Returns Management Consulting

Spinnaker’s Returns Management Consulting services help clients drive financial performance and enhance brand loyalty by providing an improved customer experience. We tailor our solutions to support your organization’s unique strategic goals and objectives. Spinnaker strives to increase an organization’s overall net recovery, streamline and align the forward and reverse supply chain, and enhance inventory management and control.

Spinnaker has proven methodologies and expertise to understand the specific business issues and opportunities, to identify gaps, and define the desired future state performance.  Spinnaker consultants can help your organization strategically optimize returns to lower costs, reduce headcount, maximize recovery, mitigate risks, increase brand value, and ultimately drive product efficiency and innovation.

Our Returns Management Consulting include:

Strategy & Roadmaps

Spinnaker’s Returns Management Strategy and Roadmap services help our clients develop the future state strategy, organizational design, business processes, and technology requirements to develop a plan for implementation that is both realistic and effective.  


A typical assessment and roadmap project may focus on one or more of the following key areas:    

  • Returns Business Planning

  • Inbound Returns Order Management

  • Reverse Supply Chain Execution

  • Outbound Order Management      


We structure assessment and roadmap engagements to tackle the most important challenges your company faces.  Our holistic view of the problem and address policy, process, technology, organizational capability, and metrics to arrive at a comprehensive Future State Roadmap.  Spinnaker’s deep consulting experience provides a clear, concise plan for your returns management that helps clients achieve their key business objectives.  


Returns Management Planning

Returns are inevitable, even for the most successful companies in business.  Often times, managing returns is an afterthought, rather than a proactive strategy to save money and bolster brand recognition. Coordinating disposition decisions across the reverse supply chain requires alignment of forward / reverse strategies and development of sales, financial, and operational plans to support a common set of objectives.


Our approach to planning reverse supply chains involves coordinating decision-making across the following key processes to optimize the recovery of returned product:

  • Product Lifecycle Planning

  • Secondary Market Analysis

  • Disposition Planning

  • Pricing & Promotions

  • Demand & Supply Planning


A major challenge in managing returns is forecasting what products are coming back and within what time frame.  Returned products often sit in transit or in a warehouse, sometimes for months.  Every day that passes, the value of the product depreciates.  In contrast, companies that are cognizant of returns management at the design stage produce products that are more easily repaired, recycled, or remanufactured.  These returns can be integrated into the current product offering, harvested for support of warranty and service, or sold in a secondary market.  Spinnaker can help your organization change what is historically a cost center to a revenue-generating operation.  To maximize recoveries, Spinnaker experts can perform one-time analysis to align policies or help you develop internal capabilities and repeatable processes.


Reverse Supply Chain Design

In returns management, companies often focus on defective products or reverse logistics transportation, yet the entire reverse supply chain is critical to streamlining operations.  The combination of returned physical product and the accompanying information flow can unlock significant value and improve overall performance.  


Spinnaker’s supply chain design experts use cutting-edge analytic solutions to optimize your supply chain network to determine:

  • Optimal returns center and redistribution locations

  • Freight mode and service level optimization

  • Product flow strategies to balance capacity use and minimize cost


Our approach uses a proven and powerful supply chain modeling techniques to determine the optimal structure of the reverse supply chain network. These capabilities allow you to analyze product recalls, end-of-life, end-of-service, surplus assets, and liquidated products to reduce inventory costs and streamline the end-to-end supply chain.

Spinnaker’s practical approach to network design blends sophisticated modeling and analysis with creative thinking and years of experience to deliver pragmatic solutions to supply chain challenges. Spinnaker leverage Supply Chain Guru® by LLamasoft to provide supply chain modeling and optimization services for our clients.  We also leverage partnerships with LLamasoft, JDA, and SAP to provide cutting-edge modeling solutions.  In addition to these partnerships, our consultants have experience in other network optimization tools such as IBM/Logic-tools, SAP/SmartOps, and Oracle SNO.


Technology Planning & Enablement

Returned products significantly impact many parts of the business from customer service, to supply chain, to finance.  If a returned product is not received or triaged correctly, customer service issues often arise. When inventory is incorrectly managed, supply chain performance is compromised and financial data can be incorrect. The technology platform that supports returns must be integrated with order management, inventory management, financial systems, and business intelligence. These systems must support the unique requirements of the reverse supply chain including sort management, credit management, and warranty validation.


Spinnaker’s technology experts can help you develop the right system architecture to support unique returns management requirements.  We align processes and solutions using Enterprise and/or Best-of-Breed technology to optimize the performance of your returns management capabilities.



Operational Performance Improvement

Operational Performance Improvement services focus on assessing the current state through a detailed value stream map and collaboration effort.  We employ our successful five lenses approach, which focuses on people, process, technology, policies, and metrics, to systematically assess key operations.  Spinnaker leverages a combination of industry knowledge and best practices to drive maximum value from operational improvements. We apply leading process improvement methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma, and Kaizen.  


Spinnaker works with our clients to identify the desired state and develop an improvement roadmap to address gaps and benchmark best in class practices that incorporate Key Process Indicators and sustaining metrics in the following areas:

  • Customer Focus

  • Just in Time

  • Quality

  • Standard Work

  • Stability

  • Kaizen

  • Accountability

  • Urgency

  • Leadership


In addition to helping clients execute one-time improvement projects, we focus on helping develop organizational capabilities through focused training activities. A typical operational performance improvement focuses both on driving immediate value and creating an environment of continuous improvement.



Sustainability & Green Supply Chain

In returns management, there are many opportunities to green your supply chain; in today’s competitive landscape, a commitment to innovation in sustainability can set your company apart.  Companies don’t recognize the opportunities to refurbish, remanufacture or recycle returned products to maximize recovery.  We partner with clients to develop Corporate Social Responsibility reports and supplier scorecards to identify efficiencies and reduce their carbon footprint.  Spinnaker has helped clients reduce inventory costs and save physical space to minimize their energy footprint and the amount of material sent to landfills.  Rooted in your company’s financial performance, Spinnaker demonstrates the benefits of a responsible business by bolstering risk mitigation tactics and brand reputation.  In order to make lasting change, sustainability must be grounded in the business case.


The Spinnaker sustainability approach addresses the corporate vision and strategy to identify goals and develop the methods to assess, measure, and report on progress in the following areas:

  • Process Innovation

  • Employee Development

  • Corporate Stewardship

  • Waste Management

  • Socioeconomic Impact


We believe in the triple bottom line of people, profits, and the planet; Spinnaker is the ideal partner to help you meet your corporate responsibility goals and environmental initiatives.