Are your shipping costs getting out of control?

Reduce your overheads with Right Size packaging!

If you are looking to reduce your overheads, one often overlooked aspect of cost reduction is the choice of packaging, according to a study by the Guardian, oversized packaging leads to five million unnecessary delivery journeys every year. By adopting the principle of Right Size packaging, businesses can achieve significant savings in multiple areas.

For any business involved in transporting, handling, or storing products, adopting packaging solutions that perfectly fit your products can lead to a multitude of advantages.

Right Size packaging means fewer material costs, which then means fewer production costs and handling fees. It also results in a reduction of transport costs as more packages can fit on a pallet, or cheaper parcel brackets if you’re sending individual products. And finally, you can store more products for less, which also increases your buffer stock, building a more resilient supply chain.

How have we got to this point with excess packaging? Businesses often buy large volumes of stock packaging to reduce unit costs. This means they have just a few packaging options for all their products. This results in products being shipped in the nearest fitting packaging, regardless of their size. This practice is expensive and wasteful.


The benefits of Right Size

  1. Cost-Effective Shipping

The primary and most immediate benefit of Right Size packaging is cost effective shipping. When the packaging matches the exact dimensions and weight of the products, businesses eliminate the expense of excess materials. This translates into significant savings on shipping costs.

  1. Enhanced Storage Efficiency

Every square inch of storage space matters, especially in growing businesses. With Right Size solutions, businesses can maximise their warehouse space by using packaging that fits their products precisely. This optimisation means fewer trips to replenish stock, reducing labour costs and enhancing storage space utilisation.

  1. Efficient Transportation

Efficiency in transportation is a key driver of cost savings. Right Size packaging increases the density of products within each shipment, making the most of the available space in trucks, containers, and cargo holds. This means fewer trips and less fuel consumption.

  1. Minimised Damage and Returns

Oversized packaging often leads to products shifting and getting damaged during transit. By using Right Size packaging, products remain secure, and the risk of damage is greatly reduced. This not only cuts the cost associated with damaged goods but also lowers the number of product returns, saving money on shipping and restocking.

  1. Streamlined Handling

Efficient handling of packages is a critical aspect of logistics. Right Size packaging simplifies the loading and unloading process, eliminating the need for excessive handling. This not only saves time and labour during each shipment but also optimises workflow, resulting in reduced labour expenses and increased productivity.


How Ribble can help?

Adopting Ribble Right Size solutions can have a transformative impact on shipping and logistics, it’s the most effective and efficient packaging for your product.

Whether you are a manufacturer of one product or a retailer of many, it significantly reduces your overheads and shipping costs, optimises storage and transportation efficiency, and minimises damage and returns.

Ribble’s Right Size solutions combine industry leading Fanfold material and state of the art technology to create the perfect size box for all your products.

By prioritising Right Size packaging in your logistics operations, your business can unlock a host of benefits that ultimately contribute to long-term success and cost savings in a highly competitive environment.

How to reduce your packaging spend when prices are going up

With prices rising throughout the supply chain, many companies will be looking for ways to help reduce costs. One way businesses can do this is through their packaging costs.

When did you last review why you are using the packaging design and components that you are using? Do you need all of the components you are currently using?  Is there a better way to package this product?

Challenging your current packaging design can result in large potential savings, the packaging market is very dynamic and as a result new materials and systems are being launched regularly.  By sticking with the status-quo you risk losing out on savings that could be made by changing to a more cost-effective packaging design.

What items can you eliminate from your packaging process?  Often extra packaging is added to items to compensate for an underlying root problem.  This is neither a lean nor cost effective solution.  Analysing the process may identify unnecessary packaging items within your packaging.

Reduce your packaging costs by changing to a Right-Size packaging solution

Whether you are a manufacturer of one product or a retailer of many, using Right Size packaging allows you to create a more sustainable packaging process while reducing your packaging costs.
Right Size solutions combine Ribble’s industry leading Fanfold material and state of the art technology to create the perfect size box for all your products.

