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 a number 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 want it.
Although returns take into account a large proportion of online sales in many industries, companies fearing bad publicity are reluctant to talk about them. Consequently, reverse logistics gets little discussion. However, it can have enormous implications towards the smooth and efficient running of any business.
Key components of reverse logistics – There are numerous of key components to effective reverse logistics. To keep customers happy, online stores (known as e-retailers) must have a great returns policy in place, 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 purchase with the e-retailer.
It is also essential to minimise the expense of reverse logistics to your business. A good way to make this happen is always to manage the retention or disposal of returned products. This is called asset recovery.
Asset recovery – E-retailers place returned products into action categories to recuperate costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened items that can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage available for sale – opened goods in “as new” condition suitable for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition on the market – faulty products appropriate for repair and resale at a lower cost
4. Come back to vendor – things to be returned towards the original vendor or manufacturer for credit or exchange
5. Scrap – products with little if any recovery vale
The difficulties of asset recovery include sorting items in to these categories, updating inventories instantly, and recording customer returns. Performing these tasks manually is slow and inefficient, which bleeds money. This can be unacceptable, specifically in the current economic crisis.
Automated parcel sortation
Automated sortation systems, which many e-retailers already use to optimise order fulfillment and delivery, help solve the problems 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 has a returns policy.
Sortation systems for asset recovery – an example.
At sorter induction points, operators scan returned products, inspect or test these to determine their asset recovery value, and designate appropriate action categories. Products 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 send things to specific destinations for more processing. Destinations include facilities for all the action categories, including repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems use one of 2 kinds of technology used to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers depend on barcodes, and also have 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 system uses sophisticated computer algorithms and optical character recognition (OCR) techniques to interpret these images.
Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph up to six sides of the parcel. This implies the label can remain in any orientation on these faces.
The benefits of camera systems – Read rates are crucial towards the efficient running of your automated sortation system. When connected 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. This makes them tough and sturdy – ideal for warehousing or any other industrial environments. Long service lives mean they are cost efficient long term.
Conclusion – In reverse logistics, Automated Vision Inspection Machines quickly separate items for asset recovery and send them for more processing. They reduce costs preventing loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even an incredible number of pounds worth 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.