I was recently asked if the economy was going to affect the reverse logistics industry. If what we saw within the forward logistics world, would takes it toll on the reverse logistics world. The reality is, yes, at some point in time it will come to hurt every part of every industry. As the economy weakens, and the consumer takes less of a part in the purchasing of new product, we will see the RL world hit its hard times. Even so, hard times come and go in our industry everyday. The key is to keep seeking after business that is new, fresh, up and coming. Seeking out new technologies and build to support those engines is a key part. Working for the Reverse Logistics Association for as many years as I have, it has been very evident to myself and the Association, that even if a company sticks with the existing format that they have, staying with their current customer base, it will take anywhere from two to four years to feel the effects of a struggling economy on any product type, or a failing commodity type. Our "world" is always a few years behind and with the emergence of "B" stock items and sales, turning trash (assets) into purchasable product; it can even be up to five years or more. The hard part to the later statement is that as the life cycle comes to an end, so does the need to repair product, and does the need to function as a full service provider for a single company. Now the product has turned full circle and any sales of the asset is now 100% in the "B" cannel. This channel is sometimes not used by the OEM or Retail Company.
As a new consultant, starting a new company, many have asked me how will I preform in this market with this economy. Of course, many, not just a consultancy, must answer that question. My response is one that obviously sells my service but it works very well in the RL industry and within this economy. And the answer is one simple word, a word that our industry has begged OEM and Retail companies to understand for years. That word is "Outsource". For years, the RL industry has said to every OEM and Retail company, to do what you do best, market and sell, and to let us service providers do what we do best, reverse logistics (aftermarket services). And with that, I speak as a consultant. Saying to all service providers, that as the economy continue to struggle, to go up one day then drop for two days. As service providers look to find the new trends, to add new customers to the portfolio, to expand service offerings and to find the right people to help with this process, they must keep the process balanced and the budget as well. There are many small and medium sized companies looking for these things, and looking for the right talent to support them. Outsource the sales, business development, and marketing efforts. Find companies that can do what you do, better, faster and for less. There are many out there that can provide opportunities, offer a larger, more seasoned sales force for a fraction of the price of your internal staff. They have opportunities in front of them, waiting to be outsourced. Look for these places, find the right match. When times get tough or begin to slow down, that is the time to beef up sales. But sometimes the budget is not there. Outsource this process.