Reverse logistics refers to the handling of product returns. Just like dealing 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 a bad product or just decide they do not need it.

Although returns take into account a large proportion of online sales in lots of industries, companies fearing bad publicity are reluctant to speak about them. As a result, reverse logistics gets little discussion. However, it can have enormous implications towards the smooth and efficient running of any business.

Key aspects of reverse logistics – There are numerous of key components to effective reverse logistics. To help keep customers happy, internet retailers (known as e-retailers) must have a good returns policy set up, 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 shop with an e-retailer.

It is also vital that you minimise the price of reverse logistics to a business. A good way to make this happen would be 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 recuperate costs. These usually include:

1. Restock – unopened products which can go straight back into inventory

2. Repackage available for sale – opened goods in “as new” condition suitable for repackaging and resale

3. Repair/recondition available for sale – faulty products suitable for repair and resale in a lower cost

4. Come back to vendor – things to be returned towards the original vendor or manufacturer for credit or exchange

5. Scrap – products with little or no recovery vale

The difficulties of asset recovery include sorting items into 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, especially in the current economic climate.

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 cabability to track parcels. Automated sortation systems are best for any company that has a returns policy.

Sortation systems for asset recovery – an illustration.

At sorter induction points, operators scan returned products, inspect or test those to determine their asset recovery value, and designate appropriate action categories. Merchandise is then placed onto conveyors or sorter trays manually or using automatic feeders.

A piece of equipment vision system mounted overhead identifies product labels and instructs the sorter to send things to specific destinations for additional processing. Destinations include facilities for all of the action categories, like repackaging areas and waste collection sites.

Identifying parcel labels – Automated sortation systems utilize 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 also have been used 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) methods to interpret these images.

Users can configure camera systems with multiple units to photograph up to six sides of the parcel. This implies the label can maintain any orientation on these faces.

The advantages of camera systems – Read rates are crucial to the efficient running of your automated sortation system. When linked to 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 durable – perfect for warehousing or other industrial environments. Long service lives mean they are cost efficient 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 preventing loading docks becoming jammed with thousands, sometimes even countless pounds amount of returned merchandise. Automated sortation systems are a highly beneficial, economical solution for e-retailers under pressure to slice budgets and meet efficiency, productivity, and throughput targets.

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