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.
- Create clear understandable forms for you and your staff to use. Post returns policies in the frequently asked questions on your Website.
- Design your workstations with efficiency in mind including providing space for removal of returned corrugated and trash
- Provide adequate work and staging areas for returns
- Institute a simple three-part transaction process: Process the credit refunds, update the customer file and determine the product disposition
- Train your staff on handling returns. Provide an instruction manual if necessary for workers to become comfortable with the process.
- Make your company’s written policies and procedures for returns accessible to all personnel at all times
- 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.
- 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.
- Cross-dock returns whenever possible. If the returned item is on backorder, you can ship it to the waiting customer rather than restocking it
- Designate experienced personnel to make decisions on routing of returned merchandise; assign less experienced (and less costly) workers to repetitive keying and packaging functions.