Reverse logistics is the set of activities that is conducted after the sale of a product to recapture value and end the product’s lifecycle. It typically involves returning a product to the manufacturer or distributor or forwarding it on for servicing, renovation or recycling.

When a manufacturer’s product normally moves through the supply chain network, it is to reach the distributor or customer. Any process or management after the delivery of the product involves reverse logistics. If the product is defective, the customer would return the product. The manufacturing firm would then have to organise shipping of the defective product, testing the product, dismantling, repairing, recycling or disposing the product. The product would travel in reverse through the supply chain network in order to retain any use from the defective product. The logistics for such matters is reverse logistics.

5 R’s of Reverse Logistics

    1. Returns

      The first step in Reverse Logistics is “Returns”. Customer return products if it is defective, damaged, fails to meet expectations. etc.

    2. Recalls

      Another way parts and products are returned is through recalls. A critical reverse logistics category, recalls are more complex than basic returns because they typically involve a product defect or potential hazard and may be subject to government regulations, liability concerns or reporting requirements.

    3. Repair

      Not all products that is returned goes to waste. Certain products can be repaired and brought back to the stock.

    4. Repackaging

      There are customers who return products may be because they did not like the product and not due to damage or similar reasons. Such products can be repacked and returned to inventory

    5. Recycling, disposal, and disposition

      The focus on recycling returned or end-of-life parts, components and products is driving more sustainable practices in every industry, but particularly so in high-tech. When products reach the ends of their useful lives and must be scrapped, electronic manufacturers are increasingly finding safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of them. That might mean engaging third-party recycling companies to collect/reclaim waste and dispose of assets for them.