Reverse Logistics in the Uk Retail Sector

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“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19.

Effective and efficient management of product returns is an intriguing practical and research question. Growing green concerns and advancement of reverse logistics (RL) concepts and practices make it all the more relevant. Three drivers (economic, regulatory and consumer pressure) drive product returns worldwide. This has also gained momentum because of fierce global competitiveness, heightened customer expectations, pressures on profitability and superior supply
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However it generalizes “point of consumption” to “a manufacturing, distribution or use point” and “point of origin” to “a point of recovery or point of proper disposal.” In this way we give margin to return flows that were not consumed first (for instance, stock adjustments due to overstocks or spare parts which were not used). We employ the expression “point of recovery” instead of “point of origin” since flows may go back to other points of recovery than the original (e.g. collected computer chips may enter another chain). Besides this, “point of recovery” stresses the distinction we want to make between reverse logistics and pure waste management activities. Furthermore, we include the reverse direction through the term “backward flows,” to exclude what can be considered as forward recovery. For instance, when a consumer gives his/her personal computer to the neighbour. In summary, the definition of Reverse Logistics has changed over time, starting with a sense of reverse direction, going through an overemphasis on environmental aspects, coming back to the original pillars of the concept, and finally widening its scope. For other discussions on the evolution of the definition of reverse logistics, we refer to Rogers and Tibben-Lembke (2001) and to Fernand´ez (2003).

Since Reverse Logistics is a relatively new research and empirical area, the
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