This product is flexible, cost-effective and can be converted into Fanfold packaging which is a long piece of corrugated board scored at regular intervals and folded neatly and compactly. Fanfold can then be used to pack single or multiple products by feeding it into fully automated packaging machines to create an exact size box and therefore, eliminate waste.

Ribble Packaging are the European market leader for the manufacture and supply of corrugated Fanfold, in addition to pioneering Right Size packaging solutions in the UK.

Benefits of changing to a Right-Size packaging solution:

  • Save around 30-40% on packaging costs by using Right Size and only buying fanfold
  • Eliminate obsolete packaging purchases by making only the boxes you require
  • Eliminate plastic packaging by using the Right Size box
  • Reduce transport costs by fitting more onto vehicles

How Ribble can help?

At Ribble, our Right Size packaging can help your business save money, plastic packaging, and transport costs. Contact us today to see how our packaging can benefit your business.

Packaging in 2022 – The key solutions for the New Year

Since the beginning of the pandemic, retail has seen a significant shift to ecommerce shopping methods. With that brings increased need for additional packaging when transporting and shipping goods.

As a result, this will continue to increase the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

We have been exploring the key packaging solutions that we believe will become increasingly popular in the new year.

Packaging Automation

With COVID 19 continuing to be a threat across the globe, the automation of packaging will continue to be important for many manufacturers and distributors. This will reduce the amount of workers needed within one space and overall costs to the business too.

Not only that, automating your process will allow the business to increase their targets, which will continue to improve efficiency.

Ecommerce Packaging

The shift in consumer behaviour since the beginning of the pandemic is highly unlikely to ever return to pre-COVID levels. As a result, consumers will continue to expect a smooth and flawless experience – from browsing their purchase to placing their order and its delivery.

This means every detail, right down to the packaging must impress. Consumers are aware of the environmental issues facing the planet and with that they expect to see changes to the ways in which their goods are packaged and delivered to them. Reducing unnecessary and excess packaging is a crucial step in that process.

Reusable Packaging

Reusable packaging has become very popular in recent years and can be seen in more and more shapes and forms. Whether that is reusable plastic for cleaning products or paper bags that can also be used as wrapping paper.

When packaging isn’t necessarily reusable, it is important for consumers that it is made from recycled materials or can be recycled once used.

Ribble Right Size

At Ribble our Right Size Packaging solutions allows you to reduce excess packaging and create a sustainable alternative that reduces costs by creating custom packaging solutions to meet your needs. We use 100% recycled cardboard that is 100% recyclable, meaning it is the perfect sustainable solution.

The benefits for choosing Right Size can be seen in the reduced need for void fillers within your boxes due to the packaging being custom created for whatever you are distributing; you can improve your vehicle utilisation by up to 25% and the creation of a more environmentally sustainable packaging process.

Get in touch today to discuss how Right Size can improve your business packaging solutions.

How I discovered the Right Size solution for returns management

I joined Ribble Packaging in April 2021 as a Business Development Manager with a primary objective to sell Panotec automated box making machines and Fanfold corrugated board.

The moment I investigated the type of machinery I would be offering, I was sold. A machine, that produces the perfect size box, within a matter of seconds, on site, on demand? Where can I buy one of these for my garage?! I could instantly see the benefit and asked myself ‘why have I never heard of this before, its genius!’

After my induction and training, I was allocated a handful of accounts to manage, including a number of high-profile retailers. I was surprised, shocked, and intrigued when I heard some used their Panotec box maker solely to package returned product, ready for re-sale. My mind started to wander. I visited one of their sites to see their operation firsthand and was very impressed. They use the Panotec bar code scanning system. This means they input the dimensions and sizes of the box they require and marry that up with the product bar code. They now have a database of hundreds of products which, with the scan of a bar code, can replicate the same box style almost immediately.

This got me thinking, what normally happens to these returns? Well, after a small amount of research, the options became very clear. Either: order new packaging, send back to be re-boxed, send to landfill or palletize with other products and sell on to someone who will try and a make a pound or two (often making a YouTube video titled: I bought this pallet full of returns & made £££££) either way, companies are loosing a vast amount money.

