More Glossary Terms

Reverse Logistics

What is reverse logistics? Reverse logistics is the management and movement of goods, materials, and products from their traditional endpoint in the supply chain to an earlier stage or point of origin.

A reverse logistics system design focuses on returning goods to recapture value, ensure proper disposal, or repurpose items for different uses.

What is Reverse Logistics?
Traditional logistics focuses on the flow of goods from a manufacturer, retailer, or distributor to the end consumer. Conversely, a reverse logistics system deals with the activities and processes after a product has reached the consumer, such as returns, recalls, repairs, and recycling.
Reverse logistics in supply chain plays an important role. How does reverse logistics work? Reverse logistics executes various operational processes like managing returns, buying surplus goods and materials, and dealing with leases and refurbishments. As businesses reduce waste, minimize costs, and enhance sustainability, reverse logistics has become essential to supply chain management.
The importance of reverse logistics has grown in recent years, especially with the rise of e-commerce and an increased emphasis on environmental responsibility.
Efficient reverse logistics management leads to cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, and a more sustainable business model.
Reverse Logistics System Development

Key steps in developing an efficient reverse logistics system focus on handling returns, sorting products, and minimizing waste while maximizing value recovery.

  • Process the Return: The return process starts when the consumer signals they want to return a product. This step includes return authorization, identifying the product’s condition, scheduling return shipments, approving refunds, and replacing faulty goods.
  • Deal with Returns: Inspect and categorize returned products at a centralized processing center, sorting them into disposition options such as fix, resell as new, resell as a return, recycle, scrap, or refurbish.
  • Keep Returns Moving: Reduce daily waste by sending repairable items to the repair department.
  • Repair: Review the returned item/equipment and move it to the repair area if possible. If not, sell any sellable parts.
  • Recycle: Send parts or products that cannot be fixed, reused, or resold to the recycling area.
What is Reverse Logistics’ Role in Different Industries?
  • Beverage industry: Reverse logistics involves empty tap containers, with companies aiming to recapture value by reusing them. This requires planning transportation, managing shipping loads, and cleaning the containers.
  • Construction industry: Reverse logistics moves and recycles salvaged materials to new sites, contributing to more sustainable practices and potential cost savings.
  • Food industry: Reverse logistics is responsible for returning packaging materials and pallets and managing rejected food shipments. The Reverse Logistics Association is developing secure, quick, reliable login (SQRL) codes on packaging to address logistical challenges.
Benefits and Value of A Well-Executed Reverse Logistics System
How reverse logistics can create value varies from financial and environmental to cultural benefits. Product data collected after delivery offers insights into the supply chain and opportunities for improvement. Better supply chain visibility leads to the following:
  • Cost reduction.
  • Greater customer satisfaction.
  • Better customer retention.
  • Faster and better service.
  • Loss reduction.
  • Improved brand sentiment.
  • Waste reduction and greater sustainability.
How MercuryGate Helps with Reverse Logistics
With e-commerce purchase return rates exceeding 20%, reverse logistics is increasingly vital to the customer experience. MercuryGate digitizes the process for shippers and logistics service providers. Integrated workflows within the TMS simplify and clarify reverse logistics for all parties.

How does MercuryGate TMS support effective Reverse Logistics?

Features of MercuryGate’s Reverse Logistics Software
These are some of the ways how reverse logistics can create value in your business:
  • Integration within the TMS: Integrated workflows via MercuryGate Claims eliminate delays in submitting, processing, and paying claims for reverse logistics needs.
  • More data provides insight into carrier performance: Collect and analyze reverse logistics data to better track and understand carrier performance.
  • More predictability in cash flow from returns payments: Advanced analytics allow shippers to view carrier return rates and monitor inbound inventory for optimal stock levels.
Get Reverse Logistics Management with MercuryGate TMS
An effective reverse logistics system helps businesses thrive in today’s competitive market. Answering “how does reverse logistics work?” in your business and optimizing your processes can unlock cost savings, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance sustainability.

MercuryGate TMS offers a comprehensive solution that streamlines your reverse logistics operations and supports businesses across all transportation modes. Learn more about how MercuryGate TMS supports your reverse logistics operations. See it live in a TMS technology demo.

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