In our latest episode of The New Warehouse Podcast, we are excited to have Kyle Bertin, Co-Founder of Two Boxes, on the show. Two Boxes aims to revolutionize the warehousing industry by tackling inefficiencies in the returns process—a problem we all want solved. If your returns area is an eyesore and you keep throwing more labor at the problem, this episode is for you. There is an easier way, so tune in and learn how Two Boxes makes reverse logistics a competitive advantage for 3PLs and warehouses.
The Problem with Customer Returns
Kyle Bertin was looking for a problem to solve and found one in customer returns. He points out, “Last year, customers in the U.S. returned 20% of their purchases,” and e-commerce heavy merchants are seeing up to 40%, illustrating the scale of the returns dilemma that 3PLs and warehouses must deal with. “Every time I went into a fulfillment center, there was a section of the warehouse that looked pretty nasty, to say the least, and every time I asked about it, it was the returns area.”
According to Bertin, there are several challenges that 3PLs and other players in the space are grappling with.
- High-Volume Strain – “Some of our 3PL customers might receive a thousand, 2000, or 5000 units of returns in a given day.” The sheer quantity of returned items is overwhelming and demands a smarter allocation of labor and resources.
- SOP Complexity – Keeping up-to-date Standard Operating Procedures for returns is challenging due to the constant updates and multiple brand-specific requirements.
- Lack of Metrics – There’s a noticeable gap in tracking and billing mechanisms for the returns process.
- Missed Business Opportunities – Some 3PLs avoid certain types of business because managing their returns is too tricky.
- Sustainability – Additional packaging and transportation associated with reverse logistics contribute to logistics being responsible for 60% of the world’s carbon emissions.
These points emphasize the need for technology and system improvements in managing the complex warehousing returns landscape.
Efficiently Managing Customer Returns in Warehouses and 3PLs
Two Boxes provides software designed to address the complexities of managing customer returns in warehouses. The platform aims to act as a centralized system of record, integrating with existing front-end systems to offer a unified return process across multiple brands. It also focuses on automating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guiding warehouse staff through the return process via step-by-step instructions. This feature not only aims to simplify training but also seeks to ensure more accurate inventory reconciliation.
Another aspect of the software is its emphasis on data tracking and analysis. Two Boxes fills a gap in key performance indicators (KPIs) designed explicitly for the returns section, offering better oversight and actionable insights for warehouse operators and merchants alike. The software can aid in making billing, pricing, and value-added services more scalable, thus potentially transforming returns from a logistical headache into an asset.
Creating a Better Worker Experience
Kyle believes that technology elevates efficiency and improves the worker’s day-to-day experience. “At the end of the day, we make the actual worker’s experience better, too,” Kyle says. He insists this human-centric approach has a ripple effect, improving everything from brand value to end-consumer satisfaction. He adds, “We are rolling out new technology that enables us to triage returns upon receipt so that a 3PL can put their labor on the returns that will be most impactful to their merchants.”
Three Key Takeaways:
- Returns are challenging and can be a competitive advantage with the right processes and technology.
- 3PLs need to overcome their hesitance to adopt new technologies for the sake of long-term efficiency and growth.
- A better worker experience can lead to overall improvements in operational performance and customer satisfaction.
Listen to the episode below and leave your thoughts in the comments.
For more information on Two Boxes, click here.
To connect with Kyle on LinkedIn, click here.
For more information about managing customer returns, check out the content below.