Getting To Grips With Reverse Logistics

Anyone involved in courier work should be aware of the term ‘Reverse Logistics’. In our increasingly environmentally aware society, the importance of the concept is growing year by year. As we all know, usually the business of moving things is concerned with the events that take a product towards a consumer. This is known as Forward Logistics or the Forward Supply Chain. Reverse Logistics – otherwise known as Retrogistics or the Aftermarket Supply Chain– deals with what happens to a product after a sale.

Why Do People Care About Reverse Logistics?

People are concerned with what happens to a service or product after the point of sale for a number of reasons. The main aims are to save money and make the most of valuable resources by paying attention to what happens to a product once it has been sold. Therefore, both environmental campaigners and big businesses have a stake in this process.

What Processes Are Involved?

There are lots of processes involved in dealing with products post-sale. It is perhaps expected that this includes recycling, refurnishing and repair. However, Reverse Logistics can also include post-sale call centre support, courier work and warehousing.

The Specifics

You may not know it, but lots of courier work across the country is part of the Aftermarket Supply Chain. Transporting goods from their post-sale location so they can be recycled, refurbished, repaired or disposed of is all part of the process - as long as some value can be gained through these actions. When a company takes money from the Services Logistics Budget or the Warranty Reserve, Reverse Logistics is the cause.

When a faulty or broken product is returned to a company via a courier, work has to be done before it can be thrown away. Often the item is tested, pulled apart and repaired if viable. If not, then as much of the product as is feasible is recycled or reused. Though this all costs money, it means that the company – and the world – gets as much value out of the product as possible before it is discarded. This process may also happen with surplus stock that cannot be sold.

As more and more companies are being held accountable for their environmental impact, this area of the industry is becoming as large a part of the day-to-day running of businesses as the Forward Supply Chain. The phenomenon sees organisations becoming responsible for the recycling or reuse of materials and services, so we can get the most out of them before they are thrown away.

The Future

Like many areas of industry, this one is forever evolving. As new technology comes into being, the system can be made more and more efficient. However, advancements need to be made in many areas as the process includes all sectors of the industry, such as Human Resources, Operations, Legal Service, high tech industries, and, of course, courier work.

In a Nutshell

Reverse Logistics is the process by which a product or service travels backwards along the supply chain, so instead of reaching the customer, its final destination is the company from which it was bought.

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Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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