Ribble also work with a manufacturer who also use their machine solely for returns. This company have saved over £250,000 in their first few months of using their Panotec machine.

Now, when I speak with prospective clients, returns are always something I’ll discuss. Not only can Right Size revolutionize the way you handle returns, it also:

  • Reduces your annual corrugated spend (generally by 20-30%).
  • Eliminates the need to stockpile boxes which are the wrong size for your product.
  • Improves vehicle utilization by up to 25%.
  • Saves huge labour costs.
  • Hugely reduces the requirement for void fillers and other plastic packaging
  • Creates an environmentally sustainable packaging process.

Often, the return on investment for one of our machines is only a couple of years. Ribble will work with you to optimize the way you package. We can also offer several payment options to suit your businesses individual requirements.

For the company I mentioned earlier, they have generated an additional £250,000 in only a couple of months. This means their machine has paid for itself twice over, they have reduced the amount of product going to landfill and taken full control over their packaging.

Does this all sound too good to be true?!?!  Well, I can assure you it’s not, and that’s the exact reason I took the job back in April. Ribble are a hugely credible company, with oodles of experience and a history of manufacturing cardboard since 1938. I am now pleased to be a part of their heritage.

Packaging for Fulfilment: Building a futureproof outbound and inbound process

Over the past decade, more and more people are conscious about how they live and what they consume. Not only are they fanatical about the products in terms of where they come from and how they’re made, but it’s also the product packaging that matters and whilst many are using recyclable materials – excess packaging remains a problem amongst many Fulfilment companies.

The constant battle between finding the perfect size box for each order and having a large product inventory of all shapes and sizes continues to be a struggle for packaging warehouses across nearly every industry. With many brands facing the challenge of losing their customers due to excess waste and overuse of void fillers, it’s a problem that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later…

According to Ipsos MORI, “63% of global consumers say they would be willing to change where they shop if it meant they would use less packaging”. This is a huge percentage and has led to quite the battlefield amongst businesses feeling the pressure to waste less. Consumers no longer just accept excess packaging as a norm, they want to see companies encouraging their values and pushing for sustainable and eco-friendly options.

In the digital world we live in, it’s too easy for a brand reputation to be damaged. Within just 5 seconds, consumers can reach out to Twitter where according to Brand Watch, 80% of users have previously mentioned a brand in a tweet and during the last two years, there has been a significant increase in customer service conversations. To futureproof your business, now is the time to put a strategy in place to avoid these issues and determine how you can resolve it or even prevent it.

At Ribble packaging, we offer right-size packaging for all our customers. By having the ability to make custom-size boxes for each order on demand, Fulfilment centres never have to use wasted void fillers in their packaging again. By eliminating void fillers and using the right size packaging, fulfilment companies can gain back around 25% of free space on transportation vehicles, meaning more products can be packed on each delivery resulting on possible transportation savings. Their customers can also repack returns in the perfect size packaging so that it can easily be returned – saving time, money and resources. Warehouses won’t require such a large packaging inventory to fit all shapes and sizes as the solutions we offer will do everything for you; freeing up space that can be filled with more stock; thus, enabling a more cost-effective system.

Don’t just take out word for it…

Fulfilment companies including XPO and Clipper are already reaping the benefits of using Ribble right-size packaging…

“It’s just over 5 years ago that we took the decision to purchase our Panotec machine here at Studio in Failsworth and a second one followed not long after being fitted at one of our other sites! What a difference this has made to how we do some things here at Studio, the machine paid for itself in just 6 months. The machine is efficient, very robust and produces good quality packaging. I would recommend to any business looking to save money but keeping quality to purchase one of these.”

Mel Bradley, Reverse Logistics Manager, Studio Retail Ltd

At Ribble, we value the environment and strive to have a 100% sustainable packaging process that removes any use of void fillers and saves you money! To find out how you can futureproof your packaging Fulfilment Services, get in touch and we can arrange a free 15-minute virtual demo. Visit for more information.

Boxes Are Affecting Your Transportation Cost in Logistics

When it comes to logistics, online companies generally spend more on the transport of goods than anything else; some industry experts estimate transportation costs in logistics can run as high as 50%.

This is especially true of ecommerce sites whose business model relies on being able to get their products to their customers as quickly as possible and who don’t have the benefit of bricks and mortar stores where people can ‘click and collect’ their purchases.

How packaging can reduce transportation costs in logistics

Packaging is incredibly important when it comes to shipping goods.  It needs to be strong, sturdy and able to protect what’s inside, making sure it reaches its destination in the same condition as it left your warehouse (and keeping your customer happy).  

Typically, this has meant online stores using standard-sized boxes and protecting the contents with additional packaging material such as bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts.  While this may go a long way to reducing the risk of goods being damaged in transit, it also goes a long way to increasing your transportation costs in logistics because you are basically paying to ship air.  

Every cubic inch of your packaging that doesn’t contain your product and contains packaging materials instead – or nothing at all – is costing you money.  You can save this money by reducing the size of the boxes you use for your packaging.

If you ship large quantities of goods and have your own delivery trucks, reducing the size of your packaging means you can get more boxes into each vehicle.  The more boxes you can get into a truck, the fewer journeys you need to make, and the less you end up spending on fuel.

If you use a courier service or Royal Mail to ship your goods, you will generally be charged by either size or weight.  Reducing the size of the packaging will, therefore, automatically save you money.

As reducing the size of your packaging also means a reduction in additional packaging material you’ll also save money if you are charged by weight; your packages will weigh less because they are not only smaller but contain less unnecessary packaging material.

How to protect your goods when you reduce your packaging

Many companies don’t use less packaging, even though they know if they can reduce their transportation costs in logistics because they are afraid their goods will end up getting damaged in transit. It isn’t necessarily the case, however, that this will happen.  In fact, if you use the right type of packaging, you could end up with a higher level of protection that you had when using traditional boxes.

A lot of traditional packaging boxes, for example, are what is known as a single wall, which isn’t that strong in reality.  Others use corrugated cardboard which is stronger but can still buckle or tear in transit if not handled correctly, which is why additional packaging materials are used.   For packaging to help reduce your transportation costs in logistics, you need to look at it in a different way.

Think, instead, of using bespoke packaging.  Look for companies who are able to make boxes that fit the items you are selling, including those that offer Right Size Solutions. These not only produce boxes that perfectly fit the goods you want to ship but do so only when you need them. This means you aren’t paying for packaging you don’t need or having to worry about where you need to store it.    

Other ways packaging can save you money

As well as saving you money on transportation costs in logistics, getting the size of your packaging right can also save you money when it comes to warehousing.  The less packaging you use, the more goods you can store in less space; as most warehouse costs are calculated in square footage, the less you use, the less it will cost.   

There are staffing efficiencies too – smaller boxes are easier to handle and often quicker to move by your warehouse teams.

Using Right Size Solutions can also save you money because they automate the process of producing boxes as and when needed.  Firstly, you don’t need to find space in your warehouse to store them, which will save you money as we’ve already seen.

In addition, you save time – and more money – because a machine puts them together rather than a person who can probably be better utilised somewhere else in your business.

What Is Inbound Logistics In Retail?

Inbound logistics is an integral step in a supply chain as it is an essential value-adding element. In retail, inbound logistics refers to receiving your inventory or raw materials that your manufacture to create a new product. Being at the beginning of your supply chain and one of the first steps in your business process, inbound logistics are a critical step. To avoid problems further along in the supply chain, having a robust inbound logistics process is vital.

Why is inbound logistics so important in retail?

While inbound logistics have always played a prominent role in retail, the importance has grown dramatically in the last decade. With a demand for real-time data and instant delivery for both inbound and outbound logistics, having a well-coordinated inbound logistics strategy is essential.

For retail businesses, it is essential for their inbound logistics program to have visibility, with aspects such as real-time dashboards and shorter delivery times. Data analysis and trend monitoring are also necessary so that it can assist processes further down the supply chain such as during outbound logistics and reverse logistics.

For businesses looking to speed-up the supply chain and increase customer satisfaction, inbound logistics is an important aspect of reviewing and making for a leaner operation. It is critical to evaluate the task used for inbound logistics and eradicate as many of the processes that don’t add value.

What is the difference between inbound and outbound logistics?

In simple terms, inbound logistics is between suppliers and the business and outbound logistics. Inbound logistics for retailers doesn’t just have to cover raw materials to make products; it could be stock as well as tools, equipment and business essentials. Anything that you add to your inventory from a supplier can be considered inbound logistics.

Outbound logistics are the processes in place to get your retail goods to your customers; this may be via post, delivery lorries or freight to other businesses who use your business as a supplier. Whether business to business or business to consumer, outbound logistics is another important aspect of the supply chain that can be hampered by delays in the inbound logistics process.

Inbound and reverse logistics

Another aspect of logistics is reverse logistics, whereby customers return items back to your business through damage, fault, end of life or repairs. With e-commerce and a change in customer, attitudes mean that returns are becoming more and more popular.

Reverse logistics can be a way to find value through returns. For example, Ribble Right Size allows you to repack returned items in a perfectly size box on demand. What’s more, this process also helps to speed up the returns process meaning you can get the product back on the shelf ready for a customer purchase.

In many ways reverse logistics need to be treated in the same way as inbound logistics as the process for receiving items is similar. With a beneficial returns process where you create value from a return, the way you can efficiently turn the item around from goods receiving into goods departing is a sign of a robust and managed inbound logistics process.

Inbound logistic considerations for retailers

Without a reliable inbound logistics process, it can be disastrous for businesses. A slow and unpredictable supply of goods can cause problems with customer dissatisfaction and lose revenue. Other considerations that retailers must consider for their inbound logistics processes include;


Just like your customers, your business should be looking for speedier and more efficient ways to receive goods from suppliers. Automation services that can not only increase capacity and loading but also track packages can be vital in giving your customers an appropriate lead time for their goods.

Technologies that automate tasks such as the labour involved will also need a review to help get your goods moving quickly and cost-effectively.


Once goods are received from inbound logistic process how quickly are they added to your inventory and put away ready for sale? Processing can be an aspect which can be improved through a better inbound logistics process. By knowing what you’re going to receive and when, your warehouse and team can be prepared, reducing congestion and ensuring that your inventory is meticulously up to date.

Reverse logistics

Receiving returns as well as new stock can cause challenges for processing and storage. With correct identification labels, staff can receive, process and add items back into the inventory quickly. Another benefit of a more efficient returns process is the speed the customer sees, allowing them to be credited quicker and improving their perception of your business.

If you want to improve your reverse logistics process as part of your inbound logistics strategy, then get in touch with the team at Ribble.

What Is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is a vast area that covers all of the processes and activities involved in the supply chain. It has only been in recent years that the term supply chain management (SCM) has been thrown into the limelight and people are beginning to take its importance seriously. Nowadays an efficient and effective supply chain is something that businesses need to continuously work and strive for.

Why is supply chain management so important?

Supply chain management has two core functions, it enables customers to receive value, and it also encourages an efficient practice that gives a business a sustainable and competitive advantage.

In order to do this, supply chain management needs to review, manage and oversee all of the supply chain activities, both internally and externally. To ensure an effective and efficient system, every single action must be covered from logistics, information and product sourcing.

In a busy market, where competition is rife, it has never been so important to ensure an efficient operation that meets business needs but also focuses on consumer trends and requirements.

Who is supply chain management for?

Wherever you look, the processes of supply chain management are happening around you. A trip to the shop offers a multitude of supply chain activities such as planning, forecasting, information relay and logistics to make sure the item you want is in stock.

Some businesses will focus their attention on singular supply activities in order to improve their system. However, every process is a cog in the supply chain system and to gain maximum value, and efficiency a complete supply chain management system should be implemented to ensure each process is efficient, timely and effective.

For any business, meeting customer requirements is critical and to do this; it is important that everything is done correctly in the supply chain. Supply chain management is vital for any business that wants to complete tasks successfully and make their customers happy.

What are the key supply chain management activities?

There are many processes and events involved in the supply chain system utilising both physical (e.g. logistics) and information (e.g. forecasting) flows. Some of the key areas on focus in the management system include;

  1. Preparation

To create a supply chain that works, a chain must be designed and planned with a view to executing without flaw. This activity involves research and analysis in order the predict trends, demand and risks to the system.

  1. Procurement

Before you can implement a supply chain, you must first need to ensure you have an effective buying strategy that enables you to have access to all you need during the production and delivery of your business.

  1. Creation

To create, manufacture, and produce what you want to sell, you need to understand how the supply chain will affect these tasks. This could be ensuring that materials are in place to reducing the time between processes so every activity can be completed without issue or lost time.

  1. Logistics

Once your product or service is finished, how do you get it to your customers? Even if this isn’t a physical logistics process, it will still need to be analysed to ensure that goods flow easily, safely and at the best price to provide value for you and the customer. This may mean third-party management.

  1. Reverse logistics

A point that is often forgotten is how you ensure an effective delivery of goods being returned to you for processes such as recycling, reselling, repairing and disposing. As customer returns increase, a reverse logistic process needs as much attention as your delivery of goods to your client.

  1. Customer satisfaction

If your supply chain leads to dissatisfied customers, then there is a broken process that needs to be addressed. Customer satisfaction is integral to a successful supply chain and successful business as a whole. Orders need to be fulfilled seamlessly and flawlessly to keep customers returning and to keep your business running smoothly.

Benefits of supply chain management

In a world where supply chains are growing increasingly complex, management is key. Depending on the size of your business this may be a role of one person or for a team of workers that focus on specialist activities within the system. When you manage the supply chain, you’ll see benefits such as;

  • More information for critical business decisions
  • Quicker and smoother flow
  • Improved cash flow and finance management
  • Better ways to meet customer demands
  • More flexibility for your business
  • Achieve business objectives
  • Better relationship with suppliers and clients.
Improve your supply chain management with reverse logistics

An overlooked supply chain activity is reverse logistics, however, by tapping into this area, you can see benefits such as lower costs, improved customer satisfaction, repeat business and recovered costs. Ribble Right Size can help to manage your reverse logistics process by allowing you to create the perfect size box for every product on demand. This allows you to resell goods at full value and keep a healthy bottom line for your business.

Top Six Reasons For Reverse Logistics In Retail

Reverse logistics in its simplest form is running processes and products in reverse order to gain as much value as possible.

Reverse logistics could involve returns, repairs, refurbishment and the dismantling of goods to obtain materials and therefore value. The process goes a long way in reducing the amount of waste a company produces and the subsequent effects on the environment.

There is also evidence that shows business response times are a lot faster due to the implementation of reverse logistics, therefore creating a better experience and allowing for better customer service.

So, there are certainly benefits to implementing reverse logistics, but it will all come down to the pros and cons and the type of business that is being operated.

What are the reasons for reverse logistics in online retail?


  • The rate of returns


Returns are widespread within the retail industry. The percentage of returns through in-store retail is nowhere close in comparison with the online retail sector. This is by and large to do with the fact that when people make purchases online, they can only usually see what they are buying and not test it or try it. Therefore returns are not only common; they are to be expected as standard.

Online retail is booming with shopping habits a lot different to 20 years ago. So the bigger the online shopping world becomes, the more returns will occur.  This means that the returns system is crucial to an operation. Having a smooth reverse logistics process is not just a benefit, it is a requirement.


  • Saving money


By operating with a returns logistics system, it will save a company a lot of money. So, for example, when a customer buys a product and it is returned. Instead of the product being thrown away or wasted, it is put back through the process and through to resale. It could, for example, involve some refurbishment work, but instead of the product being binned, it will be sold. So that means you could gain some or all the original value back.

Also, if a product is thrown away, it will need another to replace it which costs money too. For your online business, stock levels are important, so keep them topped up by maximising your use of returned goods.

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  • Environmentally friendly


One of the biggest reasons for reverse logistics is the environment. By reducing the amount of waste that is produced by a company, you are effectively helping the environment. People around the world are working together to help the environment and customers respect businesses who follow suit.

By utilising reverse logistics, because the products are not going to waste and are being put back out for sale, the amount of waste produced will decrease dramatically. Therefore, it will have a positive effect on the environment and people will appreciate that an effort is being made to do so too.


  • Stock availability


There’s nothing worse for an online retailer than running out of stock. This could be due to selling out and then having to wait for the supplier to come good with more stock or the manufacturer to produce more. Because reverse logistics is a continuously running cycle, you’ll always get stock coming back through for resale. You always get returns too.

So, when a product is returned, if it goes back on sale, it keeps the steady flow of stock going. Therefore it will prevent online retailers having to declare items sold out as often.


  • Feedback


When products are returned, the retailer is going to find out why. It could be due to a one-off fault, or the customer may just not have liked the item. If the returns that are coming through are due to some sort of manufacturing issue, for example, and there’s enough of them to show a common problem, then reverse logistics can come into play.

First of all, the manufacturer or supplier can make adjustments going forward. Also, the returned items could be dismantled or refurbished to resolve the issue. This means they will end up back on sale and value can be reclaimed. Trends are everything, and by spotting the negative ones, it allows solutions to be put in place.


  • Customer service


In any business, the most important things are the customer and their happiness . Shoppers these days are budget focused and those who shop online, even more so. Making returns in the past for a lot of people was a cause for embarrassment, but in the modern day, people are more inclined to send items back if they’re not totally happy with them.

An efficient reverse logistics system allows returns to run more smoothly. This is something that will encourage the customer to make repeat business. They’ll also praise the company and recommend your service to other people, potentially new customers, so again it helps enhance the company reputation as well as revenue.

Make sure your returns run smoothly

Now you know the main reasons for reverse logistics, if you’re looking to set up or improve your reverse logistics process for your online business, then Ribble Right Size is here to help. With Right Size, you can repackage returned items in a perfectly sized box, ready to resell and enjoy maximum value and profit.

What is Reverse Logistics Management?

In today’s world, the logistical support goes beyond the typical forward logistics and includes product recall, product disposal, and product recycling too. All the remanufacturing and refurbishing activities can be incorporated in the definition of reverse logistics.

Reverse logistics management covers the procedures which are associated with the return, maintenance, repair, dismantling and even recycling of products and their materials. It includes the reversal of the running products through the supply chain so that maximum value can be attained.

In 1992, James R. Stock for the very first time used the term reverse logistics in a white paper titled with the same name. It was in 1998 when the concept was further explained and refined by him in the book “Development and Implementation of Reverse Logistics Programs”.

Since then, reverse logistics management has not only been considered an attractive process for businesses to follow but a necessity. Especially as sectors such as online retail grows and the fact that customers are now budget-conscious and will return products they aren’t happy with.

Usually, logistics deals with the events which bring the product to the customers whereas, in reverse logistics, the resource or the product need to go back at least one step to reach the client. It is important to note that even if the product has to go back only one step, there can be many processes involved to make that happen.

Processes of Reverse Logistics Management

There are numerous aftermarket processes through which a product goes in reverse logistics. These include:


The product is rebuilt by using parts which are either repaired, reused, or can be new too. This is done to provide an enhanced life to the product.


The resale of a product which has been repaired and is now in a condition as good as new comes under refurbishment.


This is a comprehensive category and includes field service, customer service, and issuance of return merchandise authorisation for product returns in it.

Return Management

When the products are returned because of any issue or defect, they are taken care of through this process.

Recycling and Waste Management

When a product reaches its life or becomes defected due to any reason then instead of just disposing of it, the materials can be utilised for the development of another product.

Warranty Warehouse

When the products in warranty are returned due to any minor or major defect, the warranty is managed through reverse logistics. The flaw is fixed, and the product is returned to the customer, or in some severe cases, replaced with a new product.

Warehouse Management

The management of the warehouse where all the remanufacturing and repairing takes place is also carried out under reverse logistics management. As seamless reverse logistics management process will also create a well-organised and ordered warehouse, which works seamlessly to offer goods out, goods in and goods under review, repair, re-testing and repackaging.

Importance of Reverse Logistics

The most important question here is why is it important for retailers to deal with reverse logistics? This is because this helps them in improving their customer service and provide better response times to them. The manufacturers are able to reduce their environmental impact and bring a positive change to the overall corporate environment.

In a system where logistics is used, it is vital that reverse logistics is incorporated into the planning and process creation, as without reverse logistics, you can’t have an effective, operational logistics program.

Here are the benefits which organisations can reap through reverse logistics management:

Profitable and Efficient Business

Through better planning, effective management, and skilled execution, the process of reverse logistics tends to become profitable for the businesses. Because of generous return policies, the retailers might order a greater stock, and in the same way, customers will be buying more products too. This is because retailers know that the company will help them if there is something wrong with the product or if they are not comfortable using it.

Good Image for the Customers

If a company is ready to offer return and exchange policy, then this means that they care about their clients and are willing to take responsibility for any kind of fault. This shows that their ultimate goal is the satisfaction of the customers instead of making huge profits. A caring reverse logistics strategy can make the customers choose a particular company out of the entire lot and in turn, this benefits the retailers too with higher sales.

Proper Disposal of Products

Through reverse logistics, the companies follow proper disposal of goods which keeps them in line with the environmental compliances. This not only helps them in reducing their footprint on the planet but creates their philanthropist image in front of the customers too. Moreover, the materials and products can be reutilized which are in a perfectly fine and resellable condition.

Strategies for Success

As customers are becoming extremely sophisticated in their purchasing decisions with the environmental laws taking a forefront too, the companies are looking to redefine their return and exchange policies. The goal is to increase value amongst the customers and to build strong loyalty.

Some of the most effective strategies for reverse logistics which are being used by leading multinationals including Hewlett-Packard, Eastman Kodak are:

  • Reducing the amount of waste in the environment which also leads to lower operating costs and compliance with the laws.
  • Recovering the costs which are associated with collecting raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, and waste disposal.
  • Realising the importance of user-friendliness for any product and investing in the user manuals to make them easily comprehensible.
  • Retailers, vendors, and logistics companies working together to control the number of returned products.
  • Conducting spot audits helps in reducing discrepancies and thus, controls the number of claims made.

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Challenges of Reverse Logistics Management

Reverse logistics comes with its own share of problems which can be overcome when the entire team of vendors, retailers, and logistics companies come together to face them.

Difference in Pricing

Depending on the type of product, the prices might fluctuate speedily so it is imperative that the merchandise which is put into the return mode must be handled expeditiously. The returns should be processed rapidly by the retailers and the vendors before it becomes too expensive for them.

Performing All the Retailing Tasks Again

The entire responsibility of shortening the time relies on many processes and often many providers in the steps between return origination up until the reselling of the product.  They are involved in collecting, scanning, invoicing, and dispositioning of the products and need to make sure that the return is done within the given time while ensuring the ultimate satisfaction of the customers.

With this in mind, it is vital that the entire reverse logistics management is well thought out and implemented. With so much at stake, from customer satisfaction to the bottom line your reverse logistics management needs to be robust and comprehensive managing all risks and possible scenarios.

In many cases, leaving your entire reverse logistics management to one provider often allows businesses to have a more manageable trail, ensuring that there will not be a breakdown in the chain of processes. It can also help to make sure that the act of completing the same transactions again from the start can be met with ease rather than complications.  

Stay Competitive

There is immense competition in the retail industry and to stay ahead in it, the retailers rely on their return policies as a competitive weapon. In the modern times, these retailers have become more powerful than the manufacturers, and if any manufacturer doesn’t offer a return policy, the chances are high that the retailer will not take their product.

It is the same for consumers who have the power and command over the retailer, without a returns policy, customers will choose your competitor who offers a better service.

All in all, staying competitive means making reverse logistics management as important as forwarding logistics management.

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