Returns management has diverse cross-divisional functions within a company. Firstly, networking with various divisions is required in order to comprehensively fulfil the function of returns processing. Secondly, the returns management can provide impulses to the various divisions.
Marketing: Product information, pricing (prevention, avoidance, and promotion)
Sales: Pricing, target groups
Purchasing: Product quality, supplier
Customer Service: Customer communication, returns tasks (prevention, avoidance, and promotion)
Product Management: Quality of the product information and product presentation
Logistics: Delivery timeframe, service transparency, packaging
Research and Development: Product improvement
Production: Product improvement
Controlling: Key indicators for the optimization of costs and processes
Quality Assurance: Product improvement, contributions towards the general improvement process
Recent history shows1 that the business world in general and supply chains in particular are subject to disruptive changes in ever-shorter intervals. In addition to natural catastrophes and pandemics, there are countless man-made influences such as (trade) wars, market shifts and local political or business conflicts. Thus, it is indeed a fact that the Corona crisis has given e-commerce a leap forward of at least 32 (Europe) to 5 years3 (USA).
The awareness of permanent and fast change is these days an indispensable prerequisite for successful entrepreneurial action.
Digitalization provides essential tools and approaches in order to attain the required speed.
A resilient supply chain enables one to flexibly react to changes and to regard the resulting new challenges as opportunities.
If one is neither willing nor prepared to adapt to fast change, then companies are increasingly surprised by sudden disruptions.
Whenever this knowledge becomes apparent, it is generally nonetheless already too late for an orderly approach.
Due to the numerous processes, components and participants involved, relevant business management key indicators (KPIs – Key Performance Indicators) are created. If they are collected continuously, they provide insights regarding the status quo and improvement potential with regards to the three dimensions of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer acquisition.
Various – specific and general, internal as well as external – factors determine the success of the returns management.
Processing costs: Personnel, transport, infrastructure
Percentage of returns with special processing steps
Customer-side process formalization through transparent information and clear instructions
Process formalization through standards, guidelines and qualification
Targeted deployment of information systems
Integration of systems with operational software
Performance measurement based upon formalized key indicators
Support from the top management