Emerging Reverse Logistics in India

RLC LogoThis article from the Global Supply Chain Council interviews a man who has come across reverse logistics in much the same way that many others in the industry have… by accident.  I find it interesting that even in a country like India, that is treading a path well worn by other nations, multi-national companies still don’t have a grasp of the importance of reverse logistics.

For Hitendra Chaturvedi, all it took to wade into the relatively virgin business of reverse logistics were four questions that he, as head of the $400 million (Rs1,956 crore) original equipment manufacturer (OEM) unit of Microsoft Corp.’s Indian unit, once asked his clients. He asked them the percentage of products they sold that were returned by customers, what it cost to process a return and what percentage of the value of a returned product they managed to eventually recover. Dreaming big: Hitendra Chaturvedi, founder of RLC, says everyone was so focused on forward logistics that no one cared for reverse logistics. “They had no answer, and these were the VPs (vice-presidents) of supply chains and country managers,” Chaturvedi, 38, says. “The fourth question that scared them was, are you complying with the government’s e-waste regulations?”

Reverse logistics is the process of moving a product from the consumer—the typical final destination—to the manufacturer, the point of origin, for re use or disposal. The process includes the management and the sale of surplus as well as returned equipment and machines from the hardware leasing business.

Shortly after Microsoft asked him to return to the US, in 2000, Chaturvedi decided it was time to start his own business, called Reverse Logistics Co. (RLC), in an industry that is just beginning to be recognized as an integral part of the business supply chain. 

In New Zealand, I’ve found very few people in the technology industry that understand the concept reverse logistics, or how it can be used to improve their businesses.

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