Technology and your company’s overall visibility, velocity, and agility within the supply chain are paramount in today’s omni-channel challenges. There are myriad things to focus on each day, but your boss will expect you to report on three priorities at a moment’s notice: the company’s returns strategy to control costs, efficiencies, and the return on investment (ROI) for the returned and unwanted merchandise.
According to a recent white paper authored by Sedlak Management Consultants, supply chain executives are paying attention to returns and how they are managed, tracked and resold to maximize ROI. These are the three key areas where your boss wants management to excel and to receive detailed reports quickly and with complete accuracy.
In order to gain your market share, your top priority needs to include the omni-returns experience. It is proven that a poor return experience for your customers will decrease your sales, but a positive experience will make the customer return, building loyalty and repeat sales.
According to SupplyChainBrain, product returns for B2C industries are projected to reach $460 billion by 2017, outpacing projected ecommerce sales by $20 billion. To manage this well, it requires strategic planning to maintain your profitability. To gain efficiency, your plan may require hiring a qualified 3PL provider to oversee your returns strategy, provide a seamless returns process for the consumer, and provide experienced management to decrease the cost of returns for your company.
The 3 IMPORTANT Things TO Know and Why
- Inventory Management is Efficient: Reporting and analytics are vital tools in managing your inventory and the direction your business is heading. Your boss wants to see hard evidence that inventory management is operating efficiently and things are moving seamlessly through the supply chain. Your boss is seeking detailed insight that will help the company evolve to meet the sales demands of tomorrow, and to leverage its place in the marketplace today, in order to remain competitive. Top-of-the-line reporting and analytics hold the key to evaluating the effectiveness of your sales strategy, provide fool-proof evidence that you are in compliance with any environmental and government regulations, and offer easy tracking of inventory. The right third-party logistics service provider can help create a customized plan to manage your supply chain efficiently, smoothly, and in a way that maximizes your ROI.
- Inventory Tracking is Detailed and Accurate: According to an Entrepreneur report, many companies realize a profitability increase of 20 to 50 percent or more when they implement a careful inventory management system. As inventory makes its way through your supply chain, it is vital to be able to pinpoint its location at any given moment. Your tracking and analytics system should have the capability to easily locate any piece of inventory without stress or hesitation. The system you have in place should be able to support the monumental responsibility of managing the flow of product as it moves through the reverse supply chain with a focus on data metrics — from product receipt to final disposition.Most companies do not create and implement a successful plan and system without some expert assistance. According to an MIT Sloan report, there are so many moving parts to your inventory supply chain metrics that proper management requires the right software, a customized plan, and time to oversee its implementation. Your boss wants (and needs) this to be completely under control. With the right tracking program in place, you should be able to log into your system and quickly and accurately get access to status reports, including if the product was received, is being tested, has posted for sale, or is awaiting shipment. The challenges can be solved by partnering with a third-party provider, one who supplies you with advanced analytics and reporting software, completely tailored to your business requirements, and that provides a full structure of in-depth technical reports. The reports should encompass complete tested product inventory information, which includes: the quantity, condition, serial number, defect (if applicable), and included and/or missing accessories. Sales reports are also easily created so a vendor can view their return on investment.
- Maximum ROI is Secured by the Right Resale Channels: Your boss is looking for proof and assurance that a streamlined, successful omni-channel marketing and sale strategy is in place. He or she wants evidence that there is an evolving, comprehensive, Reverse Synergistics process, strategically designed to your business, to move that excess inventory to the correct secondary marketplaces, returning revenue to your bottom line.
Whether it is remarketing your product through an online marketplace like Amazon, or managing a large volume of returns expediently, the company requires customized solutions that will combine Lean quality control, data security, 4-point product evaluation, and smart merchandising to ensure a high recovery value while being environmentally responsible.
A recent study by Forrester Research, Inc. found that a big portion of the growth in U.S. e-commerce sales comes from online retailers improving their websites and customer service experience. If your company is challenged by this, a good 3PL provider will design a professional storefront with comprehensive branding, optimize SEO, integrate technologies and software to facilitate purchases, and offer fast, reliable customer service. Your company must tailor campaigns that will target multiple channels in order to remain fiercely competitive in this digital marketplace.
Essentially, your boss seeks ongoing proof that the company has a solid, efficient plan, designed specifically for its business, and can back-up successes or challenges with real, actionable data. Often, in-depth analytics, tracking, and detailed reports that keep the boss updated about every moving part within your supply chain is what is required to expand consumer markets, improve delivery times, and create more efficient inventory management.