Reverse Logistics in Medical Services
Reverse logistic process control measures for medical devices in the supply chain
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Reverse Logistics in Medical Services
Reverse logistics is the process that ensures an effective and efficient return of
products from customers or end user to manufacturer or distributor. Reverse logistics is a
strategic process in the supply chain that ensures product returns from customers to the
manufacturer or a retailer are handled effectively. There is an increasing aspect of doing business
even though many companies are undermanaging this business function. Product returns
represent an increased cost of doing business and have unique challenges that are separate from
traditional forward-moving distribution channels. These reasons make medical services to
establish perfect strategies to manage reverse logistics. Also, forward, reverse logistics channels
are costly and increase business complexity. Reverse logistics is essential in enhancing customer
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 2
satisfaction, recapturing of value and proper disposal. This paper focuses on the reverse logistics
process and control measures for medical devices in the supply chain network.
Medical devices are one of the most delicate products in the supply chain
network. Reverse logistics should establish strategic processes and controls that should
effectively handle any product returns of medical devices. Improper handling of medical devices
can lead to legal implications and cause safety issues to the general public. Reverse logistics
provides the necessary systems; policies and network for establishing a process and ensures
perfect handling of medical devices. Reverse logistics is a strategic function of the supply chain
that is always complicated and extremely difficult to navigate (Govindan, Soleimani & Kannan,
2015). This is because the supply chain evolves and increases in complexity as the entire process
of reverse logistics. Therefore, dealing with medical devices is a challenging and daunting task
for the reverse logistics network because the process contains subsets of different services
offered by medical sector that vary across the supply chain through manufacturing, distribution,
and refurbishing. Therefore, reverse logistics is the general management of the flow of materials
from the point of consumer or consumption to the point of manufacturer or origin for proper
disposal and recapturing value. Supply chain operators in the medical sector are focusing on the
efficiency of reverse logistics more than ever as the rate of returns for medical devices due to the
growth of online shopping and access to services. Thus, managing this process is costly, and
company management should adequately plan and execute its operations strategically. However,
the significant costs associated with reverse logistics process and control measures for medical
devices has driven more 3PLs, distribution centers, and warehouses to add reverse logistics as a
core competency rather than a specialized add-on service. Besides, becoming experts in the
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 3
reverse logistics process helps companies to save their customer’s money and time as well as
increase the customer satisfaction (Govindan, Soleimani & Kannan, 2015).
The management of reverse logistics process is a complex process, which ensures
proper handling of flow of surplus, defective and unused medical devices products and
equipment. This process and control measures target customer satisfaction and proper disposal as
urgent priorities and should be reflected in the strategies and policies of the business
organization. Reverse logistics network for handling medical devices should provide solutions
that streamline returns and efficiently decreases recovery time. It also should ensure less cost is
incurred during the process and enhanced satisfaction for the customers and business (Kongar,
Haznedaroglu, Abdelghany & Bahtiyar, (2015). This paper provides specific strategies and
measures that ensure maximum medical device retrieval, reduced expenses and correct tracking
measures for allowing companies or institutions in medical sector to use reverse logistic services
to optimize their supply chain network. Therefore, the development and execution of the reverse
logistics process and control measures for medical devices should incorporate all sectors and
stakeholders in the medical industry to ensure correct handling of product returns is assured. This
is because medical devices call for increased security concerns and effective measures for
dealing with product returns. Inaccurate and improper handling of medical devices can easily
lead to legal implications and result into closure or damaging of company image (Govindan,
Soleimani & Kannan, 2015). For this reason, reverse logistics and supply chain management for
medical devices should establish operations management, research, and development unit,
information technology, marketing, quality management, engineering, geography, transport
economics, and supply management and procurement.
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 4
Medical device logistics is not an easy task for companies because it involves
selection of logistic partners for medical device products. Besides, it is vital to the reputation of
the company that has to build healthcare and pharmaceutical industry as trusted reverse logistics
and 3PL provider. According to Lieb & Lieb (2015), reverse logistics should ensure “full
compliance with the stringent regulatory requirements and warehouse guidelines that are
required by the store and distribution of medical devices.” The reverse logistics process and
control measures should ensure dedicated fleet systems and numerous storage conditions such as
coolers, freezers, CRT and humidity control. Moreover, the network should ensure expertise with
21 CFR Part 820 and warehousing (Kuglin, 2015). It is also vital to ensure transportation
management and product trail management as well as strict inventory control. Thus, it is
essential to establish a leading manufacturer of medical devices by using integrated logistics
knowledge and reputation in the healthcare sector. Medical devices logistics helps in
streamlining the process of processing orders for medical devices that are mostly shipped out to
clients and for testing.
