2020 created a new challenge for supply chains in the form of “reverse logistics.” The dramatic increase in online shopping meant a simultaneous jump in returns. The NRF has estimated that consumers returned $428 billion worth of merchandise in 2020, or about 10.6% of all retail sales that year.
Suddenly, retailers that were forced to pivot into a digital-first model also had to quickly adapt to a drastic increase in return processing. Many businesses discovered their distribution centers weren’t really prepared to deal with such massive volumes of returns; with all the ballooning returns came multiple cost and environmental consequences. They needed to immediately address how to make returns as cost-effective, and scalable, as possible.
Struggling to get a grip on your reverse logistics? At McMurray Stern, there are three critical ways to vastly improve accuracy and speed in return management: automation, micro-fulfillment, and robotics.
3 Ways to Improve Your Reverse Logistics
1. Automated Solutions
Investing in automation can only increase your overall productivity, improve speed, and efficiency all of which equals faster, more accurate returns. McMurray Stern offers a variety of ASRS solutions that can work within your current reverse logistics chain. We value our ability to help clients upgrade their current approach and seamlessly integrate automation into the process.
Micro-fulfilment refers to fulfillment at the store level or utilizing smaller warehouses/stockrooms instead of a single massive warehouse in one location. By utilizing multiple smaller facilities, the product stays closer to the consumer who is making the purchase. In turn, the customer gets:
- Faster returns
- Faster fulfillment
- Quicker delivery or in-person pickup
- Better accuracy
- Same-day options
- Fresher produce
McMurray Stern micro-fulfillment solutions put you at an advantage with both fulfillments and returns. The best part? You can utilize these solutions at the store level, as options are available in as little as 5,000 square feet. We have four different approaches to meet your automated micro-fulfillment needs with each solution offering a different price option, rate, and speed:
- Vertical Lift Module
- Pouch Sorters
- Shuttle Systems
3. Robotics & Reverse Logistics
Robotics has presented businesses with a user-friendly interface, automated processes, and an ability to push the limits on speed and accuracy. This means better, faster, more accurate returns.
McMurray Stern values our partnership with FANUC, the leading robot manufacturer in the world with thousands of installations worldwide.
Many businesses discovered robotics to be the missing puzzle piece in their supply chain and reverse logistics. They are now adding robotic processes to their long-term growth strategy. The implementation of robots in their space helped keep businesses afloat and meet customer demands through challenging times.
If you liked this McMurray Stern blog, take a look at these related articles:
–The Robotics Revolution: Improve Speed & Accuracy In Your Warehouse With Robots
–Micro-Fulfillment and Mini-Warehouse Retail Era