Av Trimble smartdelivery | Article | April 2, 2019

What Can the Driver Do to Improve Returns & Reverse Logistics

We know that customers care deeply about their returns experience, which depends on your reverse logistics. The proper functioning of reverse logistics demands complex business requirements. How well you set-up your reverse logistics chain gets affected by your relationship with customers, distributors, and contractors. Another important role in reverse logistics is played by drivers. Drivers alone bear the responsibility of transporting returns items from customers’ homes back to dispatch centers. Drivers are expected to keep your products safe during transport and prevent their loss and theft. In short, there’s a lot of money riding on how well your drivers perform their duties.

Challenges in reverse logistics management and how they can be fixed

eCommerce and retail stores face several common challenges in return logistics. Since return logistics are complex, they could present you with many problems in different stages. By anticipating reverse logistics problems and planning for them in advance, you can save on unwanted costs and delays. Here are the common challenges associated with reverse logistics.

  • Measuring value – When managed poorly, reverse logistics can cost you more than they can earn you. That’s why it’s important to assess the value of the return item unit and make decisions accordingly. For instance, if a security camera at a client’s site needs to be replaced, you have to analyze how much it’s worth and then deploy a driver or transporter.
  • Tracking routing status – Tracking where the return item is can be a huge problem. While you can use geofencing and GPS, it’s also important to have drivers whom you can trust. If there’s a way for drivers to update their status effortlessly, you can reduce the frustration of missing items.
  • Missing and delayed dispatches – Loss, damage and delay of returns items amounts to huge losses in reverse logistics. You can prevent these losses by recruiting reliable drivers and smoothly coordinating with them.
  • Working with third-party people – When vendors, contractors, and other parties get involved, the reverse logistics process becomes even more complicated. You have to optimize communication channels and ensure that the value of items is properly assessed.

How a driver can affect your reverse logistics chain

Reverse logistics is an area in the supply chain that is poorly understood. In fact, the role of technology and people in facilitating reverse logistics is even more poorly understood. Reverse logistics is referred to as such because of its nature. In business, companies have their products shipped from warehouses to customers’ homes. In reverse logistics, products are reclaimed from customers’ homes and transported back to warehouses.

Considering the driver’s role in reverse logistics, there are several ways in which he or she can affect your reverse logistics chain. Here is a summary of such instances.

  • The driver is responsible for when and in what condition a product is returned to your company. Delays will affect the resale of the product, as you can’t list the product unless you’re sure it will be returned before a certain time. The driver also has to ensure the product is returned in the right condition, so you can resell it to another customer.
  • Drivers need to be comfortable working with automation technologies. You can effortlessly track product delivery and return using certain automation software such as geofencing. Unless the geofencing is automatic, you will need drivers who are responsible and easy to work with. In an ideal scenario, drivers will need to examine product status and update it so you can plan its resale.
  • Efficiency is an important part of a delivery driver’s job. If a driver has to make multiple returns pickups in a day, they’ll have to plan the process carefully. Unless the process is pre-decided by a software, your drivers have to decide which areas to visit first and what order of pickups to perform. This requires drivers to have proper knowledge of routes and areas in a city.

Choosing and training the right drivers can transform your reverse logistics chain. This post describes the aspects of a driver’s role that requires focus.