Returns processing: Does it feel like “Mission Impossible”?

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You need a trained team to quickly get first-quality goods back on shelves at full price.

In the action spy film, Mission Impossible, secret agent Ethan Hunt must literally achieve the impossible. Always in control, he adroitly takes care of business. As a DC manager, do you see stacked shelves of returned apparel – a situation that’s clearly out of control? Given your limited resources, do you think to yourself: “Now THIS situation is mission impossible!”

If you feel like you’re failing at this mission, you’re not alone.

Many retailers fall behind in returns processing and apparel inspection. This task simply isn’t as time-sensitive as receiving new lots and shipping out customer orders, particularly during intense selling seasons. The reverse logistics process rarely gets the attention it deserves. Returns are pushed to the metaphorical backburner, processing tasks pile up, and apparel inspection is at the point of overwhelm.

Case study: Online retailer needs a crackerjack team.

A large apparel retailer struggled with this “mission impossible.” Their staff simply could not keep up with current returns. They needed a trained team to sort out first-quality goods and take steps to quickly get them back in stock. The DC’s manager researched ways to gain control of the returns processing and apparel inspection activity. They discovered Darn It, and called us.

Here’s how we helped our new customer:

  • The Distribution Center initially sent about 1000 packages of individual customer returns to us.
  • These packages had on average 1-5 items per envelope or box.
  • The Darn It Apparel Inspection and Returns Processing teams inspected each garment to ensure the units were in first-quality condition. We pressed and made minor repairs as needed (e.g., clean stains, fix stitching issues). We folded and repackaged the garments (per the customer’s routing guide) in new polybags for that brand-new look. We also printed and/or checked barcoded stickers for accuracy to ensure the DC team can quickly get the units back into stock.
  • If we found damaged units (unsellable), we separated them from the first quality units, so they wouldn’t be returned to stock.
  • Finally, we packed and manifested the shipment to ensure a streamlined receiving process back at the customers DC.

Once the customer received and audited our work, they immediately decided to ship much more down for processing.  Darn it now receives 3,000-4,000 of these packages of returns from them every week.  We have become an important arm of their business.  Thanks to our returns processing and apparel inspection services, this retailer’s returned units are no longer pushed to the backburner. They are immediately available for sale again.

Now it’s “mission POSSIBLE” thanks to Darn It. 

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