The recent announcement of a recall by Tiger Brands of some of its canned vegetable products has put the spotlight on reverse logistics, an often-neglected aspect of supply chain management, according to Sapics (The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management).
Tiger Brands is recalling certain canned vegetable products in the KOO and Hugo’s brands due to a small number of defective cans from a packaging supplier.
“Product recalls are a nightmare for organisations and supply chains. This latest food recall in South Africa should be prompting all organisations, including manufacturers, retailers and logistics service providers, to examine their reverse logistics plans and skills,” says Sapics president MJ Schoemaker.
“It is reported that around 20 million canned products have been recalled by Tiger Brands. Imagine the logistics involved in getting 20 million items back from consumers and retailers around the country. Having efficient, tried and tested recall plans and effective reverse logistics programmes in place is essential for manufacturers, retailers and everyone in the end-to-end supply chain.”
Reverse logistics encompasses all the activities associated with a returned product or product components that are effectively moving backwards through the supply chain. It includes recalled goods and parts of products that are reused or recycled, like the oxygen cylinders that have been vital in the supply of medical oxygen during the Covid-19 crisis.
Reverse logistics is often forgotten because most companies’ primary focus is on the forward supply chain, or forward logistics, which gets products to market and has the greatest impact on a business’s bottom line. However, organisations ignoring the reverse supply chain and the need for reverse logistics planning and competency do so at their peril, Schoemaker stresses.
The topic will come under the spotlight at the upcoming Sapics Conference, where retail logistics experts Anton Coetzee and Floris Visser of consulting firm Relog will examine reverse logistics as a forgotten part of the supply chain.
The 2021 virtual Sapics Conference takes place from August 24-26. Visit https://conference.sapics.org/ for more information.