Engineering a Virtual Reverse Logistics Network
Discuss engineering a network. This week, the topics of discussion that you are
required to address are:
What elements would you include in a virtual reverse logistics network
How would you structure the management of this network
How would you maintain this network over time
- What elements would you include in a virtual reverse logistics network?
As the name suggests, reverse logistics involves a reverse movement of products from
consumers/distributors back to the manufacturer (Trapp et al., 2015). In its essence, it involves
reuse of materials and products along with an organization supply chain network (Trapp et al.,
2015). Consequently, virtual reverse logistics, therefore, refers to the design and implementation
of the reverse logistics network using technology (Trapp et al., 2015). When designing a virtual
reverse logistics network, the elements I would take account of in the design include reuse,
Engineering a Virtual Reverse Logistics Network 2
repair, remanufacture or recycle of products that would then be pumped back to the forward
logistics network. As (Trapp et al., 2015) note, one of the biggest triggers for reverse logistics is
customer complains about issues such as defects on products as well as efficient disposal of
waste. Therefore, my virtual reverse logistics network will be built around a complaint service
management system that utilizes computer and telecommunication technologies to receive
customers and distributors’ complaints and thus provide the foundation for the appropriate action
to be taken through the virtual reverse logistics network.
- How would you structure the management of this network?
As highlighted earlier, the network will be built around the complaint service management
system. The network, therefore, will have an elaborate customer service desk (helpdesk) to
receive complaints from customers and distributors through the internet (emails and social
media) as well as telephone calls. The help desk will thus record the nature of the complaint
which will be passed to the logistics department. The logistics department will, therefore,
determine the best action to take after evaluating the nature of the complaint. If the complaint
satisfies the logistics department that it is the manufacturer’s fault, the company will recall the
product and offer appropriate compensation/replacement to the customer/distributor. The
recalled items after undergoing evaluation and analysis will either be reused in other areas of
production, repaired and sent back to the forward supply chain, remanufactured (remodified to
make a brand new product) or recycled to make raw materials for other products.
- How would you maintain this network over time?
Engineering a Virtual Reverse Logistics Network 3
A virtual reverse logistics network as stated earlier depends on technological infrastructure
(computers, telecommunication technologies, and the internet). Maintaining the network will,
therefore, involve constant maintenance of communication avenues between the
customers/distributors and the helpdesk. In a broader perspective, it is right to say that the virtual
reverse logistics network is highly dependent on accurate information as well as an uninterrupted
flow of the information. Maintenance of the network will, therefore, involve ensuring the
communication avenues between the customers.\/distributors and the virtual reverse logistics
network is uninterrupted by ensuring availability of personnel at the helpdesk at all times as well
as providing reliable channels of communication (social media handles, online complaint
centers, and reliable service lines). Additionally, information on past complaints will be
appropriately archived to ensure better decisions are made in future to avoid repetition of the
complaints. This will call for reliable and valid data handling infrastructure such as cloud
services to store this data securely.
Engineering a Virtual Reverse Logistics Network 4
Trapp, A. C., Konrad, R. A., Sarkis, J., & Zeng, A. Z. (2015). Closing the Loop: Forging High-
Quality Virtual Enterprises in a Reverse Supply Chain through Solution Portfolios (Vol.
2008, pp. 305-315). Working Paper WP2-2015. Worcester, MA: WPI Center for
Sustainability in Business. 336 Notes 4. Kumar, S. & Putnam.