Reverse Logistics

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Reverse logistics stands for all operations related to the reuse of products and materials. It is "the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost effective flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value or proper disposal. More precisely, reverse logistics is the process of moving goods from their typical final destination for the purpose of capturing value, or proper disposal. Remanufacturing and refurbishing activities also may be included in the definition of reverse logistics." The reverse logistics process includes the management and the sale of surplus as well as returned equipment and machines from the hardware leasing business. Normally, logistics deal with events that bring the product towards the customer. In the case of reverse logistics, the resource goes at least one step back in the supply chain. For instance, goods move from the customer to the distributor or to the manufacturer. Let’s look at an example; a manufacturer produces product A which moves through the supply chain network reaching the distributor or customer. Any process or management after the sale of product A involves Reverse Logistics. If product A happened to be defective the customer would return the product. The manufacturing firm would then have to organise shipping of the defective product, testing the product, dismantling, repairing, recycling or disposing the product. Product A will travel in reverse through the supply chain network in order to retain any use from the defective product. This is what reverse logistics is about.

Business implications
In today's marketplace, many retailers treat merchandise returns as individual, disjointed transactions. "The challenge for retailers and vendors is to process returns at a proficiency level that allows quick, efficient and cost-effective collection and return of merchandise....
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