Ten Examples of Reverse Logistics

In a typical logistics process, the consumer is the endpoint for a product. We learned this is not the case with reverse logistics because products move from the customer back to the consumer.

So what does that look like in action?

Apple is one example of a successful company that uses reverse logistics. When a customer is ready to upgrade their product to the latest version, Apple allows them to return the old product.

The old product is either refurbished or parts of it are used as resources to make better parts for a newer version.

Using this process not only allows Apple to gain customer loyalty, but manufacture products in an environmentally friendly way and make a profit.

Now that you have an idea of what the process looks like, let’s discuss what is included in the reverse logistics process and what can happen after.


A customer doesn’t like the product and therefore returns it. This process also includes the handling of the return.

Returns Avoidance / Gatekeeping

A strategy used to prevent a return, similar to gatekeeping (the process by which a company manages the amount of products allowed to enter the return distribution channel) . Products are screened before entering the supply chain. In order to prevent the return, options such as taking your product to a repair shop or online help services are available.


Remanufacturing happens when a damaged product is repairable. New or repaired parts of the product are used to rebuild the original product to meet the original specifications.


Similar to remanufacturing, but instead it is the reconditioning of the product to meet the manufacturers new specifications.


The reuse of long-lasting packaging that makes its way backwards in the supply chain.

Unsold Goods

In reverse logistics, there is an understanding that unsold goods can be returned to the distributor, depending on the contract.


End of life is when a product has reached the end of its life cycle, or has “retired” from the market. In reverse logistics, products will be reused or recycled once they reach their end of life.

Delivery Failure

This happens when the delivery driver has to return a product to the distribution center after a failed delivery attempt to the customer.

Rentals & Leasing

When someone rents or leases equipment, at some point they owe the equipment back to the company. The company that owns the equipment can then recycle or remarket the equipment.

Waste Management / Recycle

Reverse logistics plays a significant role in waste management. It inherently reduces waste by reusing, refurbishing, or reselling products.

Do you want to learn more? Check out this article: Ten Things You Should Know About Reverse Logistics.

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