Reverse logistics refers to the management of product returns. Just like dealing 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 variety 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 the incorrect product or just decide they do not need it.
Although returns take into account a sizable proportion of online sales in many industries, companies fearing bad publicity are reluctant to talk about them. As a result, reverse logistics gets little discussion. However, it can have enormous implications towards the smooth and efficient running of a business.
Key elements of reverse logistics – There are a number of key components to effective reverse logistics. To help keep customers happy, online stores (known as e-retailers) must have a good returns policy in position, and ship exchange items/issue credit notes or refunds quickly and efficiently. According to research, eighty-nine percent of online buyers say return policies influence their decision to shop with the e-retailer.
Additionally it is essential to minimise the price of reverse logistics to some business. One way to accomplish this is to manage the retention or disposal of returned products. This is called asset recovery.
Asset recovery – E-retailers place returned products into action categories to recuperate costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened products that can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage on the market – opened goods in “as new” condition appropriate for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition on the market – faulty products ideal for repair and resale with a lower cost
4. Return to vendor – items to be returned to the original vendor or manufacturer for credit or exchange
5. Scrap – products with little if any recovery vale
The challenges of asset recovery include sorting items in to these categories, updating inventories live, and recording customer returns. Performing these tasks manually is slow and inefficient, which bleeds money. This really is unacceptable, especially in the current economic crisis.
Automated parcel sortation
Automated sortation systems, which many e-retailers already use to optimise order fulfillment and delivery, help solve the difficulties 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 ideal for any company that has a returns policy.
Sortation systems for asset recovery – an example.
At sorter induction points, operators scan returned products, inspect or test those to determine their asset recovery value, and designate appropriate action categories. Products are then placed onto conveyors or sorter trays manually or using automatic feeders.
A piece of equipment 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 the action categories, like repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems use one of two kinds of technology used to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers rely on barcodes, and also have been utilized to scan parcels 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 device uses sophisticated computer algorithms and optical character recognition (OCR) methods to interpret these images.
Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph up to six sides of a parcel. This means the label can maintain any orientation on these faces.
The benefits of camera systems – Read rates are vital to the efficient running of an automated sortation system. When linked to 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 these are cost efficient 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 stop loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even an incredible number of pounds amount of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems certainly are a highly beneficial, cost effective solution for e-retailers under pressure to cut budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.