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Profiting from Reverse Logistics Automation: Results of 2013 Benchmark Survey

The results of our survey indicate that companies are viewing reverse logistics more strategically than ever before. This is due in part to the fact that the global economy is putting pressures on companies to find new sources of profitable revenue. By Michael R. Blumberg, CMC

October 1, 2013

Background
Reverse logistics supply chains possess some very unique characteristics, which underscore the need for sophisticated, end-to-end reverse logistics management solutions (RLMS).

To better understand how RLMS helps automate and enhance reverse logistics processes, Blumberg Advisory Group conducted a survey on automation within the reverse logistics marketplace.

In the following pages, we discuss issues that affect many enterprises engaged in reverse logistics and the impact reverse logistics management systems have on the organization.

These characteristics include:

  • Uncertainty of supply; usually people do not know when an item will be coming back, nor do they know its condition
  • Customer specific; the return flow is quite diverse and depends on the end-user or customer, requiring companies to have to really know their customers
  • Timing; the need to process assets as quickly as possible to make them available for reuse
  • Value improving; the need to maximize value (scrap, resale, etc.) of unacceptable assets being returned
  • Flexibility; the need to maintain flexible capacity (i.e., facility, processing and transportation) to achieve goals for returned materials
  • Multi-party coordination; in any aspect of reverse logistics—whether it be source reduction, recycling, substitution, or disposal—several parties are typically involved

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