Accessing the Environmental Benefits of Mobile Devices

Nowadays reverse logistics processes for mobile devices are crucial. The number of mobile interconnected devices is now more than the total human population. In 2015 there will be approximately 22 million wearable devices sold, and is set to rise to 370 million over the next five years, CCS Insight claim. What if all these devices are to be dumbed in landfill, that’s not going to help the environmental situation one bit.

The manufacturers and retailers of original equipment (OEM’s) have operated reverse logistics processes for a few decades. This has now grown into a 400 billion dollar industry. On top of this, new technologies like interconnected electronic devices are presenting an even greater opportunity to retailers and the manufacturers of these devices.

The process involves returning, processing and then either triaging, refurbishing or recycling, by a third party logistics company (3PL) as the devices make their way back to the OEM. Retailers now offer a wider variety of upgrade and trade in services to their customers as part of an improving customer experience. Plus, manufacturing companies are putting money into the development of sustainability programs for their corporation, making their businesses more green in line with growing customer expectations, and with the bonus of gaining money by ethical means.

The business of reverse logistics is notoriously complex, networked models are needed in order to provide the greatest value, and there is also a requirement for the best expertise in technology management and IT processes. Anyone developing a reverse logistics plan needs to take heed of these key points:

Business Intelligence is Key. Ensuring data is up to date and clean is a vital challenge for any reverse logistics system. Devices now need to be tracked through their whole lifecycle, right until they are either repaired or recycled. The data can be used to provide a clear picture of levels of demand allowing for effective management and forecasting, and also pinpointing the reasons for items being returned.

Standards in Certification are Vital. The correct levels of certification must be adhered to at every stage in the logistics process. Many companies will seek external help for this, from organizations that have experience in Responsible Recycling and ISO, for example.

You Must Collaborate. Reverse logistics programs need to be properly networked, and this requires communication between all the relevant parties, from supplier to manufacturer to provider.