Moving Forwards with Reverse Logistics for Consumer Electronics

Posted by Duncan Butler - General Manager on 03-Feb-2017 12:24:26
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Yusen’s reverse logistics helps you recover costs with robust repair and refurbishment services.

In the Consumer Electronics industry, if you don’t move rapidly to keep up with demand you simply can’t compete. The ‘latest’ smart phone or tablet keeps its title only for a short while before we’re wowed by the next edition. However, there’s not just pressure on consumer electronics companies to get a product out of the door, but also in how its dealt with if it ends up back in the supply chain.

 According to research conducted by Invesp, if we look only at online sales, at least 30% of all eCommerce purchases were returned in 2016.


As such, a robust returns process needs to be in place to ensure that your total supply chain is as cost-effective as possible. While point of sale education needs to steadily improve to manage the volume of returns, only a collaboration of services with a robust reverse logistics operation can help maintain the fluidity of your supply chain – and mitigate negativity towards your customer service.

Whether your operation is managed in house or via your 3PL partner it is possible to maximise cost recovery, protect customer relations and work responsibly with smart reverse logistics processes.


  1. Recover costs with Repair and Refurbishment Services

Steve Koenig’s ‘Inside the Minds of the Consumer’ keynote speech for the Reverse Logistics Association found that only 50% of the 55+ age group find their consumer electronics devices easy or very easy to use. Consequently, a large proportion are mistakenly returned as faulty. 

In the process, profitable products lose value with high volumes of returns draining your bottom line. As such, your repair and refurbishment services are fundamental in recapturing or creating value or for proper disposal.                

Like upstream flows, collaboration from all departments is required to optimise the reverse logistics chain as well as reverse chain partners. Returns are sorted by trained technicians to identify goods that are either fully functioning - to be returned to the consumer - or that can be repaired, reused and repacked. The latter can then be sold to a secondary market to recover maximum value. Plus, you’ll often find that thinking globally and introducing the product into another country’s market could regain revenue.                    

Choosing a 3PL partner with the in-house expertise and existing infrastructure to repair and refurbish will alleviate your logistics complexity and recover costs.


  1. Protect Customer Relations during Recalls

High profile technology recalls have been hitting the headlines recently. In every case, if your logistics aren’t handled properly – causing delays, disorder and ultimately distrust – you can permanently damage your brand equity.

In such a fast-paced market with high volume peaks, protecting your customer relations is vital for consumer electronics companies. This can be achieved with rigorous inventory management procedures, warehousing and distribution practices, and RFID technology.

A 3PL partner who uses real-time data for supply chain management will have slick and responsive recalls processes. RFID serialisation is not only helpful for streamlining warehouse touchpoints, but also helps effectively track products throughout the supply chain enabling you to quickly identify where faulty products need to be retrieved from.

The following short video shows process efficiencies that can be achieved when using RFID scanning to replace traditional laser scanning activities with operations.

Within the video a direct comparison is made of laser scanning and RFID scanning.



  1. Work Responsibly with Recycling and Green Practices

Whether through returns or recalls, comprehensive recycling practices are key for responsible supply chain management. A zero-landfill policy can help counter adverse environmental effects from electronics device waste.

Moreover, there are tangible cost benefits from ensuring your supply chain is as green as possible. Landfill Tax, for example, can be reduced if you prove that you are disposing of plastic packaging responsibly.

In addition, if a device is irreparable, reclaiming recyclable parts and precious metals can help improve your bottom line.  Your 3PL partner will need an infrastructure in place to do this, as well as trained technicians in-house to assess and handle goods. 

A 3PL partner who can provide a comprehensive reverse logistics package for consumer electronics will put you in good stead to move forwards – even if your product finds its way back.

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Topics: Warehousing and Distribution, RFID, Zero-landfill Policy, Reclaiming Recyclable Parts, Cost-effective Logistics, Technology Industry, Consumer Electronics, Reverse Logistics, Repairs and Refurbishment, Recall Management

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