We’re always talking with our clients about ways to improve their operations. For example, we’re often asked how to reduce the number of returns or the best ways to manage inventory. Regardless of where improvements are needed, the insight we gain and the recommendations we make are rooted in data. And that data almost always comes from KPI’s.
Product returns are one of the biggest contributing factors to loss. If too much product ends up back on your shelves, it can mean that your customers aren’t happy with their interactions with your company or your products. And too many returns create overwhelmed warehouse operations, in addition to losing potential profits.
Without a doubt, staffing during the holiday shopping season can become difficult while you try to meet a rise in orders, cover for staff on vacation, and balance full-time employees and temporary employees. Further training is involved, scheduling becomes an algorithm, and—most importantly—you’re being put to the test by your customers. But what happens after the rush? Here are a few tips to consider when the holiday rush is over and you need to reconfigure your scheduling.
Some businesses believe that, as long as the job gets accomplished, the condition of the jobsite or warehouse doesn’t matter. Dirty, unorganized, sloppy—if you can tag the word “done” after any project, you don’t have to worry about keeping things clean. To a certain extent, you do need to do whatever it takes to get a job done, but, when it comes to distribution, a clean workplace—and clean product inside of that workplace—are huge components of getting the job done.
Ask these three questions about cleanliness in your warehouse and at the stores you shop at.
Reverse logistics are often an animal that no company particularly wants to handle, but for anyone in ecommerce, it’s necessary. No matter how efficient you are at picking the correct items, packaging well, and shipping, there will always be customers who decide to return an item for one reason or another. And reverse logistics aren’t necessarily cheap. They’re an added cost that must be factored in to ecommerce budgets.
When product arrives at a distribution center, this is the first part of a long line of checking to ensure that the product a customer sees on the shelves is in its best condition. This means checking the quality of the product when it arrives at a 3PL, re-checking the product when it’s picked, and checking the product a third time when it is returned to store for any reason.
Customer returns aren’t something that anyone in the business of logistics wants to think about, but they’re a necessity. You probably hate the idea that a customer got something and doesn’t like it enough to keep it or, even worse, received the incorrect item to begin with. On top of that, returns are tricky. They require exact reverse logistics as well as excellent customer service to ensure that the customer ends up happy and will shop with you again. Round it out with the fact that returns are expensive, and you’ll understand why returns are easy to want to ignore. Fortunately, there are a number of great ways that many retailers and their e-commerce fulfillment partners are reducing the cost of customer returns.