Product Returns: A Guide to Managing Holiday Returns
✓ Test all risers, security systems and emergency procedures in early December.
✓ Schedule preventative maintenance ASAP for all equipment and conveyor systems prior to January.
✓ Review first-quarter manpower plans by function and shift. Pay close attention to your management staffing to ensure you maintain control.
✓ Review returns plans and volumes with your recycling and waste management companies.
✓ If there's a need for special preparation instructions to be sent to all stores, branches, etc., review with operations and determine the best way to communicate those instructions.
✓ Ensure key contact information is maintained centrally for all stores, branches, customers and/or vendors. Doing so will simplify communications during the peak season.
✓ Review plans of all outsourced repair vendors. Outside repair vendors should have a plan to provide both repair techs and parts to support peak volume.
✓ Get reports of existing backlogs for all repair vendors or outsourced support areas, then work with the companies to reduce their backlogs and inventory levels to ensure they can focus on the increased returns volume the holidays bring.
✓ Review weekly communications plans with key internal and external teams.
✓ Review aged files for any claims or disputes to clear up prior to year-end.
✓ Meet with financial support systems management and review plans.
✓ Contact high-volume vendors and ask if they have any plans to shut down during the first quarter for retooling. This is where merchandising teams can often help the flow of goods.
Working through this holiday checklist, you can be assured your company's reverse logistics function will be well prepared for this most critical time of the year. Careful planning is the key to ensuring that your company minimizes returns processing costs and maximizes the value of the goods returned to your manufacturers.
Curtis Greve is the CEO of TMG Reverse Logistics and co-author of "An Executive's Guide to Reverse Logistics: How to Find Hidden Profits By Managing Returns." Curtis can be reached at email@example.com.