from costly returns processing integration. From the moment a retailer receives a returned product, credits the customer then records it through the till at the counter, that return becomes stock that has a value in the retailer's supply chain. It is imperative therefore to process that item as soon as possible before the asset loses value. For a long time processing returns had been a head-scratcher for retailers but a growing number are grasping the nettle and realising that opportunities exist for not only gaining revenue but also for providing better customer service. iForce provides an outsourced returns processing service, which features its in-house ReSCU (Reverse Stock Control Utility) system and a new development that allows operations of any size to manage their returns more efficiently without costly and time consuming till integration.
Status Quo Ant
As part of iForce's Returns Processing service a retailer can link its tills to the specialist logistics provider's in-house ReSCU (Reverse Stock Control Utility) system enabling counter staff to pass on the information about the return to iForce Returns Centre in Saltley, Birmingham. This gives visibility of returned stock in the supply chain. ReSCU monitors and manages that item's progress through the chain, alerting the retailer if the return hasn't arrived at the processing centre, and is therefore sitting in the retailer's warehouse, potentially losing value. This allows the retailer to pre-plan work schedules and agree disposition routes before the items are received at the returns centre.
For a retailer to change its till system to integrate data between its retail stores and the outsource returns processing company to gain this end-to-end vision is, however, a massive operation requiring long development schedules. Many retailers have an IT strategy that due to the constant IT demands means this will joins the bottom of the priority list, delaying implementation possibly by several years.
While iForce and ReSCU™ can happily receive product sent 'blind' by the retailer, by doing this the retailer will lose a visibility of the asset, because the first time iForce knows that there is product of value being returned is when it arrives at Saltley.
The ResponseAvoiding till integration
To provide the end-to-end vision at a fraction of the cost of integrating a till system and without a need for long development schedules iForce, together with a web-solutions company called Inventicus, wrote a web application for ReSCU™.
This allows the retailer to link the asset chain from the store to the asset value recovery without till integration. All that is required is an Internet connection, which means a retailer's IT development team need not spend time setting up a bespoke system. Furthermore, just like using a wired-up till connection, this connectivity enables utilisation of the full ReSCU™ capability, which has the potential to save the retailer a lot of money. The retail assistant can simply click on an icon on a computer screen to process the return.
The Net Result
With ReSCU's™ web application, iForce is can provide the ideal service for clients who are looking for a Returns Processing solution that do not have time or resource to develop an integrated data system.
Mark Hewitt, CEO of iForce comments: “Not only do retailers gain more control over their supply chain, they will find a threefold costs benefit: the retailer gains value from the asset, the retailer does not have to spend time and resources on developing their tills and, finally, by virtue of managing the returns process proactively – the retailer can improve the percentage of these first two factors by ensuring the asset is not sitting on a warehouse floor losing value.”