10 Steps for Better Returns

Oct 10, 2007 9:25 PM  By

Whether a returned item was the wrong size or was defective, you need a set of procedures for handling the product once it arrives in your warehouse. Fulfillment pro Curt Barry has a simple 10-step reverse logistics strategy. These tips can help you refurbish returns and get them back on the shelf for sale.

  1. Create clear understandable forms for you and your staff to use. Post returns policies in the frequently asked questions on your Website.
  2. Design your workstations with efficiency in mind including providing space for removal of returned corrugated and trash
  3. Provide adequate work and staging areas for returns
  4. Institute a simple three-part transaction process: Process the credit refunds, update the customer file and determine the product disposition
  5. Train your staff on handling returns. Provide an instruction manual if necessary for workers to become comfortable with the process.
  6. Make your company’s written policies and procedures for returns accessible to all personnel at all times
  7. Use bar codes to identify product so that it can efficiently return to inventory or otherwise disposed of quickly and efficiently. Less keying means fewer errors.
  8. Define return-to-stock procedures and be sure they are carried out in eight-hour to 24-hour cycles. Make sure enough space is allocated for storage of product to be returned to stock.
  9. Cross-dock returns whenever possible. If the returned item is on backorder, you can ship it to the waiting customer rather than restocking it
  10. Designate experienced personnel to make decisions on routing of returned merchandise; assign less experienced (and less costly) workers to repetitive keying and packaging functions.

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