Saturday, March 1, 2008
The Value of Reverse Logistics Management,
Making the Most of your Tax Rebate,
Keys to Earning Your Bonus
The Value of Reverse Logistics Management
According to The Reverse Logistics Association, reverse logistics is defined as, “all activity associated with a product/service after the point of sale, the ultimate goal to optimize or make more efficient aftermarket activity, thus saving money and environmental resources.” Basically, reverse logistics refers to the business of returns. What is done after a product is sold can greatly impact the bottom line. Should the products be accepted as a return in the first place? Can the product be refurbished, recycled, returned to stock, or even donated? Forbes.com states that returns can cost the U.S. $100 billion annually, so the business of reverse logistics results in big returns for companies willing to research and invest in their reverse logistics processes.
Reverse logistics requires efficient packaging systems to ensure that value is retained in the products once they are returned. It also requires a transportation system that is compatable with the existing forward logistics system. And for every reverse logistics technology investment, there are guaranteed savings. Forbes.com reports, “Third Party Logistics Providers see that up to 7% of an enterprise’s gross sales are captured by return costs.” This is why companies are willing to invest in reverse logistics processing.
An example of reverse logistics is when a company manufactures a product with a minor flaw, such as a pair of socks with a few extra stitches in the toe. The extra socks are sold to discount chains and sold with the flaw for a reduced price. This is an example of reverse logistics. Rather than discarding the product entirely, it is sold and the company still profits.
Other reverse logistics examples include “stricter” returns policies and donation programs where unused products can yield tax exemptions for donated goods. The “green” trend is another way that companies use reverse logistics processes. Recycling products has resulted in large returns and higher profitablitly for companies such as IBM and Coors Brewing Company. In addition, transportation costs can be cut by eliminating unneccessary shipments and consolidating them.
Many organizations have realized the importance of reverse logistics and have created separate departments with people such as Vice President of Reverse Logistics leading the helm. Companies see the departments as completely integrated with the fiscal responsibilities of the organization and charge them with full profit and loss responsibility. Other organizations have elected to utilize third party logistic providers such as Unyson and Roadway Reverse Logistics.
Whatever the method of accomplishment, implementing and enforcing reverse logistics can net larger profits for small and large organizations. Many companies have realized the return on investment and made reverse logistics a separate operating function with real numbers to prove their worth. Reverse logistics can start with a cost to the company but will definitely provide a return in the end.
Making the Most of Your Tax Rebate
It is that time of year again, and many of you are anxiously awaiting your tax rebate check. Your thoughts race, and you wonder, “Should I plan that trip to Greece or invest in a brand new wardrobe?” But before you waste the money on frivolous things, think about what you could do with the check in order to secure your long-term future or help invigorate the economy.
Financial advisors suggest everything from starting an emergency fund to paying down a home equity line of credit. One of the best things you can do is pay off credit card debt. If you can’t pay down the entire amount, pay part of the credit card and then transfer the balance to a lower interest credit card. MSNBC.com reports, “You’ll save $730 if you transfer a $2,000 balance from an 18-percent card to an 8.25-percent card and then pay off your balance at a rate of $50 a month.” Obviously, paying debt will free you in the future to take that trip to Greece, without feeling guilty.
Another option is investing in your long-term future. Could you benefit from furthering your education? Would this education allow you to further your career and enhance your future earnings? What about long-term care insurance or life insurance? Are you prepared for health-care emergencies? Also, consider education for your children, as well as your retirement. All of these are great options for utilizing your tax rebate check.
If you must purchase something, make sure it will provide a return on your investment. An upgrade for your house, especially in the bathroom or kitchen, can provide this return. Whatever you decide, be sure to choose wisely. Yes, sometimes it is important to reward ourselves with frivolous things, but think first and reap the rewards later.
Keys to Earning Your Bonus
Annual bonus time has come and gone, and you didn’t get what you were hoping for…again. You wonder where you went wrong and what you did to deserve this measly amount. It is at this point that you consider changing careers or quitting. But don’t sell yourself short. Take a look at what you can do to earn that bonus next year.
First of all, realize what your company takes into account when calculating bonuses. Generally companies must meet a certain goal (generally financial) before any bonuses can be paid at all. After their goal(s) have been met, individual performance is generally the next factor. So, for now, let’s assume that the organization you work for has met their financial goals and has decided to pay bonuses. What have you done to meet your individual performance goals? Did you and your boss sit down and lay out a specific list of goals, such as monthly sales objectives or leads generated? If so, where do you stand? If you only met your objective two out of twelve months, chances are you won’t be getting a large bonus, if at all.
If you did not establish a list of objectives for earning your bonus, it is time to have a chat with your boss. Let him/her know your concerns, and be sure to make a definable list that both of you can agree upon as to what your performance goals/objectives are. Ask your boss if meeting those objectives will allow you to earn a bonus. If so, what percentage is earned by meeting those goals? Ask what else needs to be done and how you can work together to accomplish it.
It is also important to check in with your boss on a regular basis to determine how you are doing. Progress reports are important for letting you know where you stand. Don’t be shy. Ask your boss to set regular monthly or bi-monthly meetings regarding progress. It should not be a surprise when bonus time comes what you will be receiving.
Finally, be reasonable and recognize that earning your bonus is not entirely up to you. The entire organization will likely need to meet certain criteria in order for bonuses to be paid. But, when it comes to your performance, you are able to control that. Keep the lines of communication open, and never let bonus time be a surprise. If your boss has not let you know what your objectives are, take initiative and make it part of your regular performance review.