Furthermore, information technology is vital to develop proprietary web-based
solutions for the organizations of medical devices. This is important in the management of trial
orders that are seamlessly important for integrating with product returns or sales. This is
important for efficiently regulating inventory control practices (Anderson, Chiswell, Peterson,
Tasneem, Topping & Califf, 2015).
According to Heckmann, Comes & Nickel (2015), it is critical to creating a
systematic and business solution that streamlines and standardize the medical devices ordering
process for both sales and logistics purposes. This provides the management with order and
returns visibility as well as facilitates the process of proper inventory control practices,
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 5
traceability and tracking for medical devices. It is critical to collaborate with medical
manufacturers’ sales in order to ensure ease of use and proper adoption of medical devices. This
guides medical practitioners to ensure that medical devices are authentic and free from harm. It is
also important to partner with the information technology companies in order to develop
proprietary web-based solutions for customer complaints about product returns. Moreover,
companies should establish an inventory management system for medical devices in
collaboration with customers. This should be completely web accessible to enhance
communication with manufacturers, customers and all stakeholders in the reverse logistics
process (Govindan, Soleimani & Kannan, 2015). Inventory management system is vital in
facilitating the trails ordering, product testing process in order to provide all sales representatives
with a complete mechanism to consistently place their complaints and requests in the systems
regardless of the resources or location. Inventory management system is crucial because it allows
organization and customers to maintain appropriate inventory control practices as well as gain
and retain sustainability even with more tracking and visibility for the entire process of reverse
A reverse logistics process is essential in optimizing supply chain by offering
excellent information technology. Companies should combine a variety of outside technologies
and well-designed in-house systems by information technology engineers. This helps to tailor the
perfect system for the needs of customers. The reverse logistics process and network provide
experience and depth of knowledge across industries for delivering continuous improvement of
services. Besides, it is crucial to not only operate as a service provider but also as an integrated
partner for enabling successful execution of complex reverse logistics. The reverse logistics
should have management solutions or systems for helping company customers to understand the
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 6
productivity and patterns as well as assess employee performance. The management solution is
essential for improving efficiency and managing costs. An integrated logistics process provides
strategies for handling medical devices used in emergency rooms, hospitals, and rescue
operations (Volland, Fügener, Schoenfelder & Brunner, 2017).
Also, managed transportation should be designed to help shippers of medical
devices in handling the products. Companies should work with top rated transportation services
provider in order to access a range of experience and carrier relationships. The company employs
and deploys the right people, processes, and technologies in order to manage the transportation
team. This will help the company to control clients with high costs of transportation as well as
improve its service levels. Besides, the reverse logistics process should put transportation
measures by providing the shipper with the necessary tools and techniques in order to determine
shipment needs. It is also important to optimize the carriers and routes by evaluating for the best
opportunities at the lowest costs. This is an essential measure of ensuring accurate shipment of
company medical devices at the lowest costs in order to optimize profits. The next step should
manage all aspects of the carrier relationship and oversee the movement of the shipment from
end to end. This ensures that the reverse logistics process is efficient and effective in handling
medical devices. It is relevant to the audit, and load matching documents for the transactions
carried out during the forward logistics and to manage costs, claims, and payments (Volland et
Warehousing is another aspect that should be expertly evaluated to establish
proper handling of medical devices. The reverse logistics process should provide warehousing
and warehousing management systems, fulfillment and transportation management systems that
will handle medical devices in order to ensure that proper recovery and recapture of value. The
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 7
warehouse should provide enough space for the reverse logistics services across different
networks and locations. The process should ensure that it has dedicated warehousing and multi-
client operations for efficient handling of medical devices. Customers with smaller budgets or
fewer inventories should be able to access innovative warehouse and inventory systems in order
to take advantage of the cost savings through share labor and warehouse space. The reverse
logistics provider should be able to work with all customers to manage and locate dedicated
warehousing space through customization in order to improve and maintain operational
efficiency. The reverse logistics should be able to implement tier 1 and tier 2 warehouse
management systems in order to improve efficiency (Volland et al. 2017). This helps clients and
customers to cut operating costs, enhance transparency and improve product distribution
continuously. The process should put in measures to provide customers of medical devices with
a competitive edge. They should be able to secure affordable rates and allow them to focus on
other core businesses instead of worrying about transportation costs and risks. The fleet
management system should offer fleet solutions and allocate all assets adequately in order to
service customers effectively and recapture values for medical devices.
