How to Implement a Return Process

Often called the Reverse Supply Chain, if you ship products, you can be sure you will have to deal with product returns as well.

According to the Reverse Logistics Association, “the volume of returns annually is estimated at six percent of $3.5 trillion total US annual retail sales.” UPS estimates that manufacturers spend 9 – 15 percent of their annual revenue on returns. Yikes!

Based on these costs, warehouse managers need to get a handle on the return process, which includes receiving the product, inspecting it for damage, crediting the customer and returning the product (if you can) to inventory. Besides worrying about customer dissatisfaction, crediting their order, making sure the product is not damaged, the faster you return the item to inventory, the better – because you can sell it to someone else.

UNEX Gravity Conveyor

If you have the right processes and technology in place within your return process, you can turn this into a competitive advantage. Appropriate WMS software can handle the paperwork of the return process, freeing the warehouse employee to focus on getting stock back into the sales channel. Saleable merchandise can be sorted on pallets in a putaway area, with pallets staged by destination zone. Once a pallet is full, it can be moved to the appropriate storage area.

For retailers, manufacturers and distributors, getting a returned product back into stock, without it being damaged (if it was being returned simply as an unwanted item) or going missing is the goal. By implementing best practices within returns management, distributors can:

  • Automate paperwork with technology
  • Reduce cycle time – product moves quickly through the reverse supply chain
  • Reduce inventory levels – returns are processed quickly so they can sell faster
  • Avoid congestion in receiving by quickly moving products to appropriate location

UNEX Manufacturing can calculate the resources and space requirements needed for a well-oiled return process. From shelving for staging to flow racks, UNEX has the equipment you need to speed inventory throughout the process – which means more bottom line revenues for your company.