Reverse logistics refers to the control over product returns. Just like working 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 make up a large proportion of online sales in numerous 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 the business.
Key elements of reverse logistics – There are numerous of key components to effective reverse logistics. To maintain customers happy, online retailers (referred to as e-retailers) must have a very good returns policy in position, and ship exchange items/issue credit notes or refunds efficiently and quickly. Based on research, eighty-nine percent of online buyers say return policies influence their decision to shop with the e-retailer.
Additionally it is important to minimise the price of reverse logistics to some business. One way to make this happen would be to manage the retention or disposal of returned products. This is known as asset recovery.
Asset recovery – E-retailers place returned products into action categories to recuperate costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened products which can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage available for sale – opened goods in “as new” condition appropriate for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition on the market – faulty products ideal for repair and resale at a lower cost
4. Come back 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 difficulties 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 is unacceptable, particularly 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 perfect for any company that includes 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. Items 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 deliver items to specific destinations for additional processing. Destinations include facilities for all the action categories, like repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems utilize one of two types of technology employed to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers count on barcodes, and possess been used 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 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 up to six sides of any parcel. This means the label can maintain any orientation on these faces.
The advantages of camera systems – Read rates are crucial for the efficient running of your automated sortation system. When linked to a videocoding system, a facility that enables 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. As a result them tough and durable – ideal for warehousing or some other industrial environments. Long service lives mean they are affordable 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 amount of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems certainly are a highly beneficial, cost effective solution for e-retailers under pressure to slice budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.