Exclusive Interviews: GEODIS Executives Share Insights on E-Commerce Reverse Loop

0
145

Editor’s Note: When the Los Angeles-based industrial real estate developer CBRE released its report “Reverse Logistics Stress Test: Holiday E-Commerce Spike Will Lead to Record Returns ” last December, many unanswered questioned remained about supply chain sustainability.

In this exclusive interview, Gina Anderson, Vice President of Solutions & Growth of Supply Chain Optimization Line – GEODIS, and Frank Loewen, Senior Vice President of Retail Market Line – GEODIS in Americas share more supply chain more insights.

SCMR: Many analysts note that e-Commerce has made a profound impact on reverse logistics. GEODIS thoughts?

Anderson: We saw firsthand with our clients what was widely reported during the peak season: this past holiday season was the busiest in e-Commerce history. And this e-Commerce surge has driven a boom in return delivery costs. When combined with the growing trend of online purchases being three times as likely to be returned as in-store purchases, retailers have been forced to look at this more strategically. In a matter of months, reverse logistics processes and infrastructure had to be re-engineered to accommodate the growth and plan for the next normal.

SCMR: What other lessons can logistics managers take away from that experience?

Anderson: Some retailers have already discovered lockers and kiosks as a way to accommodate the changing landscape for returns/reverse logistics. Offering customer convenience and innovative solutions helps logistics managers create more agility in the network. Since data shows that nearly 80 percent of shoppers prefer to make their returns in-store, we’ve seen this solution deliver immediate value for retail brands and their logistics teams.

SCMR: Any new forecasts to share in the post-pandemic world of reverse logistics?

Anderson: Beyond managing the high demand of last-mile delivery timelines, retailers also need to consider how they will build goodwill with customers during the reverse logistics process. Much like the contactless delivery solutions provided for shoppers like Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup, retailers must also leverage innovative solutions to bridge the gap of the returns process. Returns are a critical part of a good reverse logistics network, so why not elevate the customer experience when re-evaluating your reverse logistics program?

SCMR: What regions of the nation will be under the most pressure in this regard?

Anderson: Urban and suburban areas are equally under pressure to manage this growing issue. However, better utilization of micro-fulfillment and nano-warehousing will take a lot of pressure off logisticians when seeking to add smaller, flex-node operations to their reverse logistics network.

SCMR: What advice do you have for supply chain managers seeking to anticipate the next “black swan” event?

Anderson: It is more important than ever to have a product that is close to your customers. Using a reliable last-mile services partner can help retail brands quickly create a customized solution that will keep their merchandise closer to the consumer. This will enable faster delivery times at a lower cost while also creating a more branded experiential delivery that balances the time-cost factor in the retailer’s favor.

SCMR: Many analysts note that e-Commerce has made a profound impact on reverse logistics. GEODIS thoughts?

Loewen: E-Commerce has accelerated the growth of reverse logistics and pushed it to the forefront of many retailers’ minds as it has become well known that the customer returns experience with a retailer is a major buying concern. With that, retailers are demanding much more visibility and speed with their customers’ returns and this has driven significant change in the logistics to support these demands.

SCMR: What other lessons can logistics managers take away from that experience?

Loewen: Speed, visibility and cost are the keys to a successful customer experience and will continue to drive how GEODIS positions itself in the 3PL marketplace. Regardless of what new trends or innovations come about, these three elements of customer experience don’t seem to change.

SCMR: Any new forecasts to share in the post-pandemic world of reverse logistics?

Loewen: Reverse logistics options that make the experience easier and less cumbersome will continue to trend in a post-pandemic world. I would expect more “drop-off” locations and forward deployed inventory locations from major retailers dominating the malls and shopping locations creating a place for returns to turn quickly.

SCMR: What regions of the nation will be under the most pressure in this regard?

Loewen: I see reverse logistics impacting customers and retailers nationwide. With returns depots and drop-offs becoming more prevalent in the areas that consumers shop, this will impact all major shopping centers.

SCMR: What advice do you have for logistics managers seeking to anticipate the next “black swan” event?

Loewen: Focus on maintaining agile operations with a strong emphasis on keeping your teams healthy, productive and flexible

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor

Mr. Burnson is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected]

Link to Original Source
[email protected]
2021-02-19 13:47:00

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.