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Return handling: an exploratory study with nine retailer warehouses

René B.M. de Koster Marisa P. de Brito (René B.M. de Koster is a Professor of Logistics and Information Management in the Rotterdam School of Management and Marisa P. de Brito is a Researcher in the Econometric Institute of the Faculty of Economics, both at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.)
Masja A. van de Vendel (Masja A. van de Vendel is Assistant Manager at De Bijenkorf B.V., The Netherlands.)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 August 2002



Already for a long time retailers have taken back products. In this paper we explore the factors contributing to the decision of combining vs separating inbound and outbound flows during the return handling process. We do so through a comparative analysis of the operations in nine retailer warehouses, which can be divided into three groups: food retailers, non‐food store chains and mail order companies. We identify both aggravating factors and facilitating actions for return handling. Furthermore, we bring about recommendations for practice. At the end we put forward propositions that are useful in feeding studies on return handling efficiency. In particular, we conjecture over the impact that return volume and product diversity have on the decision for combining vs separating the reverse and forward flows.



de Koster Marisa P. de Brito, R.B.M. and van de Vendel, M.A. (2002), "Return handling: an exploratory study with nine retailer warehouses", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 30 No. 8, pp. 407-421.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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