Returns management can be defined as the management that invites the merger of challenges and opportunities for inbound logistics. A cost-effective reverse logistics program links the available supply of returns with the product information and demand for repairable items or re-captured materials. We have three pillars that support returns management processes. These are as follows:
• Speed: It is a must to have quick and easy returns management and automate decisions regarding whether to produce return material authorizations (RMAs) and if so, how to process them. Basically, the tools of speed return processing include automated workflows, labels & attachments and user profiles.
• Visibility: For improving the visibility and predictability, information needs to be captured initially in the process, ideally prior to delivering the return to the receiving dock. Most effective and easily implementable approaches for obtaining visibility are web-based portals, carrier integration and bar-coded identifiers.
• Control: In the case of returns management, synchronising material movements is a common issue that needs to be handled. The producers need to be very cautious and pay close attention to receipts and reconciliation and update the stakeholders of impending quality issues. In this case, reconciliation activates visibility and control all over the enterprise. The key control points in this process are regulatory compliance, reconciliation and final disposition and quality assurance.
Software solutions can assist in speeding up the returns management by supporting user profiles and workflows that state supply chain partners and processes, by labeling and documentation that tracks the material along with the web-based portals and by exception-based reporting to deliver information for timely reconciliation. These characteristics, when executed with the three pillars mentioned above, support a reliable and predictable returns process to count value across the company.