The Infosys global supply chain management blog enables leaner supply chains through process and IT related interventions. Discuss the latest trends and solutions across the supply chain management landscape.

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Developing a Multichannel Reverse Logistics Solution - 2

In my last post I touched upon the key aspect of developing Return Channel strategy. That is easier said than done and needs extensive data analysis. This brings us to another key step in developing an effective reverse logistics solution: Analyze and Avoid.

One assertion almost everyone seems to agree with is that avoiding a return costs less than processing the return. There are many industry terms associated but the favorite I have come across is Gate keeping. Key factor in successful gate keeping of unwanted or fraudulent returns is a centralized access to the OEM policies and product purchase history. Accurate gate keeping does not mean having strict return policies, however means ensuring that genuine returns meriting attention are addressed immediately at the earliest interaction point and the returned merchandise moves swiftly through the disposition channel.
However the use of returns data does not stop here. Understand which products are returned the most and for what reasons. Key aid to that is developing and enforcing a standardized return reason and disposition mechanism. Increasing the granularity of Return Reason codes might add to a CSR's cognitive load during Return request capture, but correct categorization goes a long way in minimizing costs. Data built over time can be used to build analytics to track the percentage of returns by product SKU sales and by reason. Once the products with the highest return rates have been identified and the reasons for the returns, various strategies can be employed to reduce or eliminate those rates.
In my next few posts, I will share my thoughts on how to develop strategies for a collaborative reverse logistics process with channel partners and fulfillment partners. Meanwhile, I look forward to your experiences and thoughts on Reverse Logistics.

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