Revolutionize Your Warehouse Returns Process: 5 Key Strategies with OmegaBrand Sales Corporation
"Dealing with returns is complicated, costly, and challenging to align with customer expectations."
If this sentiment rings true for your business, you're likely dealing with one of these three situations this past year:
- Venturing into e-commerce for the first time.
- Scaling up your existing e-commerce operations.
- Handling an unprecedented surge in e-commerce demand.
These situations often lead to a fourth: an inefficient, expensive, and difficult-to-manage returns process. Here are five key strategies that can help you revamp this process and gain a competitive advantage.
Strategizing for the Unpredictable
Imagine celebrating a truckload of products leaving your warehouse, only to be met with two more trucks returning with unsold items. This scenario can be less daunting if you plan for such unpredictability. Design your returns area to handle regular demand but ensure it can flexibly and quickly meet surge capacity. Consider temporary use of additional facility spaces and adjusting staff numbers to handle peak seasons.
Unlocking the Value of Returns
Returns and quality control areas in a warehouse are often underestimated. While distribution teams might blame other departments for creating non-revenue tasks, they could overlook the competitive advantage that efficient returns processing can offer. In an era where customers and retailers expect swift processing of returns, those businesses that meet these expectations stand to benefit greatly.
Streamlining for Efficiency
Batch processing and delaying return processing can often add needless steps and increase material handling. These extra processes can complicate operations and result in inventory mix-ups. Strive to reduce wait times - whether it's people waiting for information or products waiting to be processed.
Equip Your Returns Area
Equip your returns space with the right technology and materials to expedite returns processing. Where product identification or quality assessments are necessary, having the necessary tools or a structured triage process can facilitate quick return processing. Consider the returns area as an assembly cell where everything is within easy reach and operator travel is minimal.
Mobile-powered return stations are a boon to your returns area as they:
- Provide real-time access to inventory, accounting, and orders systems, eliminating tedious paperwork.
- Credit customers instantly.
- Update returned items in the inventory system quickly, enabling swift order fulfillment.
- Cut down on wasted time and motion.
Incorporate Returns into Your Overall System
Every facility experiences regular fluctuations in inbound and outbound logistics, replenishments, repacks, and value-added services. When these services are managed separately, it can hinder the system's overall efficiency. Seek opportunities to cross-train inventory staff on returns since both roles require product identification knowledge when labelling isn't usable.
In the end, the commitments you make to your customers are only as good as your ability to fulfil them - or, in this case, accept returns. By building a world-class reverse logistics process, you can empower your business's customer-facing departments to offer better terms confidently, setting you up for success in the new normal of e-commerce.
OmegaBrand Sales Corporation is a strategic partner that provides solutions to optimize your supply chain operations. We are committed to helping businesses enhance customer service by eliminating waste, reducing costs, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Newcastle Systems is a pioneer in mobile-powered industrial carts and portable power systems designed to streamline warehouse, manufacturing facility, and retail floor operations. With a clientele of successful global companies, Newcastle Systems champions continuous improvement to distinguish itself from the competition.