As customers continue to shop online through the remainder of the year, the demand on reverse logistics—particularly the process of managing returns—will skyrocket. It’s the same story; customers want more and more. And, it’s time for businesses to really consider the facts. “The global reverse logistics market is forecast to hit US$603.90 billion by 2025, and businesses can save millions of dollars if reverse logistics management is implemented and done properly. With the expansion of the e-commerce industry emerging in parallel with the closure of many brick-and-mortar stores, retailers can expect to see a hike in return goods once the reopening of the sector begins,” reports Tech HQ. Clearly, more companies need to go back to basics and ask what is reverse logistics’ role in the top trends of the supply chain?
The Supply Chain Trends to Know in 2020
Real-Time Analytics Will Help to Better Answer, What Is Reverse Logistics’ Value
every supply-chain executive has been faced with the daunting question, “what is reverse logistics?” This question represents the culmination of years of efforts to unify supply chains and create positive customer experiences. As a result, it is causally related to the need for more technology to help understand and justify the cost of reverse logistics. Like any other supply chain process, being able to answer when someone asks, “what is reverse logistics” total cost,” is essential to maintaining business profitability. A key trend surrounding the need for more insight and know-how into supply chain functions and their costs involves real-time analytics. Real-time analytics allow organizations to make decisions on the go and overcome obstacles before they represent and cause a supply chain disruption.
More Automated Returns Processes Will Reduce Strain on Resources
Automation within the supply chain is a significant opportunity to streamline returns management processes and better understand what is reverse logistics’ top priority and what needs to happen to deliver on the best customer experience promise. Automated returns processes reduce redundant process inefficiencies. Automation can be applied to virtually any task, not just physical, laborious activities. Automation within supply chain systems, including a transportation management system (TMS), can eliminate the risk of fraudulent returns. Meanwhile, automated packaging and labeling facilities could be used to prepare returned products for resell, reuse, or recycling. Clearly, automation will be a dominating trend as more organizations look to squeeze greater efficiency from returns management processes.
Self-Optimizing Systems Will Reduce Cost of Assessing and Repackaging Returns
Automation has a direct relationship with self-optimizing systems. Self-optimizing systems rely on a set of circumstances, otherwise known as rule sets, that consider multiple influences and adjust to system settings and configurations as needed. In the reverse logistics supply chain, self-optimizing systems might include continuous transportation route optimization and automated alerts. Regardless, this trend goes together with the increased use and implementation of automated systems.
Machine Learning Will Further Refine Reverse Logistics Planning
Machine learning is another innovative trend helping to redefine what is reverse logistics’ role in value in the supply chain. Machine learning looks beyond the raw data and those compiled by analytics to create projected, likely savings and opportunities for improvement based on benchmarking, external resources, and historic data. This is essential as even improvements within the reverse logistics supply chain do not always pay off to the tune of their expected savings. Yes, improvements within the supply chain can have a positive ROI, but the only way to ensure an organization understands actual savings versus projected savings lies in letting machine learning delve further into the information and consider everything.
A Higher-Than-Average Year of Returns Will Necessitate More Focus on Reverse Logistics
The remainder of 2020 is on track to break all previous records for e-commerce returns. This is due to both an uncertainty surrounding the economy and possible unnecessary purchases made considering the pandemic. In recent months, major retailers, including Walmart and Amazon, have scaled-back returns policies to promote safety and help discourage hoarding behaviors. In turn, more organizations are faced with challenges in finding ways to justify the needs of reverse logistics and adjust operations to meet applicable regulations, such as government-backed rules that prevent the return of personal or hygiene products. Obviously, those haven’t yet happened. But, they could.
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Know How to Align Your Brand With the Top Trends Driving Reverse Logistics Management
It’s time to ensure your brand lives up to its reputation by focusing on reverse logistics management. Don’t get bogged down in the details; consider outsourcing reverse logistics. If that’s not possible, start thinking about how you can deploy technology to better manage reverse logistics in the future. Instead of trying to think of a fast comeback when someone asks, “what is reverse logistics and what can businesses do to improve them,” know by aligning your brand with these top trends in reverse logistics.