In 2008, major electronics retailer Game realised that there would be massive benefits to contracting a reverse logistics specialist to streamline the back end of their supply chain. Six years later Revlogs services 66 stores between Gauteng and Cape Town and Game has established itself as the market-leader in returns and customer satisfaction.

Game photo

The problem:

Put simply, Game were making a promise to their customers that they were facing challenges in keeping. They wanted to be able to deliver best-in-class customer service, but were experiencing difficulty in following through on this desire. And it was costing them money.

[box]THE GAME PROMISE: We will have any item under warranty repaired for you – should that take longer than three weeks, the item will be replaced or refunded. We also ensure ongoing service on any product bought from Game, even after the warranty expires.[/box]

A ‘21-day replace or refund’ returns policy is hard enough to stick to when you have one or two stores in a large urban centre. But when you have multiple stores scattered around a very large country, it becomes a complex conundrum which cannot be handled by the so-called ‘bakkie brigade’ Game was relying on at the time.

The solution:

Revlogs approached Game with a proposal which would even be ground-breaking in 2014: they wanted to use a US-style reverse logistics system to completely overhaul every aspect of the back end of Game’s supply chain. Revlogs offered to:

  1. Pick-up product on a daily basis, and process it at one of their regional facilities.
  2. Facilitate all communications between Game, suppliers and repairs agents.
  3. Track all product movement and use this data to create invaluable reports on the performance of stores, suppliers and repairs agents.

This three-step process would enable Game to keep track of their delivery on the 21-day promise as well as tracking store refunds on returned product and keeping up to date on both in and out-of-warranty customer returns.

The new reverse logistics solution enabled Game to greatly reduce their turnaround times on in-warranty products which were sent to various agents for repair. These improvements were managed by implementing standard operating procedures for repair agents. The management of the SOPs would not have been possible without the Revlogs tracking process.

The process:

It began with a pilot project in three Gauteng stores: Cresta, Eastgate and Centurion. Initially, store employees were worried about job security; the new communication channels took some getting used to; and the timing of collections and drop-offs required some fine-tuning.

But once everyone had got used to the new way of doing things, the results of the pilot were so overwhelmingly positive – Game was finding it much easier to deliver on their customer promise – that Game increased the Revlogs contract to include 15 stores.

Now, six years later, Revlogs services 66 stores and this number is set to continue to increase. Revlogs has operations hubs in Gauteng and the Western Cape and Revlogs subsidiary Revteq carries out all of the out-of-warranty repairs and a high percentage of the in-warranty repairs for the 66 stores they service.

The facts:

Since Revlogs came on board Game is now seen as a market leader in returns management in South Africa. Although none of this would have been possible without Revlog’s involvement, a lot of the credit must also go to management at Game (and holding company MDD) who have paid a lot more attention to the back end of their supply chain since 2008.

  • The volume of product managed by Revlogs has increased significantly since implementation.
  • Returns-related complaints have decreased significantly.
  • Within the first year there was a 22% increase in Game’s delivery on their 21-day promise.
  • In the first year, there was a 30% improvement on the turnaround time of in-warranty returns. Not to mention the value of the up-to-the-minute data Revlogs is able to provide on these returns.

What they say:

Craig Plowden, Revlogs MD:

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Game. They are clearly leaders in the retail industry when it comes to understanding the importance of implementing a comprehensive reverse logistics management process.

Furthermore, they are one of the only retailers in the country who understand and have seen first-hand the benefits of outsourcing the reverse logistics function.

Reverse logistics includes everything relating to the recapturing of value through the reverse supply chain which ranges from vastly improved customer satisfaction to real profits being realised on a company’s bottom line.”

Richard Fuller, Massdiscounters Operations Director

“Since 2008 Revlogs has been a reverse logistics transporter for repairs and returns for Game RSA, operating in Gauteng and Cape Town.

This has ensured that our customer repairs receive individual and efficient service, especially since the introduction of the CPA which requires that technical assessments be done within a reasonable time.”