Your current reverse logistics process is going pretty well, isn’t it?
If you can’t say one way or the other, it’s definitely time to re-evaluate how your returns management system is working. Whether you are or you work with service companies that are constantly replacing parts in the field or eCommerce merchants that experience the normally high returns in their sector, it’s vital to keep revisiting that reverse logistics process until it’s a fine-tuned machine.
Three Ways to Evaluate Your Processes
Because the ever-evolving supply chain is a complicated beast, there are a lot of moving parts you need to track.
They also give you multiple touch points from which to evaluate how the process you’ve established is going. If it’s not doing all it can, these are places where you can also make changes that may have dramatic results.
Try these ways to figure out how well your reverse logistics process is performing:
- Check the first time fix rate of your techs. If your company does repair work or supports a company that does, there’s probably a lot of part swapping going on.
Checking your first-time fix rate can help ensure that not only are your techs well-qualified for the work they’re doing, but that your customers are inconvenienced as little as possible. An additional check that the parts you send out match the parts that are coming back helps you know if there’s an even balance of power between your warehouse and the techs in the field.
- Use configured workflows. Is your reverse supply chain a rat’s nest of customers, chat bots, digital portals, social media, human customer service agents and, of course, customers?
When your customer’s returned goods Order A, Order B and Order C all need to go to different warehouses or service centers before they can be moved into the forward supply chain, it gets complicated. Configured workflows both help you get the items where they should go and reports on how well you’re actually accomplishing that feat.
- Look at the data. There’s not a reverse logistics problem that data can’t solve.
Whether you feel like your returns management team could be getting products back onto the real or virtual sales floor faster or you really want to figure out how to streamline the sorting process, your data will tell you what you need to know if you can figure out how to read it. Track everything you can, then make small adjustments and see how that alters the resulting figures. Bit by bit, you can tweak your way to success.
Any supply chain process should be a constantly evolving thing. You won’t get logistics just right the first time out of the gate, instead you should plan for regular checks and modifications. Of course, that all starts with knowing where to look!