June 28 2011 06:56 PM

EBN--Recently, high-tech manufacturers and service providers gathered at Interlog Summer 2011 in Los Angeles. This annual conference specifically focuses on the aftermarket and brings together after-sales service parts and reverse logistics professionals in high-tech industries to share their supply chain successes and challenges.

Interlog provided the opportunity for companies to come together and discuss the ins and outs of reverse logistics, especially since this area can lead to competitive advantages in the marketplace. A 2010 Aberdeen report on reverse logistics found that best-in-class companies were recognizing $1.8 million in year-over-year savings as a result of improved velocity of returns. In addition, reverse logistics and aftermarket services consulting firm Greve-Davis found that consumers across the United States returned $200 billion worth of goods last year -- that’s more than the GDPs of 66 percent of the countries in the world.

And yet, despite the potential opportunities to improve the top and bottom lines, reverse logistics is a business area that is consistently overlooked by many companies. It is true that the returns and repair process is complicated, particularly for high-value products like computers or smartphones. However, the costs of failing to focus on this area go beyond lost savings opportunities: This supply chain breakdown also can impair the customer experience and damage brand reputation.