Last modified: March 18, 2015
While conventional logistics optimizes the flow of goods from producer to consumer, reverse logistics manages the processes for inverting that flow to deal with returned parts, materials and products from the consumer back to the producer. Most often, this includes warranty recovery, value recovery, repair, redistribution, product recalls, used parts and replacement materials for refurbishment, service or product contract returns, and end-of-life recycling.
With the purpose of optimizing supply chain efficiency and asset recovery rates, reverse logistics management has increasingly become a tool that positively impacts profitability as well as assisting an organization in meeting sustainability goals. With the growth of sustainability initiatives, more companies have adopted the use of recycled materials in production and have developed procedures for the responsible disposal of products that cannot be recycled or reused. For instance, a growing number of cell phone manufacturers have established procedures in place for consumers who wish to return an older model and ensure that the device is refurbished or recycled rather than dumped into the local landfill.
Thus, reverse logistics management has developed into a discipline that produces cost reductions, adds efficiencies and improves the consumer experience. Producers have discovered value within returned assets and the benefits of streamlining repair, return and product reallocation processes.
With the advent of sophisticated management systems, organizations have discovered the logic of prioritizing reverse logistics management, which has led to the development of advanced technology that supports the process. Much of this development derived from the electronics sector, in which product lifecycles are significantly shorter, global service networks are increasingly intricate, sustainability processes are mandated and consumer customization is becoming the norm.
However, for many organizations, the returns management process has remained a cost center with low visibility that contains products to be restocked, repaired, recycled, repackaged or disposed of appropriately. Conventional logistics service providers had very few alternatives for reversing the channel; however, as the technology has progressed, companies using robust, proficient reverse logistics management have benefited from:
Flash Global is at the forefront of global reverse logistics management services, especially in relation to emerging technology companies in the data center, network security, and telecom industries, and Flash’s proprietary web-based IT platform FlashTrac, integrates seamlessly with internal CRM or ERP systems in addition to external systems such as Oracle, SAP or Salesforce. Moreover, FlashTrac offers benefits such as:
In addition, Flash Global has introduced FlashView, a complementary technology to FlashTrac that enhances the management of shipments within the supply chain regardless of direction, forward or reverse.
Organizations that partner with a sophisticated third-party logistics service provider (3PL) benefit from greater controls over the entire supply chain resulting in improved inventory management, increased visibility, reduced costs and enhanced risk management. Specifically, the benefits of utilizing the expertise of a 3PL for reverse logistics management produces greater controls over inspecting, recovering, testing and disposing of returned products.
The nature of reverse logistics management includes higher uncertainty and threats than forward logistics. Companies find it difficult to predict which products may have higher than normal fail or return rates. In addition, products may come back in unrecoverable conditions. The complexity of the reverse system grows as manufacturers may have specific procedures for literally thousands of unique SKUs.
Thus, the Flash Global comprehensive program, which includes a holistic approach to all logistics procedures, offers a wide array of technical, operational and strategic capabilities such as:
Moreover, Flash Global’s integrated approach to logistics services includes proactive account management, local expertise in 80 countries, flexible design and trade management. In fact, Flash Global delivers consistency, predictability and transparency throughout the reverse supply chain through a combination of skilled talent, innovation, technology and a solutions-oriented methodology.
Increasingly, effectively managing the reverse supply chain brings about cost savings and greater asset recovery rates realized through the use of a robust logistics network. In today’s environment, maintaining the competitive edge includes partnering with a trusted 3PL to navigate the product life cycle from production to disposition. Flash Global’s proprietary modeling process enables real-world scenario planning based on individual needs, better positions a company for global expansion, increases operational efficiency, and allows a company to focus on its core business by partnering with a supply chain expert. From start-ups to established enterprises, Flash Global is dedicated to the continuous pursuit of quality improvements and client satisfaction.
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