Reverse Fulfillment

DEFINITION of 'Reverse Fulfillment'

The portion of the supply chain that moves returned products back from the customer to the manufacturer. Although firms would prefer otherwise, returns are a fact of life for virtually all firms. In some cases, the processing, evaluation and shipping of returned products can be a costly component of doing business. Thus, maximizing the efficiency of reverse fulfillment activities can become very important for profitability.

BREAKING DOWN 'Reverse Fulfillment'

Just because a product is returned does not mean that it should be discarded. In many cases, the item may be fully or partially salvageable for later resale. For example, manufacturers may be able to provide minor repairs to some units and sell recertified units for a slight discount or use parts for alternative purposes. Returned units which are too badly damaged can by disassembled, and their unbroken components can be reused in new products.

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