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Best Practices for Your Return-to-Vendor Process

Retail Online Integration - September 16, 2013

The secondary market is all too often a secondary thought for many retailers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). However, in the new retail supply chain, what you don't know can hurt you. Without intending to, organizations can be negatively impacted by a number of factors in their reverse supply chain — from lost margins to brand distortion — simply by missing how they're managing their returned and overstock product flows. By applying the old paradigms for managing the return-to-vendor (RTV) process, you put yourself behind in the race against your competitors.

To move from a "cost of doing business" mentality to strategic supply chain alignment, retailers need to better accommodate customers in-store and online. This includes making return policies more flexible, establishing greater control and visibility, and enabling sustainable recovery practices, all of which will ultimately benefit both the retailer's and manufacturer's brand reputations.

A common set of goals for retailers and manufacturers includes the following:

  • reduce handling and transportation within the reverse supply chain;
  • ensure the retailer and manufacturer's brands are protected and enhanced;
  • create revenue and margin growth using secondary markets to mutual advantage; and
  • align with sustainability and green initiatives — internally and externally mandated.

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