While November and December are peak season for shipping, January is typically reserved for reevaluating your business strategies and setting goals for the new year. Of course, this also applies to your business shipping—including your reverse logistics plan. Do you HAVE a reverse logistics plan? Do you need one?
Reverse logistics is the process of moving goods from what would typically be their final destination back to their original shipper or elsewhere. Whether you’re receiving unsold inventory or servicing recalls, reverse logistics may be a key aspect of your overall shipping plan.
Reverse logistics is a valuable service for customers who have ongoing inbound shipping needs such as:
- Merchandise change outs
- Stock adjustments
- Product recycling
- Disposal of spoiled or damaged products
- Recall events
- Returnable container tracking
Whether you are optimizing your reverse logistics strategy for efficiency or locking down a solid reverse logistics plan for the first time, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Consolidate Return Shipments
Whether you need to return-ship equipment for repairs, collect recalled products or retrieve unsold merchandise from retailers back to your warehouse, a little bit of planning helps your shipping dollars go a lot further. For example, returns that originate from the same location can be consolidated into less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments, reducing both your return shipping costs and the complexity of your reverse logistics.
Analyze Your Shipping Data
Another key to an effective reverse logistics strategy is understanding your shipping data. By analyzing your outbound and inbound shipping, including which items were returned and when, you can identify historical trends and use that data to improve both your forward and reverse logistics strategies. A transportation management system (TMS) like Unishippers’ Freight Manager can help by allowing you to view the history of recent shipments, monitor your scheduled pickups and more.
Partner with a 3PL Shipping Expert
There are many moving parts in a reliable reverse logistics strategy, which is why we recommend partnering with a 3PL that is equipped with the resources, scale and expertise necessary for getting it right. From negotiating programs with carriers to helping you keep track of your shipments—and everything in between—the knowledge, expertise and carrier relationships provided by a 3PL can help ensure your reverse logistics strategy is both cost-effective and efficient. They’ll make all the arrangements, including working directly with the carrier to determine timelines and schedule pickups.
Leave the stress of reverse logistics to us – reach out today to find out if reverse logistics through Unishippers could benefit your business.