Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 186

Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 186
“How The Home Depot is Driving Reverse Logistics Excellence”
The Reverse Logistics Series on Supply Chain Now Radio
Conducted in partnership with the Reverse Logistics Association
Learn More:

“I joke when I give people tours of our buildings. It’s like Christmas morning. We never know what we’re going to get. There is no great analysis on when are people going to return things and why. So when we open up a trailer, it’s kind of a mess of all sorts of different things. We deal with all types of different products at our facilities.”

-Trish Boehm, Director of Operations at The Home Depot

When you consider the number of Home Depot locations nationally, about 2,200, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize the scale and cost associated with customer returns. These returns used to be handled in store, by individual employees across departments. The Home Depot operations team suspected – and then confirmed through research and benchmarking – that they were handling returns in the most inefficient, costly way possible.

With the rollout of centralized return centers, The Home Depot has managed to reduce their logistics costs and keep employees out on the floor where they can assist customers. The most interesting insights of all, however, are those that can help ensure that less returns are created in the first place, regardless of which buying channel a customer prefers.

In this conversation, Host Scott Luton speaks with Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association, and Trish Boehm, Director of Operations at The Home Depot, about how The Home Depot is driving reverse logistics excellence.

eCommerce may allow consumers to shop online from a myriad of devices, but at some point, the goods they have purchased still have to make it physically into their hands. And in cases where the purchase doesn’t meet their expectations (for whatever reason), there has to be a way to return it.

Trish and Tony also provide insight into:

-The alphabet soup of eCommerce acronyms, including BOPIS (buy online pickup in store) and BORIS (buy online return in store)

-The importance of communicating with and educating retail customers without asking too much of them

-The most frequently cites reason for returns in retail

-How automation is being tested as a way to expedite the labor-intensive process associated with turning retail returns back onto saleable product

Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott as he interviews Tony Sciarrotta and Trish Boehm for SCNR Episode 186 at the Supply Chain Now Radio studio.

Tony Sciarrotta serves as Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association. He was nominated and selected by the Board to serve as the Executive Director on August 1, 2016. Since Mr. Sciarrotta had been an active member serving in committee leadership of Reverse Logistics Association since 2005, he had also served on the Board of RLA from 2005 to 2012 while employed at Philips Consumer Lifestyle as their Director of Sales & Marketing. So it was a simple decision for the selection team at RLA to approve Mr. Sciarrotta. Since his experience, qualifications and service to RLA was more than substantial to meet the requirement that was needed as the next Executive Director. Mr. Sciarrotta has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Reverse IT Sales & Consulting. Tony brings so much experience to the RLA team, including 25 years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. His background helped prepare him for a developmental role as director for returns management activities, and in 1998 Tony was assigned to create and manage a cross functional department to reduce returns and their associated costs. He was successful at implementing effective returns policies and procedures with a variety of dealers, and in 2005, Tony assumed responsibility for maximizing asset recovery of all returned consumer goods. Tony has specifically targeted best avenues for reselling returned goods at the model level, by using tools developed with finance support. In 2013, after establishing best-in-class results for returns in the consumer goods industry, Tony retired from Philips and now sits on various committees and industry groups. Learn more about the Reverse Logistics Association here:
Trish Boehm graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Operations Management.  She started her career working for JB Hunt Transportation in the Chicagoland area servicing several customers, including The Home Depot, with their transportation needs.  She joined The Home Depot team in 2010 to start up the company’s first Reverse Logistics Center.  Trish is currently the Director of Operations and responsible for engineering, transportation, systems, building services and labor planning for the Reverse Logistics Network. Learn more about The Home Depot here:
Scott W. Luton is the founder of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was recently named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and serves on the advisory board for the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Connect with Scott Luton on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @ScottWLuton.

In partnership with the Reverse Logistics Association, Scott and Greg welcomed Tony Sciarrotta and Trish Boehm to SCNR to discuss how the Home Depot is driving reverse logistics excellence.

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio. Broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Hey, good morning. Scott Luton here with you, Live on Supply Chain Now Radio.


[00:00:32] Welcome back to the show. So in today’s show, we’re continuing our reverse Logistics series here where we partnered with the Reverse Logistics Association to dove into a variety of topics impacting the space. So looking forward to the conversation today. Got a great one teed up. Quick programing note like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a variety of channels podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, where really wherever you get your podcast from is always glad to have you subscribe so you don’t miss anything. Let’s quickly thank all of our sponsors for allowing us to bring best practices and innovative ideas to you. Our audience. Verusen. The Effective syndicate. Spend Management Experts. And many more. You can check out our sponsors on the show notes of this episode. OK, so let’s bring in our featured guest today. Again, we’ve got a great conversation teed up once again. Tony Shroder, executive director with the Reverse Logistics Association. How you doing, Tony? Doing great today, Scott. We are so glad to have you back into the studio. I think this is our third episode of the reverse Logistics series here. Yes, it is. And each one has been really neat and kind of unique. Right. Absolutely. With different aspects, different perspectives on it. That’s really important is what we’re after. And today is not in this point as well. We we also want to welcome and Tricia Bean, director of operations at the Home Depot Trust. How you doing? I’m great. Good morning. Good morning to you. Glad to have you here. Hopefully you’ve had a good week and a great week. Weather is getting cooler and cooler, right? Absolutely. And what’s going to be able to give me like this weekend, Tony?


