In most industries “logistics” is important because it tracks and regulates the way a product or service goes from conception to the sale to a customer. Logistics involves many aspects of business, combining the efforts of different handfuls of people or teams into one streamlined process. Understanding logistics helps a company to develop an efficient method for delivering their goods to the consuming public as well as an effective strategy for maintaining consistency to keep up with demand.
What is Reverse Logistics?
Not quite as common, reverse logistics can also sometimes be necessary. If logistics is a term used to describe how a product goes from a manufacturer to the customer, then reverse logistics is a term which describes quite the opposite: Let’s take an example of Fueltransport.com, a collection of processes involved when moving a product from the consumer to a business or all the way back to the manufacturer.
Reverse Logistics involves:
- Customer support
- The Physical movement of goods
Customer support refers to any means by which a company can address the questions, concerns, needs of the customer. Often this takes the form of a call center or online chat but can also be handled through email, mobile app, and, of course, traditional snail mail. This initial communication is exceedingly important because most of the time, reverse logistics is the process by which you will handle customer complaints, problems, and product returns.
Physical Movement of Goods
Similarly, there are many ways that a company can handle and process the physical movement of goods from the consumer back to the origin. In a traditional retail format, the consumer could simply bring the product back to the original outlet. In the e-commerce model, this would involve the customer mailing the goods back to the retailer; this can involve intermediary steps like the business sending a return shipping label to the customer.
Physical goods that are being returned to the manufacturer will need to be stored for tagging and tracking purposes. Warehousing, then, is important for keeping these products safe from damage, weather, theft, and other potential issues as they are processed before returning to their origin.
Many goods also need to be sorted according to their condition/quality. This aspect of the process is important as it ensures the appropriate products are repaired and returned while others are labeled as defective and scrapped or sold.
Finally, this step in the reverse logistics process sees that those products which need repair receive the appropriate attention.