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 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 the incorrect product or just decide they do not want it.
Although returns make up a big proportion of online sales in numerous industries, companies fearing bad publicity are reluctant to talk about them. As a result, reverse logistics gets little discussion. However, it can have enormous implications for the smooth and efficient running of any business.
Key aspects of reverse logistics – There are a variety of key components to effective reverse logistics. To help keep customers happy, online stores (called e-retailers) must have a great returns policy in place, and ship exchange items/issue credit notes or refunds efficiently and quickly. In accordance with research, eighty-nine percent of online buyers say return policies influence their decision to purchase having an e-retailer.
Additionally it is essential to minimise the cost of reverse logistics to some business. One method to accomplish this 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 recoup costs. These usually include:
1. Restock – unopened products that can go straight back into inventory
2. Repackage on the market – opened goods in “as new” condition suitable for repackaging and resale
3. Repair/recondition for sale – faulty products appropriate for repair and resale in a lower cost
4. Come back to vendor – things to be returned for the original vendor or manufacturer for credit or exchange
5. Scrap – products with virtually no recovery vale
The difficulties of asset recovery include sorting items in to these categories, updating inventories in real time, and recording customer returns. Doing 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 difficulties 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 opportunity to track parcels. Automated sortation systems are best for any company that includes a returns policy.
Sortation systems for asset recovery – an illustration.
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 machine vision system mounted overhead identifies product labels and instructs the sorter to send out items to specific destinations for additional processing. Destinations include facilities for the action categories, such as repackaging areas and waste collection sites.
Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems use one of two types of technology employed to identify parcel labels: traditional laser scanners and camera based machine vision systems. Lasers rely on barcodes, and have been utilized 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 system uses sophisticated computer algorithms and optical character recognition (OCR) strategies to interpret these images.
Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph approximately six sides of a parcel. This means the label can maintain any orientation on these faces.
The advantages of camera systems – Read rates are essential to the efficient running of an 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 makes them tough and sturdy – perfect for warehousing or other industrial environments. Long service lives mean they are inexpensive 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 prevent loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even an incredible number of pounds amount of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems are a highly beneficial, cost effective solution for e-retailers under pressure to slice budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.