Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Reverse logistics seen as value-added by UPS

Shippers are recognizing that reverse logistics needs to be managed as diligently as forward logistics said UPS
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 02, 2011

Editor’s note: The September print edition of Logistics Management features an in-depth evaluation of “Reverse Logistics.” Alan Amling, director of global contract logistics marketing for UPS, provided some added insight on the issue in this exclusive interview.

SCMR: Is the trend of “near-shoring” having an impact on reverse logistics?

Amling: Regardless of whether manufacturing is done near-shore or off-shore, an efficient supply chain approach is ultimately required for reverse logistics. The complexities and challenges in the supply chain still apply to reverse logistics, such as end-to-end visibility of shipments, speed of delivery, proper customs clearance and managing costs, for example.

SCMR: What have shippers learned about risk mitigation since the disaster in Japan?

Amling: Political unrest, rapidly changing oil prices and terrible natural disaster like the one in Japan seem to be the “new normal.”  The key is to try and plan for the unplanned.  Supply Chain analysis with a heavy dose of “what if” needs to be high on the priority list.  Every company should ask whether they have the flexibility, scalability and global access to effectively navigate the inevitable supply chain disruptions.

SCMR: Are shippers changing their modal strategies to accommodate a shift in reverse logistics?

Amling: Shippers are recognizing that reverse logistics needs to be managed as diligently as forward logistics.  How a company handles returns not only impacts their customer satisfaction, it also impacts their bottom line.  The key is to have early insight into the customer demand and supply characteristics of the returned good.  With that knowledge, you can make informed decisions on what needs to be expedited via small package and what can be consolidated and moved in a freight mode.

SCMR: Is there a shortage of reverse logistics specialists?

Amling: UPS isn’t the only company that loves logistics.  There is increasing demand for logistics professionals in general, including specialists in reverse logistics.  Companies are recognizing the critical importance of logistics as a competitive differentiator in our fast-moving, global economy.  According to a February 2010 Aberdeen Group Survey, manufacturers with best-in-class reverse logistics enjoy a 12 percent advantage in customer satisfaction.

SCMR: How are universities preparing a new generation of reverse logistics professionals?

Amling: Today’s supply chain managers are business managers as well.  They not only need to know the ins and outs of supply chain management, but also have the technical, problem-solving and “people” skills to take projects for idea to execution.  An increasing number of universities are now offering degrees in supply chain management to meet this need.

SCMR: What other trends can you identify for our readers?

Amling: I think the biggest trend around reverse logistics is the recognition that returns aren’t scrap; they are valuable assets and should be treated as such.  The goal is to provide a great experience for the consumer while maximizing the value from every returned product.  The key is to view reverse logistics as an end-to-end network as opposed to individual silos of return, repair, recycle, scrap or liquidate.  That’s when the true value of reverse logistics can be unlocked.

Other trends such as increasing complex supply chains and end consumers’ growing demand for speed and convenience have led to the need for companies to build more flexibility and convenience into their returns process. UPS recently launched a combined pick up and delivery serviced called UPS Returns Exchange, which makes processes for high-value products more efficient.

About the Author

image
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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Even though some of its key metrics dropped sequentially from August to September, the outlook for manufacturing over all remains strong, according to the most recent edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business issued today by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Company officials said that these planned changes, which will take effect on January 4, 2015, will provide for increases in current pay rates and reduce the time it takes for its nearly 15,000 drivers to reach top pay scale.

While the economy has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs in recent years, 2014 is different in that it could be the best year from an economic output perspective in the last several years. That outlook was offered up by Rosalyn Wilson, senior business analyst at Parsons, and author of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Annual State of Logistics Report at last week’s CSCMP Annual Conference in San Antonio.

Matching last week, the average price per gallon of diesel gasoline dropped 2.3 cents, bringing the average price per gallon to $3.755 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A number of key topics impacting the freight transportation and logistics marketplace were front and center at a panel at the Council of Supply Chain Management Annual Conference in San Antonio last week.

Article Topics

News · Global Logistics · Global · Global Trade · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA