In part one of this blog post we covered the first three steps in a reverse logistics process: product retrieval, shipping, and screening. Once you get these three steps out of the way, the next steps determine what you are going to do with the product that was returned.
Step 4: Repairs, Warranties, or Exchanges
For items that require repair, a warranty claim, or an exchange, the most important thing is sharing information gathered from the previous steps of the returns process (the RMA from the customer, inspection from a screener) with the warranty or repairs department. Transparency and visibility into the process can significantly cut down on wasted time or redundant work. Without the right software, warranty or repair staff may spend a lot of time chasing down information about the customer, the order, or the product that could easily be shared from the RMA and the inspections or intake process that is already happening.
Step 5: Processing
Some products won’t require repair, and instead will just need to be processed for resale or disposal. This step is often one of the most critical, because delays in processing a return can delay customer refunds or credits (leading to unhappy customers), but could also impact your ability to resell a product. Getting it back on the shelf quickly if it can be resold, selling it at a discount, or sending it back to the vendor for a refund (in the case of defective products) helps your bottom line. For seasonal items, this is particularly important because you will need to get them back up for sale before the season is over.
Step 6: Discarding
The final step is discarding products that cannot be resold. This could mean recycling it, if possible, selling it on a secondary market to another company that wants to repair or reuse it, or throwing it away (hopefully as a last resort). Streamlining this process ensures that you don’t have a lot of old or damaged products taking up space in your warehouse, which can be costly if you’re paying for more storage space than you need, or more staff to tend to items that could be discarded.
Finding what’s broken in your reverse logistics process, and being able to fix it, requires good information and visibility into the entire process from start to finish. The right reverse logistics software can help you visualize your process, identify gaps or potential areas to make changes, and take the right steps toward improvement. Find out how ReverseLogix platform can help you with this process.