Improving reverse logistics strategy

Getting to know your customers is key to keeping the retail supply chain tight, say industry experts. That entails tactical and strategic reverse logistics planning designed for long-term relationships and sustainable revenue generation.

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One of the basic tenets of the Boy Scout code is to “leave no trace” when vacating a campsite. The same rule applies to proper supply chain management, according to some former scouts now serving as prominent reverse logistics practitioners.

“We owe it to our community and future generations,” says Gary Cullen, chief operating officer of 4PRL, the reverse logistics operation of The Georgetowne Group, a consultancy based in Clarksville, Md. “Consumer buying patterns in the past were more conservative and therefore pushed product obsolescence to a larger window—three to five years for a television, for example,” he adds.

“The secondary markets are effective in diverting a large number of products from landfill and creating numerous jobs.”

“But now, consumers want the newest television set on the market. One year it’s the flat screen, the next it’s got to be 3D.” And just as “secondary markets” exist in the financial world to offer investment alternatives, a similar convention helps manufacturers repurpose their supply chains.

“There are new revenue streams to be explored,” says Dale Rogers, the incoming director for Supply Chain Management at Rutgers University. “The secondary markets are effective in diverting a large number of products from landfill and creating numerous jobs.”

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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