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TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

Reverse Logistics in the Supply Chain a report by

James R Stock
Professor of Marketing and Logistics, University of South Florida

James R Stock is a professor of Marketing and Logistics at the University of South Florida, Tampa. He is the author or co-author of more than 90 publications in the area of logistics. His specialities are in the areas of reverse logistics and the marketing-logistics interface. Currently, Dr Stock serves as Editor of the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management and is a frequent speaker and consultant on reverse logistics and other logistics topics throughout North America, Europe and Africa.

In evaluating the importance of logistics within supply chains, many published ‘lists’ of logistics attributes have reverse logistics rated relatively low in importance. Such ratings are, however, misleading. Product quality, competitive prices, consistent order cycle times, ontime deliveries and low damage rates have traditionally been very important, and will continue to be so in the future. Today, they are the ‘price of admission’ to the competitive arena. Many competitors have reached parity on many of these important logistics attributes and they have become standard offerings of these companies and basic requirements of customers. Organisations not meeting standards on these attributes are usually not even considered in purchasing and/or outsourcing decisions. When a firm achieves acceptable standards on these attributes, other factors become differentiators in the customer’s purchase decision. One of the factors that becomes more important in these situations is reverse logistics, where many firms offer programmes, but relatively few provide optimal solutions. Reverse logistics has been defined as “... the term most often used to refer to the role of logistics in product returns,...

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