Implementing Effective Returns Management

Managing returns effectively is an integral part of a comprehensive supply chain strategy. With the power to improve profitability, customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency, having a comprehensive returns management strategy can make all the difference.

What is Returns Management?

In distribution, returns management refers to the processes associated with returns and reverse logistics. Primarily relevant in retail, e-commerce, and other customer-facing industries, the returns management process encompasses activities associated with fulfilling customer requests to return or exchange a product. This includes collecting, organizing, and restocking returned or exchanged inventory. The returns management process is intersectional, involving facets of customer service, logistics, and inventory management.  Reverse Logistics refers to the process of receiving, inspecting, sorting, and delivering returned products to the proper distribution center, third-party management firm, or back to the manufacturer. It is an integral part of the returns management process.

By implementing an effective returns management process, organizations can track and fulfill return requests, decrease unwanted returns, and put highly sought-after items back into inventory for resale once inspected. By accurately scrutinizing and sorting returned products, businesses can dramatically reduce losses by reusing undamaged returned items to replenish inventory. The SSI Carrier enables an easy sortation solution for this type of management. 

Although returns handling is commonly regarded as an inconvenience for both customers and businesses, the process can be improved and streamlined with the help of warehouse automation equipment and software. E-commerce sales continue to grow rapidly, resulting in both higher return rates and customer expectations. To stay competitive, businesses must implement and optimize effective returns management processes.