Role of information technology and collaboration in reverse logistics supply chains
AbstractClosed-loop supply-chain channels are distribution systems that include activities supporting both the forward flow of goods from the manufacturer to the consumer as well as the reverse flow from the consumer to the manufacturer. In this paper, we identify the reverse logistics supply-chain channels, identify problems that companies face when they handle product returns along these channels and present the critical role that information technology and collaboration can play to mitigate many of the problems and deficiencies. A key element in reducing uncertainties in the different stages of the reverse channel of a supply chain is access to accurate and timely information on the status, location, and condition of products moving about in the supply chain. It is imperative that firms operating in the reverse supply-chain channels collaborate to integrate and share information in a timely fashion. We present a case study based on our interaction with two major consumer electronics companies and demonstrate how the use of radio frequency identification device technology in a warehousing operation can reduce the overall distribution costs for the organisation.