Supply Chain Management Blog
Smartphones are always a big-ticket item, especially around the holidays. As such, carriers need to make sure they have a strong supply chain in place to meet demand and accurately forecast for high peak seasons. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
With the summer behind us and the holiday season quickly coming up, companies are ramping up both their in-store and e-commerce operations, hiring workers and making sure everything’s set for the oncoming rush. One area that is often overlooked – but shouldn’t be – is the returns process. With research pointing towards some 30 percent of goods purchased online being returned, the importance of correctly managing this process cannot be overstated.
The retail game can be a tricky business. Customers are fickle and – put simply – there’s a lot that can go wrong during the processes involved with making, shipping, packaging and selling your product.
Whether it’s a faulty minor component that renders an electronic device useless, shoddy stitching in an item of clothing, or even damaged products or packaging resulting from the journey from warehouse to store shelf, there are a million different things that can go wrong and lead to justified product returns.
Thanks to a large boost in e-commerce in recent years, retailers are seeing huge increases in sales across the board. Now that consumers can complete purchases from the comfort of their handheld devices, retailers are working overtime to keep their distribution centers stocked and products in motion, making an efficient supply chain solution more essential now than ever before.
Appliances – whether they are big or small – have always presented a certain amount of challenges when it comes to handling their supply chain operations. As they vary in size and components, strict processes need to be implemented when it comes to the assembly, shipping and potential disassembly of these beloved household goods in the warehouse.
Companies spend any amount of dollars necessary – on everything from research & development, to product assembly, to packaging and shipping – in order to get a new product out and ready for its consumers, regardless of whether it’s being sold via brick and mortar, e-commerce or both. While a company’s forward logistics operations may be robust and full of detail when it comes to getting a new product into a customer’s hands, it does not necessarily mean that their reverse logistics practices are as thoroughly developed.
Who’s up for a little experiment? Ask ten people in your life to describe the sales lifecycle, and see what they say. If they’re anything like folks I’ve asked in the past, the answer will be some version of “a company makes a product, gets it to the point of sale, and the consumer swipes their card or clicks to confirm the purchase.” Ask them if they’re sure that’s where the cycle ends – and a few of them may take a second and then remember the delivery component for online purchases. But chances are, none of the ten will take it beyond that. The perception is that the sale ends when product is in hand, and the payment has been processed.
It is no secret that e-commerce sales are currently booming at an unprecedented rate. As companies around the world look into new, technologically advanced solutions to bring their fulfillment processes up to speed with the competition and same-day delivery increasingly becomes the industry standard, businesses need to get smart about all the moving parts of their supply chain operations – returns included.
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