The reverse logistics should make customers and management to understand and
control costs by recruiting and maintaining the power units and drivers as well as providing
solutions to handle medical devices and increase efficiency. The process should lower
organizational risks by carrying the liability of customers and maintaining compliance with the
emerging and existing regulations. The reverse logistics process should guarantee capacity for
picking up and delivering services as needed. The reverse logistics should be able to develop
custom solutions and dedicate specific power units and personnel for scaling up or down based
on demand. The reverse logistics for medical devices should provide visibility through the
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 8
transport network and enhance potential revenue sharing as well as complete regulatory
compliance. This is important as it ensures that reverse logistics is committed to environmental,
innovation and sustainability strategies (Lieb & Lieb, 2015).
Moreover, every shipment in the healthcare industry should provide reliable,
compliant and secure healthcare supply chain. This is because reverse logistics in healthcare can
change a life and must be dealt with proper levels of care and precision. It is essential to establish
and find a third-party logistics provider in order to ensure effective handling of reverse logistics.
The organizations should stay up to date with the current regulatory requirement in order to
provide secure, innovative and transparent healthcare logistics solutions. Effective reverse
logistics process helps companies in the healthcare industry to mitigate the risk of the life cycle
of medical devices. Organizations should increase inventory visibility to assists in delivering
life-saving medical devices and pharmaceuticals as well as manage full reverse channels. This
ensures complete compliance with regulatory procedures for disposing of the products. The
reverse logistics should be designed to provide solutions to ensure that the company supply chain
never stops moving or operating. Besides, returns and distribution operations should expertly
ensure vital security; reporting and regulatory demands in order to comply in all aspects of the
supply chain (Lieb & Lieb, 2015).
Medical device logistics is a fundamental process for ensuring the recapturing of
value and disposal of products. Besides returns and distribution, the reverse logistics needs
expert services such as surgical loaner kit solution and allows organizations to focus on main
strategies by structuring, executing and managing reverse logistics operations. Reverse logistics
is vital due to the rising medical demands for health insurance requirements, aging population,
and changing regulations. These aspects are adjusting the economics of the healthcare sector.
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 9
Therefore, it is crucial for the medical device logistics to implement a holistic approach in
designing and executing of healthcare logistics.
Furthermore, organizations can also adopt 3PL service providers in order to gain
efficiencies without losing quality or raising the noncompliance risks (Lieb & Lieb, 2015).
Therefore, companies should optimize their supply chain networks by improving the service
quality and operational efficiency of the transportation providers and distribution facilities.
Organizations should protect their brand images by assuring stakeholders and consumers of their
commitment to quality through stringent compliance to industry standards regulatory
requirements. Also, organizations dealing with medical devices should maintain product integrity
and provide security by safeguarding customers with secure and regulatory-compliant supply
chain solutions. The reverse logistics process should be able to execute distribution and fulfill the
demands of customers. According to Johnson (2014), there should be “enhanced warehouse
efficiency in all areas of product-status tracking as well as product visibility and outbound
logistics with the expert execution of warehouse management systems through the advanced use
of emerging technologies.”
According to Lieb & Lieb (2015), packaging and kitting are other aspects the
organizations in medical device logistics should be followed to enhance forward supply chain
and reduce the likelihood of product returns. This is because they protect the products from
environmental conditions and ensure compliance and security as well as make organizational
operations more efficient through the use of specialized kitting and packaging solutions. Proper
packaging of medical devices reduces extra steps and shipping costs because of the embed
operations for contract packaging within the facility. Reverse logistics process for dealing
medical devices should ensure proper product relabeling in order to reduce the financial impacts
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 10
of outsourcing tasks. The relabeling of products should be approved by FDA facilities for
ensuring a quick return to saleable inventory. There should be well-designed kitting and loaner
kit assembly for improving the satisfaction of customers and easing use with bundled items
through a strategic arrangement of items and enabling of visibility. This should be a simple
recovery of medical devices through the reverse logistics process and a network of an
The reverse logistics process for medical devices should have efficient and
effective recall management and final disposition. These strategies ensure the protection of end
consumers and organizational brand through quick and accurate management of the critical
events of product recalls (Johnson, 2014). Organizations should be committed to effective
communication and transparency during the process of handling medical devices. This ensures
professional and efficient handling of recalls or product returns on the reverse logistics network.
