Differences in The Forward Supply Chain and Reverse Logistics
In the article by Fancello et al. (2017), the reverse logistics problem is addressed through two interconnected modules. The first module clusters the area into collection sites using algorithms, while the second module uses vehicle routing approaches to define the optimal collection routes. The reverse logistics issue is a significant consideration for businesses because firms face a problem where a supply chain management process is needed to move goods from sellers/ customers to the manufacturer. By definition, it is a process that reverses the flow of goods back to the source for repair, testing, recycling, dismantling, or disposal (Gupta, 2016). It is the opposite of the forward supply chain where goods flow from the manufacturer to retailers and finally the buyers.
Based on additional research and library reading, especially in the publications by Waqas et al. (2018) and Badenhorst (2013), the reverse logistics problem is a hurdle for companies today. A significant issue involves the disposal of products no longer suitable for sale. When goods are at the supermarket ready for sale, the manufacturers have already incurred high costs to get them to that point. It is an extra burden and a complicated process to require the manufacturer to initiate a reverse logistics process for their disposal. As Fancello et al. (2017) noted in the article, most agri-food stores dispose of products unsuitable for sale, but an efficient process is needed.
In the article under discussion, Fancello et al. (2017), the authors offer several important points for consideration to address the reverse logistics issue and make it more efficient. The first proposal is for a planned waste collection process within a given area. An optimal collection area is needed for the efficient distribution of agri-food waste to surrounding farms. In this case, the food waste considered includes fruit & vegetable waste, packaged food, and meat. Fancello et al., (2017) offered a solution where an area is partitioned into collection basins to minimize travel costs. In the second module, an optimal pick-up network is identified using an algorithm. The optimal network is required to lower the costs and complexity for those involved in collecting the goods.
Based on a study by Waqas et al. (2018), reverse logistics faces a big challenge because of costs. A case study of Pakistan identified high costs and poor supplier commitment as the main barriers to a successful process. Suppliers do not want to incur additional costs in reverse logistics since they have incurred costs in the forward logistics process. Stakeholders collecting the goods for recycling or reuse also want to minimize their costs. Suppliers also have little commitment to the reverse logistics process compared to the forward logistics process. Manufacturers and suppliers are more committed to the forward logistics process since it is a process likely to increase sales and revenue for their companies. Therefore, Fancello et al. (2017) is justified in finding approaches to optimize collection routes to solve the problem of high costs. The class discussions also highlighted the issue of costs as an extra burden for suppliers; a burden such businesses would rather eliminate. It is, therefore, logical to conclude that the article under discussion raises important points and suggestions on how to deal with the problems of high cost and efficiency to ensure a better reverse logistics process. The two proposals for determining collection sites and vehicle routes can benefit the supply chain through increased efficiency for better business outcomes.
Badenhorst, A. (2013). A framework for prioritising practices to overcome cost-related problems in reverse logistics. Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v7i1.113
Fancello, G., Mola, F., Frigau, L., Serra, P., Mancini, S., & Fadda, P. (2017). A new management scheme to support reverse logistics processes in the agrifood distribution sector. Transportation Research Procedia, 25, 695-715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.2017.05.452
Gupta, S. M. (2016). Reverse supply chains: Issues and analysis. CRC Press.
Waqas, M., Dong, Q., Ahmad, N., Zhu, Y., & Nadeem, M. (2018). Critical barriers to implementation of reverse logistics in the manufacturing industry: A case study of a developing country. Sustainability, 10(11), 4202. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114202