Reverse Logistics

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My First Blog

My New Year resolution for 2006 is to start a blog to share my views and stimulate discussion on issues relating to reverse logistics, service logistics, or the after market supply chain. So here goes:-

I have been working in Service Logistics in the IT sector now for nineteen years and to get this blog started I asked myself what is the most important single lesson I learned in all that time. What gem of information could I share with blog readers with an interest in Reverse Logistics that would be of most value to them? And the answer is undoubtedly; you must know what is the oldest RMA in your process and you should be doing something about it.

A quick explanation of what this means is as follows. If you are the manager of an After Sales Service Centre, or you are responsible for After Sales Service for a manufacturing company you are obliged by law (and by good marketing practice) to offer a Warranty on the products you sell. An RMA (short for Return Material authorization) is the name given to each return from a customer for credit, exchange or repair. The TAT (short for Turn Around Time) is length of time from the customer complaining, to the customer getting satisfaction. (Memo to self, do a blog in the future that talks about different definitions of TAT and how Microsoft measure it for XBOX repairs. Its not as simple as it sounds.) If you know which RMA, currently in process, has the oldest TAT then you know your current case of worst customer service.

The benefits of knowing this simple fact are enormous. Funnily enough, fixing the problem that is holding up your oldest RMA usually gets a whole load of other RMAs moving also. Customer complains plummet. Average TAT decreases. Nirvana ensues.

OK, so that's the best piece of information I could come up with. If you are an After Sales Service Manager why don't you share your best gem with me.

Update on 6th January, 2006:
The development team at Chip eServices read my blog above and as a New Year present to me they put the details of the oldest RMA on every Warrantor and Service Centre login screen for the application. It kind of hits you in the face when you login.

Thanks guys! Let me know the customer feedback.


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