Product recall management network in the reverse logistics network ensures that consumers and
brand are protected in timely, transparent and efficient recall services. This should include proper
management of recalled and outbound items with similar and unique serial units. The process
should have product intake and processing which are quick and effective in coordinating
excessive returns in critical situations through the use of proven resources and processes
(Mangan, Lalwani & Lalwani, 2016). The process should have a proper framework for
reimbursing customers in order to satisfy them with accurate, timely and product exchange
services. The process should have procedures for testing and disposal. This ensures expert testing
of medical devices and effectively disposing of items using regulatory-complaint and
environmentally friendly approaches. According to Mangan, Lalwani & Lalwani (2016),
“organizations should have the secure destruction of regulated products by avoiding issues at the
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 11
end of products’ life-cycle.” The organizations should have disposal processes that surpass
standard pharmaceutical regulations. Moreover, data collection and reporting should be
structured in such a way to ensure that processes and procedures are aligned with customer
requirements and needs. There should be an accurate measure of the effectiveness of company
programs as well as ensuring visibility for government agencies and other stakeholders through
smart tracking of an everyday aspect of the reverse logistics process (Ferguson & Souza, (2016).
The reverse logistics for medical devices should establish effective transportation
management. This will grow strong relationships with customers and sustain the value of the
products with transportation interventions that are structured for regulating healthcare products.
On the other hand, shipping of medical devices requires effective handling through freight
management, brokerage, and procurement services for fulfilling customer needs. The reverse
logistics should protect product shipment by maintaining its temperature as well as the provision
of real-time monitoring, tracking and ensuring an inclusive audit of the in-transit experiences.
Reverse logistics should have efficient and flexible transportation management and arranging
proper freight solutions (Mangan, Lalwani & Lalwani, 2016).
In establishing a reverse logistic model for medical devices, the organization
should consider product lifecycle, value, cost, volume and geographic distributions of returns.
Considering that handling of medical devices in the reverse logistics network is a delicate
process, organizations should establish a dedicated revere logistics channel. This should include
effective gatekeeping of returns to screen returned products at the entry point in the reverse flow.
It is also vital to establish cost management framework because reverse logistics is all about cost.
This is important in monitoring manufacturing, distributing and transporting costs. A reverse
logistics process should enable contract and warranty management. This should leverage loading
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 12
practices for contract and warranty management. It also should have a design for repairing
friendly products in order to recover, refurbish and reuse returned functional medical devices.
Remarketing is also crucial for returns. This should be done to the same segment of retail buyers
and customers. Therefore, a measure such as clear visibility of reverse flows of medical devices
should be used to enable tightening cost controls and supporting the goal of profit maximization.
This allows companies to fee forward logistics channel to increase velocity and to focus on other
high services of customers while balancing other logistic pressures such as supply variability.
Dedicated reverse logistics for medical devices enhance asset efficiency and improves labor
productivity because of clear demarcation of flows as well as clear capabilities’ development and
organizational goals. Velocity improves the reverse flow of medical devices and tightens control
over the loss of product value that loses value quickly (Ferguson & Souza, (2016).
In summary, medical device logistics is a critical process of supply chain
management. Employing a holistic approach to handling medical devices is very important as it
ensures better capabilities and recapturing of value. The reverse logistics should be specifically
designed return centers than distribution centers. Therefore, new technology providers should
enhance solutions that should assist in solving the unique challenges of reverse medical reverse
logistics. There should be proper fleet management and inventory management systems to assist
in ensuring the proper handling of medical devices. Intelligent gatekeeping should be adopted to
reduce returns and inclusion of product recalls. Recalls are essential in supply chain management
because they ensure public safety and reduce legal implications.
REVERSE LOGISTICS IN MEDICAL SERVICES 13
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