LABELING AND PACKAGING that make it easy for the consumer. If goods can be quickly received and routed, then half the battle is over.

—John Wirthlin Industry Principal, Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics, Zebra


RATHER THAN DISMISSING RETURNS as a cost additive, investigate how you can reduce costs while getting the items that can be re-sold back into stock sooner for resale. Are there ways to increase throughput, while reducing touches, like managing staff based on throughput goals and incentive-based pay? —Harold Baro SVP and General Manager SIMOS Solutions - A TrueBlue Company

According to the National Retail Federation, the total rate of returns was 16.6% in 2021, up from 10.6% in 2020. The best way to reduce returns is to understand the total cost of your returns and to make sure your reverse supply chain is optimized along with the rest of your supply chain.

Prevention Prevails Avoid reverse logistics in the first place by having better upstream control. Ensure the right product and process quality control throughout the inbound flow, and you will take away key reasons for returning products. —Elger Postma Asia Commercial Head, APL Logistics

— John Haber President, Parcel Transportation Insight

INVEST IN PAINLESS RETURN SOLUTIONS. Retailers and brands should implement solutions like physical drop-off locations that make returns more convenient for customers, helping them to compete with major players like Amazon and Walmart. Brands should keep a pulse on challenges in their returns processes and correct them in order to acquire and retain customers. —Tierney Wilson SVP, Consulting and Client Services January Digital

Avoid it, at least where you can. Work to ensure that your customers are truly receiving what they want and that it will work for them. Whether it’s clothing that has a detailed size chart or technology that answers customers’ questions, make sure they are equipped with enough information so they’re certain they’re getting the right product.

—Nancy Korayim Founder and CEO, MetroSpeedy

10 Inbound Logistics • March 2022

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