Building A Well-Established RMA Returns Program
Handling returns internally can be a headache for your supply chain team, and even more so for your customers. After all, you are focused on building amazing products and after the next best model for your customers. But product returns are an inescapable reality for most businesses, especially those with large customers and installed product in the field.
Reverse logistics or returns management is a crucial component of your supply chain process, and a well-managed returns program can help you stay ahead of the game.
Regardless of the quality you put into your product, even a small percentage coming back from the field needs to be handled with a well thought out plan. Rather than throw away devices that simply are not working, in turn creating e-waste, repair programs are an easy way to get product back to customers. At Renova Technology, we address a host of RMA programs from simple to complex (repair and return, advanced exchange, forward logistics, or even warranty entitlement).
Here are few effective ways at Renova Technology we build a successful RMA process for our customers:
Make the RMA Process Simple
Having a simple and straightforward RMA process can make all the difference for both your customers and your team. Your RMA process should allow customers to initiate a return request, indicate the reason for the return, and receive prompt and accurate feedback.
Having an omni-channel approach to getting product in the door is the first step. Regardless, inbound product needs a control number and all items need to be serialized upon arrival. Every item Renova receives is provided a serial number if not already provided and scanned into our facility.
According to Brooke Richards, Sr. Manager of Customer Solutions at Renova Technology, “The first step is to identify fields that are required such a serial number, part number. We then need to address the inventory management of refurbished products if an advanced exchange model.”
Effective Inventory Management:
With respect to repair RMA requests, the model your organization selects determines the inventory requirement to fulfill returns management. Do customers prefer a repaired unit or an immediate refurbished replacement? Answering the above questions will help shape the repair program is inbound, outbound, or hybrid advanced exchange of like or same parts toa specific field location (same day shipping).
To prevent stock-outs, overstocking, or product obsolescence, you should track and analyze your sales trends, monitor your inventory levels, and adjust your restocking strategy accordingly. For OEMs, better understanding the install base, locations and historic product failure trends can make all the difference.
Improving your inventory accuracy can also help you identify and resolve issues related to product quality, defects, or damages. At Renova Technology, we collect every aspect of data one can imagine with repair to provide back to our customers. Harnessing data can do just the above to solve and reduce future failures on new product iterations.
Positive Customer Service
Enhanced customer service can help you build loyalty, trust, and advocacy. Customer experience starts with the first interaction to their product shipping out from a repair facility. All boxes need to be checked from quality assurance standpoint that the customer is getting a quality repair completed.
In addition, identifying service level agreements with your 3rd party repair provider sets expectations from lead time to resolution.
Building an RMA returns program is not a one-time effort. It requires ongoing monitoring, assessment, and improvement. Keep track of your returns data, including the reasons, costs, and frequency of returns. Analyze this data to identify trends and patterns and develop strategies for improvements. After running a program for 12 months, you can look back and start to identify patterns such as seasonality or failure types that need to be addressed for future product iterations.
A well-managed RMA returns program is essential for every supply chain team. It helps improve customer satisfaction, reduce operational costs, and increase the profitability of your business. By adopting a customer-centric approach, simplifying your RMA process, you can build a robust and effective RMA returns program that works for your supply chain.
Gain insight into how Renova Technology handles RMA returns programs for world-class OEMs and enterprises.