Quality control of goods is usually a difficult task, especially where the companies receive used and defective products from the customers for remanufacturing. There are cases when the raw-material suppliers for remanufacturing operations are the consumers themselves, who thrust aside a given product after been obsolete or due to other reasons, such as the production of better products. In this case, there are some problems regarding the lack of incentive these customers receive to return the used products to remanufacturing companies, such as the lack of contact the remanufacturer has with the customers, and customers’ lack of information and trust regarding the manufacturing company. As a result, most companies feel the pressure of controlling the quality of their products to remain at peak and maintain the advantage and influence over the rival companies
Quality Control in Reducing Products Return
Quality control is a major asset in maintain influence in a competitive market, and ensuring this important factor helps manufacturer achieve one of the most important targets of establishing a manufacturing firm which is profits. Although achieving quality control is a difficult and challenging task, there are a number of ways manufacturers have to employ to enhance quality control: analytical processing in quality control, quality monitoring of goods, and grading and disposition in quality control.
Analytical Processing in Quality Control
The analytical processing model of controlling the quality helps to read the information about the product from the product database, analyze the product quality, and determine the next steps for processing. Fleischmann (2001) observes that the product control team can conduct the product processing either from the customers locations, collection centers or the retail stores either after return by the customers or before these products are released in the market . For the returned goods received at the customers’ locations, the analytical processing approach will suit the quality control by determining the conditions of the returned products, the type of the returned goods, and the volumes of such products.
Quality Monitoring of Goods
The quality monitoring approach helps in performing statistical analysis of collected data to analyze products, processes, or the service quality. For instance, 42.6% of the wholesalers were likely to refuse products from the customers while 60% of the manufacturers could not refuse the items returned. It means, therefore, that customers would not return high-quality goods.
Monitoring of the goods could be done soon after manufacturing to ensure that the products meet the required standards. Monitoring can be done at customer locations, collection centers, stores to study variability in quality and quantity of returns products at different life cycle stages over different periods of time. Graphical tools such as histograms, run charts, and descriptive statistics, are used to display product quality. For process quality, statistical control charts are used (An & Fromm, 2005). Different types of traits or variable control charts can be deployed based on the type, quality, and the quantity of the information available about the product.
Grading and Disposition in Quality Control
In contrast with the traditional supply, the reverse logistics flows, in general, consist of a heterogeneous mix of the products of different quality and value. Therefore, reverse chain will include some types of grading and sorting processes that determines the status of the individual products and assign them to the corresponding reuse options. This process is of prime importance as a means of quality control. The degree of centralization of grading and sorting process gives rise to a trade-off (Nikolaïdēs, 2012). As usual, centralization tends to reduce investment costs by exploiting economies of scale.
The quality control exogenously determines reverse logistics than it is driven by the demand. In fact, products flow in the today’s supply chains does not end once they have been manufactured, ready to reach customers. Many products lead a second and even third or fourth life after having accomplished their original task at their first customer or after the customer changed his/her mind and returned them.
Analytical processing, quality monitoring, and deploying traceability system can bring about significant improvements to minimize products return. Traceability on the quality of the products made in the company will help improve supply-side management as well as maintaining the projected competitive advantage.
An, C., & Fromm, H. (2005). Supply chain management on demand: Strategies, technologies, applications. Berlin: Springer
Fleischmann, M. (2001). Quantitative models for reverse logistics. Berlin [u.a.]: Springer
Nikolaïdēs, I. N. (2012). Quality management in reverse logistics: A broad look on quality issues and their interaction with closed-loop supply chains. London: Springer.