Reverse logistics refers to the control over product returns. Just like coping with unsatisfied customers and counting stock, it is part and parcel of the Top Machine Vision Inspection System Manufacturer. Online shoppers return goods for many different 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 need it.
Although returns account for a sizable proportion of online sales in many 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 to the smooth and efficient running of any business.
Key components of reverse logistics – There are a number of key components to effective reverse logistics. To maintain customers happy, online retailers (called e-retailers) must have a good returns policy in position, and ship exchange items/issue credit notes or refunds quickly and efficiently. In accordance with research, eighty-nine percent of online buyers say return policies influence their decision to purchase with an e-retailer.
Additionally it is essential to minimise the price of reverse logistics to a business. A good way to achieve this 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 recoup costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened products that can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage for sale – opened goods in “as new” condition ideal for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition on the market – faulty products ideal for repair and resale at 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 or no recovery vale
The challenges of asset recovery include sorting items into these categories, updating inventories in real time, and recording customer returns. Performing these tasks manually is slow and inefficient, which bleeds money. This can be unacceptable, specifically 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 issues 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 which has a returns policy.
Sortation systems for asset recovery – a good example.
At sorter induction points, operators scan returned products, inspect or test them to determine their asset recovery value, and designate appropriate action categories. Items are 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 deliver things to specific destinations for more processing. Destinations include facilities for the action categories, such as repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems utilize one of two types of technology utilized to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers rely on barcodes, and possess been used 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) strategies to interpret these images.
Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph as much as six sides of any parcel. What this means is the label can remain in any orientation on these faces.
Some great benefits of camera systems – Read rates are essential for the efficient running of your 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 will make them tough and sturdy – perfect for warehousing or some 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 further processing. They reduce costs and stop loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even millions of pounds worth of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems certainly are a highly beneficial, economical solution for e-retailers under pressure to cut budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.