3 Ways to Manage Reverse Logistics In the Age of Returns

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E-commerce has been a booming industry for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic is greatly accelerating its growth. With limited access to brick-and-mortar stores and physical movements, more and more products are being ordered online. The increased digital demand is forcing severe overproduction across many sectors of the economy causing ongoing issues for retailers processing returns. In the industry, it’s known as reverse logistics, a process often dismissed by businesses. However, today the issue of returns and reverse logistics is growing exponentially. It went so far that about 400 million square feet of older capacity will become available to process explicitly returns by 2025.

The global reverse logistics market is expected to reach $604 billion in the next 5 years according to Tech HQ. Additionally, there is an increase in planned reverse logistics, as sustainability becomes more critical to businesses around the world. Many supply chains, especially in the textile and apparel industries, are changing their business models from linear to circular by including upcycling as a necessary step in a supply chain.

3 ways to better manage reverse logistics

Extract the insights

Reverse logistics is a sensitive issue for everyone involved. In particular, the returns experience directly impacts your customers’ impression of your business and service. You should thoroughly analyze reverse logistics patterns that are currently taking place across your supply chain before defining the next steps in upgrading your strategy. Look at historical data to help you understand the dynamics of returns in your business and extract valuable insights. These insights will guide you as you optimize your reverse logistics process.

Use sophisticated technology

It is impossible to see and interpret supply chain information in a beneficial way if you don’t have enough visibility of operations, shipments, and transactions. Visibility is a critical component of successful supply chain management regardless of whether it is a small retailer or a massive enterprise. Using sophisticated technology, like our proprietary TMS, is essential to centralize data and tap into hidden opportunities. Integrating a TMS system into your management style will give you the easy access to the information you need to optimize your supply chain.

Upgrade your returns process

Once you have a clear vision of particular issues in your reverse logistics process, you can determine the next steps and start implementing the new strategy. It can be better load planning, route optimization, extending returns time slot, or expanding your customer support department depending on the company. Only through data analytics and consistency, it is possible to handle reverse logistics at scale. PLS leverages its sophisticated TMS to help you combat your supply chain visibility challenges. Learn more about our platform!

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