In supply chain management, which involves the upstream and downstream management of customers and suppliers, there tends to be more emphasis laid on forward logistics as compared to reverse logistics. Reverse logistics is defined as the movement of products from their typical final destination back to the supplier or manufacturer to capture value or proper disposal (Bernon and Cullen, 2007). Ideally, it is the backward movement of goods along the supply chain. Most often, logistic companies put a focus on forward logistics that ensure products reach the consumer. The process of reverse logistics is often challenged due to the absence of proper management policies involving goods being returned along the supply chain. Research that was based on empirical findings of the UK retail sector revealed that the level of returns experienced could be significantly reduced if organizations managed product returns in a holistic approach. Efficiency in the management of reverse logistics can better be achieved if an executive level position was implemented. This essay will, therefore, explore the empirical evidence that could support a senior level executive position which is dedicated to reverse logistics.
Empirical evidence is defined as the knowledge acquired through observation and experimentation of collected data and information about a certain topic or issue. Considering the challenges facing reverse logistics department, the need for an executive position cannot be overlooked. In this department, a senior level executive position would require that the person who fills it be well equipped with the necessary and relevant information about the overall process to be able to execute his duties effectively. To achieve this efficiency, the executive officer would be required to acquire adequate knowledge management for the reverse logistics activities (Ramirez and Girdauskiene, 2013). Management of knowledge in this field directly affects the flexibility of distribution and the overall performance of the company. Additionally, efficiency calls for the application of the management approaches of integration, collaboration, and evaluation. Integrating these approaches in the supply chain is argued to offer tremendous opportunities to minimize the costs of reverse logistics operations while maximizing asset recovery values.
Research studies have provided empirical evidence confirming that knowledge creation processes offer greater ability to anticipate reverse logistics systems for the organization (Ramirez and Girdauskiene, 2013). The executive officer can anticipate the best reverse system to utilize that would reduce costs while maintaining efficiency. Another empirical evidence shows that there is a positive relationship between reverse logistics, flexibility, and business performance. The attainment of performance and all the processes involved therein are the responsibilities of the executive level, thereby posing the need for the creation of an executive level post. The role of knowledge creation and management must be integrated with the management approaches to ensure that the stakeholders in reverse logistics understand it thoroughly and follows its guidelines to the letter. Integration as a management approach involves the combination of the activities involved in reverse logistics and the functions of every individual in the reverse supply chain. It is the role of the executive officer to integrate these factors to attain the best performance.
Collaboration is another management approach in reverse logistics (Dekker, Fleischmann, Inderfurth, and van Wassenhove, 2013). As an executive level role, it involves bringing together independent functions to achieve a common goal. The executive level post is the top-most position and, therefore, has the power to collaborate the different functions along the supply chain to ensure that products being returned move smoothly to their returning destinations with the minimum possible costs to the organization. The third management approach involves evaluation (Dekker, Fleischmann, Inderfurth, and van Wassenhove, 2013). The process of knowledge creation and management as mentioned earlier, as well as any other process and the activities in reverse logistics, need to be evaluated to determine their success in ensuring a smooth, effective reverse logistics. The result of such an evaluation sheds light on the position of the organization and forms a basis for decision making. The mandate to organize for evaluation for the entire supply chain lies with the executive personnel. Additionally, the role of decision making after the evaluation process still is a managerial function. The challenges that have been facing the reverse logistics is a result of the absence of such mechanisms which can only be executed by a senior level executive office. This, therefore, creates the need for the creation of such a post.
From the above discussion, there exists an empirical evidence of the relationship between the presence of an executive office and the performance of reverse logistics. Based on the roles performed by such a post, it is evident that the existence of the post will result in the minimization of the costs incurred in reverse logistics while maximizing asset recovery values. A senior level executive post will facilitate the creation and management of knowledge and the implementation of management approaches of integration, collaboration, and evaluation all which improves efficiency in reverse logistics. The flexibility of reverse logistics systems is achieved, and thus systems can easily be switched depending on the specialty of the goods being transported. The above information, therefore, offers the empirical evidence necessary to justify the need for a senior executive level post in reverse logistics.
Bernon, M., & Cullen, J. (2007). An integrated approach to managing reverse logistics. International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 10(1), 41-56.
Dekker, R., Fleischmann, M., Inderfurth, K., & van Wassenhove, L. N. (Eds.). (2013). Reverse logistics: quantitative models for closed-loop supply chains. Springer Science & Business Media.
Ramirez, A. M., & Girdauskiene, L. (2013). Creation of knowledge and reverse logistics. Empirical analysis from perspective of the resource based view theory. Engineering Economics, 24(5), 478-487.
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