Reverse logistics refers to the control over product returns. Just like working with unsatisfied customers and counting stock, it is part and parcel of the Top Machine Vision Inspection System Manufacturer. Online shoppers return goods for a number of reasons. Products may be broken or damaged, not as expected, or of insufficient quality. Orders may arrive late, incorrect, or incomplete. Sometimes customers order a bad product or just decide they do not want it.
Although returns take into account a big proportion of online sales in lots of industries, companies fearing bad publicity are reluctant to speak about them. Because of this, reverse logistics gets little discussion. However, it can have enormous implications towards the smooth and efficient running of a business.
Key aspects of reverse logistics – There are a number of key components to effective reverse logistics. To maintain customers happy, online stores (referred to as e-retailers) must have a good returns policy in place, and ship exchange items/issue credit notes or refunds quickly and efficiently. Based on research, eighty-nine percent of online buyers say return policies influence their decision to purchase having an e-retailer.
Additionally it is vital that you minimise the expense of reverse logistics to a business. One way to make this happen is to manage the retention or disposal of returned products. This is referred to as asset recovery.
Asset recovery – E-retailers place returned products into action categories to recover costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened products which can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage on the market – opened goods in “as new” condition suitable for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition for sale – faulty products ideal for repair and resale in a lower cost
4. Go back to vendor – items to be returned towards the original vendor or manufacturer for credit or exchange
5. Scrap – products with virtually no recovery vale
The challenges of asset recovery include sorting items into these categories, updating inventories live, and recording customer returns. Doing these tasks manually is slow and inefficient, which bleeds money. This is unacceptable, especially in the current economic climate.
Automated parcel sortation
Automated sortation systems, which many e-retailers already use to optimise order fulfillment and delivery, help solve the problems of asset recovery. They expedite the sorting and processing of returned goods, and incorporate software that automatically updates inventories.
Benefits include improved efficiency, reduced costs, and the ability to track parcels. Automated sortation systems are best for any company that has a returns policy.
Sortation systems for asset recovery – an illustration.
At sorter induction points, operators scan returned products, inspect or test them to determine their asset recovery value, and designate appropriate action categories. Merchandise is then placed onto conveyors or sorter trays manually or using automatic feeders.
A unit vision system mounted overhead identifies product labels and instructs the sorter to send things to specific destinations for more processing. Destinations include facilities for all of the action categories, like repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems utilize one of two kinds of technology utilized to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers rely on barcodes, and also have been employed to scan parcels for more than thirty years.
Camera based systems use auto-focus, line-scan, high-speed cameras to capture high-resolution photographic images of parcel labels. The program uses sophisticated computer algorithms and optical character recognition (OCR) techniques to interpret these images.
Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph approximately six sides of the parcel. This means the label can remain in any orientation on these faces.
The benefits of camera systems – Read rates are essential to the efficient running of the automated sortation system. When associated with a videocoding system, a facility that allows operators to input unreadable labels manually, camera systems achieve read rates approaching 100% at high-speed.
OCR technology allows camera systems to read text, supplier numbers, and even human written address information, as well as barcodes and 2D codes. Cameras also identify dirty, marked or damaged codes, and codes behind droupq packaging.
Camera systems contain few moving parts and require little maintenance. This makes them tough and durable – perfect for warehousing or other industrial environments. Long service lives mean they are inexpensive long term.
Conclusion – In reverse logistics, Automated Vision Inspection Machines quickly separate items for asset recovery and send them for additional processing. They reduce costs and prevent loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even millions of pounds amount of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems really are a highly beneficial, cost effective solution for e-retailers under pressure to cut budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.