Product Returns: A Guide to Managing Holiday Returns
✓ Contact primary and secondary temp agencies and review requirements to ensure you have a ready supply of temporary labor for processing.
✓ Review your management staffing and organization chart for the first quarter. Adjust based on your revised manpower plan.
✓ Review volume estimates and plans for outbound shipping with carriers. Meet with key carriers and get commitments on the number of trailers they'll supply during the first quarter.
✓ Contact your provider of storage trailers and ensure adequate supply of storage trailers will be available if you need them.
✓ Inspect all temporary space that will be used during peak season. If off-site warehouses are going to be used, ensure they're adequately secured.
✓ Review plans for temporary space and storage trailers with your loss prevention team. All security reviews and requirements should be outlined and factored into your plan.
✓ Contact the top 20 vendors in anticipated returns volume to discuss your plans and their return volume estimates. Establishing these tactical relationships prior to the holiday returns season can go a long way toward improving the flow of goods and increasing inventory turn rates.
✓ Review manpower plans for quality assurance and inventory control. Don't overlook the support team when developing your manpower plans. You'll have more inexperienced processors so you'll need more quality assurance and inventory control people working to maintain your quality levels.
✓ Review plans with your systems team to ensure no major systems changes are planned during peak season or with any systems that directly interface with the reverse logistics management system you use to process returns. I recommend freezing all changes from December through March.
✓ Review all parts supplies and ensure procurement plans and sourcing is ready. This is especially important if your repair any returns.
✓ Develop plans for leasing temporary forklifts and other power equipment if needed.
✓ If additional warehouse shifts are anticipated, procure additional lift batteries if needed.
✓ Review shipping plans and requirements with your liquidator, who will be selling your goods on the secondary market. When left on their own, many liquidators are more than happy to let a retailer hold their goods throughout the peak returns season until demand picks up on the secondary market.
✓ Review inbound sortation and shipping plans with your internal liquidation department. It's not uncommon for special holiday items to be returned or the volume of specific SKUs to be so high that revising your return center layout will be required.