Reverse logistics is fast becoming the hottest trend in the business world. The popularity of the field is reflected in the fact that universities have picked up on it. Undergraduate and graduate programs are available at the American Military University and the affiliated American Public University. University programs in logistics place a special emphasis on this new aspect—and with good reason.
A History of Excellence
The concept grew out of the military science of logistics, which refers to the efficient delivery of supplies. The reverse side of the process concerns the non-wasteful disposal of goods after they have been purchased. It benefits both the economy and the environment.
The term “reverse logistics” is relatively new. The Reverse Logistics Association was founded in 2002 when studies revealed that a major part of the retail economy (over $750 billion dollars yearly) was being spent on handling goods returned after purchase. The association is dedicated to providing a platform for developing and sharing best practices and developing the knowledge base in the field.
A Boon to Business
Large scale retail businesses, especially those which operate at low profit margins, are the driving force behind the trend. Studies have shown that four to six percent of retail purchases are returned, costing the industry about forty billion dollars a year in direct sales profits. New methodologies in the field are designed to retain as much of that value as possible.
Efficient handling of returns has always been seen as an important way of retaining customers and improving customer satisfaction with a direct impact on sales. This means new focus on improvements in the way the returns are processed and the eventual disposition of returns.
Large retailers now have the power to exert influence on manufacturers to accept returned merchandise. Manufacturers have developed strategies to re-manufacture or repair defects in their products for re-sale.
What’s Old Is New Again
Retailers have also developed the practice of selling returns to brokers or similar third party agents to retain some of the value. Many retail businesses are also improving their warehouse procedures to include reverse logistics practices to incorporate processing, repair and replacement of returns.
The science is still developing. Expert reverse logistics companies can provide necessary software and training to significantly reduce loss and risk.
Sourcely Empowers Small Business
Sourcely offers consumers and small businesses an ingenious strategy to increase profits. Sourcely helps small businesses establish themselves as centers to buy back consumer goods or electronics that would otherwise be returned or discarded. When the small business client ships the items they buy back to Sourcely they are reimbursed their costs plus a commission. Sourcely makes it easy to reap the benefits of this revolutionary new way of doing business—and we’re fast too. A small business can expect a reimbursement payment within 72 hours.