What is “Reverse Logistics”?

Reverse Logistics (RL) is the process involved where products travel back up the supply chain to be repaired, recycled, refurbished, returned, refunded, or replaced.

Wikipedia defines it as:

the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost effective flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value or proper disposal. More precisely, reverse logistics is the process of moving goods from their typical final destination for the purpose of capturing value, or proper disposal. Remanufacturing and refurbishing activities also may be included in the definition of reverse logistics.

The Reverse Logistics Association puts it more concisely:

all activity associated with a product/service after the point of sale, the ultimate goal to optimize or make more efficient aftermarket activity, thus saving money and environmental resources.

At Service Plus we apply it more directly to the form of technology services that we are involved with:

the process of returning goods from stores/customers for refund, repair or replacement.  It involves diagnosis, freight, vendor relations, credit/refund processing, and reporting.

As you can see, the concept is vast, and the definitions are varied. Involved  Reverse Logistics parties include Manufacturers (OEMs), Retailers, Third Party Service Providers (3PSPs), Third Party Logistic specialists (3PLs), Recyclers, Software Systems, and Parts Management.

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