Managing returns poses a host of known problems for companies in virtually every product sector. Without appropriate management structures in place, this aspect of the reverse business cycle can unnecessarily tax both human and financial resources. Let unchecked, it can significantly reduce profitability. When taken too far the other direction – in the form of overly restrictive returns policies – it can cost you sales and customers.
By introducing a gatekeeping phase into your reverse logistics, you can address potential abuses without having to alienate prospects and customers who rely on their ability to return a purchase, if necessary.
What Is Reverse Logistics Gatekeeping?
Think of a logistics gatekeeper as being a little like a bridge troll. “None shall pass,” unless of course they can correctly answer the troll’s three riddles.
For example, the first riddle might be, “Who is requesting a return and why?” The set of possible options may depend on your business model but, let’s say you only accept returns from the original purchaser in the case of a product defect. If the person requesting a return authorization fits those criteria, the process moves forward.
At the next phase of the process, the gatekeeper – returned product in hand – might evaluate the item and determine if it does indeed have a manufacturing defect. If so, the gatekeeper gives the go-ahead to send a replacement product or issue a refund to the customer, depending on your policies.
Other decisions might involve what to do with the returned item (repair, refurbishment, disposal, etc.) and what to do if the returned product did not have a manufacturing defect (i.e., the item was damaged by the customer, shipper, etc.)
Do You Need a Gatekeeper for Your Return Business?
If you are currently handling some or all of these processes manually, it’s time to consider implementing a technology solution to automate as much of your returns process flow as possible.
You can also use gatekeeping protocols to handle other aspects of your return business.
For example, if you distribute for multiple manufacturers, you can incorporate returns, repairs and replacements of those products into you automated processes. Depending on what you do with returns, you can leverage an automated gatekeeping solution to handle getting products back into a secondary sales stream, to a recycling center or designate them for proper disposal.
Finding an Appropriate Gatekeeping Solution
Choosing a comprehensive reverse logistics technology platform is the easiest and most cost-effective way to introduce a gatekeeper into your reverse business cycle.
By automating as much of the screening and decision-making processes as possible, you can reduce the strain on your company’s resources. You can provide answers and updates more efficiently for your customer, suppliers and partners, improving the experience for internal and external customers and other stakeholders.
More importantly, you can recover as much value as possible from the returns cycle, protecting your company’s bottom line.
The reverse logistics software solution from ReverseLogix may be just the answer you’re looking for. Our industry leading SaaS platform allows you to centralize returns management and implement the gatekeeping solutions you need.