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Powering the Reverse Supply Chain through Big Data and IT

The reverse supply chain has taken a backseat to the forward supply chain when it comes to technology and innovation. However, with increased complexities in the business landscape, such as corporate regulation, sustainability pressures, and need for cost reductions; streamlined and thoughtful processes for your surplus can go a long way toward enhancing total supply chain value.

Every business has surplus it needs to manage and dispose of. Incorporating best practices, such as big data and analytics, into the reverse supply chain improves the ability for an organization to correlate complex data in real time, matching demand to inventories in a global basis, while ensuring that the final disposition of the assets is in compliance with usage and export regulations. Once these strategies are effectively implemented, businesses can benefit from greater efficiency, performance measurability, and generation of financial results.

A More Efficient Reverse Supply Chain

Organizations typically invest their time and resources in creating a streamlined forward supply chain. The same benefits they receive in acquiring equipment or creating products are often lost when it comes to reverse logistics. Surplus is left idle or stored, taking up otherwise valuable space, or in the case of many organizations dealing with excess inventory, added onto the plate of operations teams as another task on their already long laundry list of “things to do.” Just as IT has served as an instrument of change in the forward supply chain, technology plays a key role in the reverse supply chain.

Traditional warehouse management systems are fine tuned to reduce the risk of shortages, optimizing reordering points and quantities, and providing reliable accounting valuations for assets. Similar technology innovations for warehouse management, when applied to the reverse supply chain, enable the enterprise to work more efficiently and drive greater recovery values by serving. Other critical tools are asset management systems, such as AssetZone, a web-based tool that allows employees across the enterprise to dispose of and procure surplus from multiple locations. This scalable tool holds a breadth of data on surplus and allows the appointed project manager to set criteria, such as security authorization levels and the time range that surplus is available for internal redeployment before being moved to an external marketplace for sale.


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