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Food Lion, Kraft Foods and logistics solution provider Inmar received a Reverse Logistics Collaboration Award at the 2010 GMA/FMI Joint Industry Unsaleables Management Conference held this month in Las Vegas for their successful collaboration in handling returned products.
The award recognizes retailer, manufacturer and service provider teams that have collaborated successfully to enhance “the state of knowledge surrounding model unsaleables practices and attacking root causes.”
The winning case study, “Using the Data to Close the Swell Gap,” presented how the trading partners have leveraged data gathered from a number of sources, including package condition data collected in returns facilities by Food Lion’s returns partner Inmar.
Inmar’s returns system captures package condition data on Food Lion returns, including the reason a product is returned, such as out of date, empty/open, dented, crushed or closeout. The system also captures store-level, category and specific item-level information so that returns can be studied at a variety of levels. The data can be viewed online via Inmar’s proprietary system or via reports generated by the provider’s analysts.
For the collaboration program, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, a division of the Delhaize Group, shared this data with its suppliers, including Kraft, which it credits for taking full advantage of all resources and data sets made available to initiate improvements in category management. As a result, Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft cut its unsaleables swell gap at Food Lion by half in year one and by half again in year two.
“While far too rare, when trading partners share and leverage data, the results can be transformational for both parties,” said Jeff Pepperworth, president of Inmar Reverse Logistics.
Inmar’s technology-driven solutions were developed to enable retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to recover revenue, manage reverse logistics and facilitate promotions. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company says it annually processes billions of returned goods, promotional transactions and pharmaceutical claims.