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Benchmark Brands Steps Up Their Returns

3 pages
Benchmark Brands Steps Up Their Returns
Founded in 1989, on the belief Benchmark Brands is a $75 million a year
that a great feeling body starts direct- to-consumer company that has built its
business on customer service and superiorwith comfortable and healthy
merchandise. It is imperative that an easy to use
feet, Benchmark Brands, Inc. is
returns process is in place for both its online and
among the largest direct-to- catalog shoppers. Unfortunately, without an
consumer retailers of healthcare intelligent returns management solution the
returns process was becoming a more complexproducts. Benchmark Brands
ingredient in the supply chain, and worked
operates FootSmart®, the only
against Benchmark Brands in its efforts to retain
direct-to-consumer vertical customer loyalty. Prior to implementing
retailer that focuses exclusively Newgistics Intelligent Returns Management
solution, Benchmark Brands found that theyon lower body healthcare. The
were experiencing inefficiencies due to the lack
company manufactures its own
of insight into reverse logistics operations.
proprietary lower body
healthcare products and comfort Primary Business Problem:
The primary business challenge for Benchmarkshoes, as well as retailing select
Brands were twofold: The lack of visibility into
products that fit its goal of
inbound returns was causing a number of issues
providing the highest quality such as staffing the appropriate number of
health care products that people to handle the erratic ...
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Benchmark Brands Steps Up Their Returns
Founded in 1989, on the belief that a great feeling body starts with comfortable and healthy feet, Benchmark Brands, Inc. is among the largest directto consumer retailers of healthcare products. Benchmark Brands operates FootSmart®, the only directtoconsumer vertical retailer that focuses exclusively on lower body healthcare. The company manufactures its own proprietary lower body healthcare products and comfort shoes, as well as retailing select products that fit its goal of providing the highest quality health care products that promote wellness and comfort.
Benchmark Brands is a $75 million a year direct toconsumer company that has built its business on customer service and superior merchandise. Itis imperative that an easy to use returns process is in place for both its online and catalog shoppers. Unfortunately, without an intelligent returns management solution the returns process was becoming a more complex ingredient in the supply chain, and worked against Benchmark Brands in its efforts to retain customer loyalty. Prior to implementing Newgistics Intelligent Returns Management solution, Benchmark Brands found that they were experiencing inefficiencies due to the lack of insight into reverse logistics operations.
Primary Business Problem: The primary business challenge for Benchmark Brands were twofold: The lack of visibility into inbound returns was causing a number of issues such as staffing the appropriate number of people to handle the erratic volume of returns, appropriation of warehouse space, and not knowing when returns would arrive. Additionally, the returns process was time consuming and required Benchmark’s customers, many of whom are mature shoppers, to return packages on their own.
Benchmark Brands’ lack of visibility into the returns process, made it difficult to anticipate in advance the quantity of merchandise being returned and when.By not havinginformation about the returned packages in advance of the return receipt , when the packages arrived at the warehouse, processing of the merchandise was slow and inefficient as they could not anticipate the volume of returns on any given day.
Additionally, Benchmark Brands was unable to plan for the appropriate number of people required to receive and organize incoming merchandise. The understaffing caused a delay in processing returned merchandise and returning the merchandise in to inventory, while overstaffing was an unnecessary expense. Additionally, when customers wanted to return an item they would have to visit their local Post Office, FedEx or another logistics provider to return items on their own. Because of the disparity in logistics providers, transit times varied and Benchmark Brands did not have visibility to the inbound pipeline and was not able to anticipate arrival times in advance. By allowing customers to package items and ship them by any means they chose, returns were being delivered to the fulfillment center by various carriers in all sorts of containers which led to materiel handling issues and space management problems in the warehouse.
Solution: In July, 2005 Benchmark Brands implemented Newgistics’ Intelligent Returns Management Suite to streamline the reverse logistics process. In line with the company’s dedication to customer convenience with a new returns policy of a one year, 100% satisfactionguarantee , Benchmark wanted to make the returns process as hasslefree as possible. While customers previously hadto return products on their own, now with Newgistics SmartLabel™, customers ship their returns using a prepaid, preaddressed label on the package and drop it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service system including from their own homes, providing a superior level of convenience. The SmartLabel barcode contains information relevant to that specific order and customer, and can be tracked and viewed by the retailer at any stage. Through a partnership with the USPS, Newgistics bypasses several intermediary stages that are part of the typical delivery process and reduces average cycle time to three business days – saving both time and money.
“Prior to implementing Newgistics we had zero visibility into the reverse logistics process; it was a problem that needed to be fixed—especially with our newly implemented returns policy that allows customers to return within one year for a full refund,” said Howard Fox, EVP of Operations at Benchmark Brands. “After careful consideration, we brought Newgistics in to help us improve our process and provide our customers with an easytouse returns system that would also benefit processing of the returns. Through excellent frontend and backend integration, Newgistics worked closely with the various staff at Benchmark making the implementation period quick and relatively seamless. Immediately we saw an increase in the process speed of inbound returns. We now have complete insight into the pipeline of merchandise coming back, enabling us to plan appropriately with staffing and workload.We’re also very impressed with how returns are tendered back to us, very organized and properly boxed for neat stacking and staging during the processing.”
Since implementing Newgistics Intelligent Returns Management suite, Benchmark Brands has seen improved returns processing.Now Benchmark has visibility into what inbound merchandise returns are in the pipeline and when to expect their arrival.
Benchmark Brands has seen faster, consistent transit time (generally 3 to 4 days) between when the item enters the Newgistics system and its arrival to the Benchmark Brands fulfillment center. By having visibility into the returns process, Benchmark has been able to improve returns processing, and now they can process more returns each day by understanding the volume of the merchandise. With Newgistics, understanding the return volume is a lot easier, the data can be sliced by region, weight, zone which also helps with reporting. Reporting is a key concern for Benchmark Brands. With Newgistics Benchmark’s accounting group is able to validate and process invoices quicker, allowing Benchmark to have accurate and up to the minute accounting processes.
“Benchmark’s implementation of Newgistics’ solution has been an overwhelming success to date,” said Fox. “The level of visibility that we now have – the ability to view an inbound item at any stage in the returns process – has enabled us to significantly improve our fulfillment operations. With Newgistics, we can staff our warehouses according to the anticipated volume and workload, and we can processes returned packages immediately upon their arrival at the warehouse.”
There was no required capital investment to convert to the Newgistics returns management solution. By implementing Newgistics, Benchmark Brands now enjoys the benefits of maximized visibility on inbound merchandise returns, reduced processing costs, reduced transit time, and the ability to efficiently integrate a greater volume of items back into the inventory almost immediately upon arrival. With this added insight to the reverse logistics process, Benchmark Brands can be prepared well in advance to respond to business needs, as well as the consumer’s needs resulting from the return. In the highly competitive direct retail market, Benchmark Brands drastically enhanced its competitive edge by streamlining the reverse logistics process with Newgistics.
About Newgistics Newgistics, Inc. (www.newgistics.com) is the leader in returns management solutions. Newgistics’ patentpending Intelligent Returns Management(SM) solution delivers the most convenience for customers while maximizing control of the returns process for retailers. Newgistics’ SmartLabel® drives customer loyalty and increases profitability for leading retailers like Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch.
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