Discussion: Innovation and Technology

Part A: Find an article on the internet published within the past 24 months that describes a new kind of technology or information system that is not specifically designed for reverse logistics, but that you think could be modified or otherwise applied to help manage reverse logistics.

Describe the technology, what it is currently used to support, and then how it could be repurposed in a reverse logistics setting. Be sure to describe how this technology would be used in conjunction with existing technologies and information systems.

Part B: Comment on your peers’ findings by offering additional applications to reverse logistics of the technologies they identified.
Respond to Peer 1: Christopher B.
QR codes revolutionized logistics by reducing the amount of information on shipping labels allowing computerized scanners to quickly and accurately “read” packages. This allowed the development of sorting systems which could take the information from the QR labels and after scanning, direct the package to its appropriate destination. However, the system designed around the QR code seems to be strictly to aid in forward logistics applications.
However, since product returns depend mostly upon customer interactions with the company to coordinate the return process. QR codes could be used along with the same warehouse and shipping management systems to track the return from consumer through the logistics chain to the manufacture. The simplest process would be to add a return option to the original QR code logged into the system. This would allow the issuance of a replacement QR code for the return of the item, allowing the item to be tracked through the warehousing and shipping management system to track the products estimated return.
Production managers could then coordinate efforts to recycle, refurbish or reuse the product in secondary markets. It would also allow the customer to print the return QR code at home to start the tracking process while allowing the company to estimate the amounts and types of returns being sent for processing.
References
Denny. (2017, August 03). How QR Codes Changed Shipping. Retrieved from Automated Logistics: https://www.airspacetechnologies.com/blog/how-qr-codes-changed-shipping

Respond to Peer 2: Evan H.
The technology I will talk about is the advancement of barcode technology. Barcodes have been around since the late 1940’s, but it was not until the 70’s that technology become reliable and cheap enough for it to be viable. Today barcodes are used for just about everything, but they have the limitation of storing a relatively small amount of data, that is when compared to something like a RFID chip. There has been an advancement in recent years to this called 2D barcodes, and they can hold much more information and in less space than a traditional barcode. These have the added benefit to be able to be scanned by pretty much anything with a camera, such as a smart phone (Software, 2018).
The usefulness for reverse logistics is that more information about that product can be stored on the product itself. This could range from where it was manufactured, what it was manufactured with, batch id and even who did quality control on it. This can make sorting and processing returns much faster, especially in very large firms that manufacturer and sell a large away of items, but presenting more information instantly. A quick scan could give a worker the information about every part within the product, and thus how to break it down or recycle it on the spot. This can be used with current scanner technology, as only a camera is needed, and current database technology that is currently used.

Pontius, N. (2016, October 11). What is a 2D Barcode? Retrieved from https://www2.camcode.com/asset-tags/what-is-a-2d-barcode/
Software, S. (2018, June 18). The Future of Barcode Labels. Retrieved from https://blog.scanco.com/blog/the-future-of-barcode-labels