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Continued Growth in the Field of Reverse Logistics

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 05/30/2019 | 11:47 AM

Reverse Logistics

The field of reverse logistics continues to grow as there is a greater awareness of what causes people to become loyal customers.  Sales and marketing are certainly important to customers; however, several companies are looking at long term satisfaction rather than immediate sales.  A single sale is no longer the key driver to business.  The long-term satisfaction of customers is the only way for large companies to continue to grow.  This long-term satisfaction is where reverse logistics becomes critical.  

Reverse Logistics covers everything that happens after the sale.  Reverse Logistics is all about keeping the customer after they have purchased a product.  Reverse Logistics handles the returns, the reuse, the recycling and repairs of projects.  For too long companies view these functions as cost centers, when there is ample opportunity to these areas into revenue centers.  Here is where the opportunity lies, because the more organizations understand this need, the more organizations will invest in skilled indicates to lead them to success.  Organizations understand if they want to increase sales, increase the sales department.  If you want to be successful in reverse logistics, hire people that are skilled in reverse logistics.


Why growth?

There has been greater interest in reverse logistics as the market is growing internationally as well as domestically.  More organizations are looking to add people with these skills to the organization in order to develop new and efficient reverse logistics organizations.  Reverse logistics experts are needed to look at the fundamental elements and assumptions of an organization.  For example, every manufacturing company should be engineering products that have a full life cycle plan.  The recent failure of the Samsung bending phone shows the lack of engineering expertise and long term understanding of Smart Phone design. 

Apple has successfully engineered products that are not only efficient but are engineered with a life cycle plan.  In the past, Apple would not buy back your old phone, causing consumers to either keep them in a draw or to find an aftermarket retailer that will buy the phone.  Pretty soon, it became clear to some of these aftermarket companies that the parts could be worth more than the actual unit.  Apple would start to design their Smart Phones that would use older parts so that those parts would have a longer life cycle.  Apple would also design items that were easier to disassemble which helped with repairs but also with replacement phones. 

Furthermore, reverse logistics experts can help redesign processes and policies to improve customer service.  Many companies feel that returns are bad and most of the time people are trying to cheat the company.  I must agree that there have been cases of fraud in the past, but that should not lead to assuming that everyone is a charlatan.    Redesigned processes can help make returns efficient and effective.  Better and faster returns lead to satisfied customers and satisfied customers become loyal customers. 

People with experience and education in reverse logistics can flip the script when it comes to changing how companies keep customers.  It is important to not only understand the needs of the customer but to grow with the customer.  Remaining stagnant is no longer an option.  No one told Amazon to make Prime One day rather than Two-day, but Amazon understands that if they are not innovating, they are falling behind.


The future of reverse logistics

High profile companies are adding jobs to the reverse logistics sector making the reverse logistics more marketable for specialized roles.  Just look on Indeed.com and you will find thousands of jobs that have a component of reverse logistics.  Hiring skilled experts in supply chain and reverse logistics is an organizational imperative.  Reverse logistics is no longer the future, it is the present.



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About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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