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Supply Chain & Reverse Logistics

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For businesses competing in the service space, it’s easy to get caught up in managing your workforce, routing, and order management, but just as important is how serviceable assets and parts move both to and from a customer’s site. Organizations have struggled with mapping and managing Reverse Logistics in the past, but new technologies and a thoughtful understanding of your business makes these processes increasingly manageable, leading to a state of relative maturity among reverse…

It’s easy for organizations to think about reverse logistics as parts management in reverse, and because of that, many firms settle on a boilerplate parts management solution and expect it to manage the dense cloud of inventory challenges that reverse logistics represents. Reverse logistics is much more than returns, though. For most service firms, it’s removing an asset or part from a customer, the act of repair or replacement, and getting that part back. It’s…

I wrote an article on day one of PTC’s LiveWorx19 event last week that discussed what I heard during the keynote: an acknowledgement of the complexity of the digital transformation journey. I find it refreshing when executives within the technology community seem to genuinely appreciate how significant of a shift is really taking place in service and own the fact that the transformation isn’t just about the technology, but about really re-engineering the business from…

Amazon has put its hands into a great many cookie jars over the last two and a half decades — from bookseller, to big box store, to technology company, to seller of behavior data. Amazon has long since expanded its brand cachet, its recent acquisitions showing a desire to disseminate itself from the moniker of “Seattle-based monolith” into our local neighborhoods through grocery stores and, improbably, brick-and-mortar bookstores. To further cement that local presence, in…

Enterprise software solutions are widespread, but not until recently have integrated, multi-function, end-to-end systems been available for global deployments in the Reverse Logistics industry. Many companies involved in Reverse Logistics management including the return of spare parts and/or distressed products have had to deal with a myriad of fragmented, disjointed, and disparate systems to collect, store, and manage key data related to Reverse Lifecycle processes and functions. In short, many firms miss opportunities or incur…

As I approach 11 years in this industry, I can’t help but reflect back on not only my personal journey but all of the ways in which the industry has progressed. What strikes me is the realization that we’ve finally arrived in the future of field service! My early days were filled with writing articles on real-time knowledge transfer, the use of field mobility, and integration of GPS data. A few years later it was IoT’s early coverage (then referred to as M2M).

Service Parts Logistics Management represents the largest investment and second largest operating expense within an Aftermarket Service or Field Service Organization (FSO). Service parts also represents one of the most critical resources required for ensuring high first-time fix rates and recurring revenue. Therefore, anything that a FSO can do to improve the productivity, efficiency, or quality of the service parts logistics pipeline will have a dramatic positive impact of financial performance and customer satisfaction. To…