Returns to Normal - Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd
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  • Returns to Normal

    January is a difficult time for retailers and supply chains in general. The dramatic shift from depleted stock to rebuilding inventory causes a strain upon the entire distribution operation. All this, whilst at the same time trying to run business as usual and maintaining customer service levels.

    This strain is further compounded by the increase in returns post-December. Unwanted gifts, missed sizes, the need to swap items – January sees a bumper rise in returns and the impact of this has a wide reach. Not only are you going through the now customary stock push for the January Sales period, but you are also trying to process and re-distribute any returns at the same time.

    Unchecked returned stock slows processes down at a warehouse level, distracting staff from dispatch, reducing efficiency and increasing storage costs by utilising space.

    The knock-on of this returns influx is that delivery and inventory accuracy fall as companies stretch to recuperate their stock and check in their returned goods. This means cashflow is tied up by the ever-increasing pile of returned stock. The solution to this issue is admitting that there is an issue – and doing something about it.

    Third party inventory auditors like Orridge can help companies take the strain out of this period by taking on the mantle of increased returns – or checking the accuracy of dispatch.

    The benefits of outsourcing inventory maintenance and compliance far outweigh any cost and it’s important to get back to normality as quickly as possible, so problems do not compound problems further down the line. Outsourcing is quick and easy, and is a resource that can be used over a period which suits the business, negating the need to use permanent staff or recruiting and training temporary staff.

    Supply Chain leaders need to face into the fact that this is a challenging and disruptive time and spending a little to save a lot makes good commercial sense.

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