Returns processing can have a major impact on overall operation within the distribution center. Efficiently processing returns reduces the bottom line operating costs and therefore increases profits. Key functions of returns processing includes: receiving, staging, quality control, sorting, put-away, re-work & disposal.
As a product is received it is typically put into a staging area where it is then inspected to determine the next step in the returns process. When something is returned in a re-sellable condition it is typically sent back to inventory, this process is known as put away. When a product has been identified as being damaged it is either sent to an area for re-work, making it sellable again or it is sent to disposal if the product is not salvageable. Automated sortation can play a crucial role in this returns processing and is often best performed by conveyor or via a unit sorter. The product type, the process and volume of the returned product determines which is best for a particular operation.
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