[00:02:05] It’s going to be great. There’s a great music festival going on nearby us in Alpharetta. Catch some there.


[00:02:11] Who’s, you know, some of the band’s headlining or who you look?


[00:02:14] And Alvin Youngblood Hart, great blues old blues guitarist. And Maggie Rose is tonight’s headliner downtown Alpharetta.


[00:02:22] Really? Yeah, man. FreeBee to the best guy. He can’t beat that. So that does make things happen. Alpharetta. And interestingly, you’ve got your work cut out. You’ve got a guest, a friend with upcoming wedding, right?


[00:02:34] I do. So it’s our wedding weekend for me. I also am a huge Colts fan being from Indianapolis by cell.


[00:02:42] Ok, well, you know, the Colts after Lucke retired. Seems like they’ve really shuffled the deck quickly. Kate Maureen, the name, the quarterback, the gate, the Falcons. It’s a hard time down here, but galban playing well, it seems it has.


[00:02:56] We have Ben Jacoby pass that.


[00:02:57] Yes, that is who that is. That game one of the Falcons. Four losses thus far. But hey, we digress. Moving right along. So today, again, today is all about the reverse. Logistics, you know, returns that aspect of the in Supply chain. So, Tony, that, you know, you’ve been developing a cult following as we’re talking about in the warm up. But just to refresh our listeners memory. Tell us about yourself in a nutshell here.


[00:03:25] Well, I spent a few years in sales and marketing at companies like Sony and Philips. And then one day at Philips, they decided somebody should do something about returns. And they pulled my name out of a hat or out of a stack of resumes and said, Tony is somehow the best qualified. And it turned into a passion in the last 20 years have been focused on what is going on in the returns world. It’s growing. It keeps growing. What are we going to do to kind of help offset that? It’s it’s the bane now of the retailers and the manufacturers and especially with the growing e-commerce aspects. So there’s a lot of factors from the manufacturers side. And we’ll bring one of those in. At some point, one of manufacturers from the supply chain side of people coming up with solutions and all kinds of solutions, because there’s not one silver bullet. There’s many. And then from the retail side with Tricia J, we get to talk about just the side note that the association is a members driven association. It’s focused on the members who are retailers and manufacturers, who are the ones who now who have to deal with the problems. And the other side of the of the aisle are the third party solutions partners who come up with as many possible creative ways they can to help reduce returns, reduce their costs, improve acid recovery. And really, it’s all driven by that customer experience.


[00:04:45] You know, one thing that I’ve noticed since I’ve been collaborating with RLA is that really the industry, the global in and supply chain industry is really I don’t know if it’s fair to say struggling, but they are really hungry for. More best practices and proven best practices as relates to reverse Logistics in this e-commerce age where you’ve got to have a plan B to execute on it, right? Yeah, absolutely. So that’s a great why behind RLA. And you know, while it’s based here in Atlanta, you are a global organization serving global companies.


[00:05:20] We are, Scott. You might remember that this year alone I’ve had a conference summit for the reverse Logistics in Europe and one in Singapore that kind of threw me for a wrench being 12 hours ahead of the rest of the world that I knew was an experience. But but the issues are the same. People recognize that this is a growing problem. We have to do something. And ultimately, it really does affect the consumer as well. We started to see more and more stories about landfills are filling up. E-waste is showing up in countries all over the world. It’s doing bad things to people who were there. And yet it drives some of their economies in Africa and some other third world nations. So it’s it’s a very complicated end to end kind of an issue. And what really helps pull us together now is, is the concept of the circular economy. Right. We’ve talked about that a little bit. This entire circular economy where the manufacture starts out by designing products for life and for re-use, the retailers find ways to take care of customers and then that product is returned, can find a new home and a new life and not end up in a landfill in it in a in a pile of garbage somewhere. These are expensive, valuable products, and most of them do not have anything wrong with them. I think Tricia talked to that a little bit. So it’s really about finding solutions that can help everybody and ultimately whether you’re a tree hugger or not. And we recognize there’s planetary issues, too. We cannot keep using resources till we run out. So finding ways actually the way we say it is that reverse Logistics is the cornerstone of the circular economy. That’s where it starts. That’s where things come back and have to be dealt with.


[00:07:00] And we’ll put you know, we had Deborah Dull with GE Digital on the show. We’ll be publishing her per podcast shortly. Phenomenal. She said her focus and her passion is around the circular economy. In fact, they’re hosting a circular economy focused event in Paris at they’re at I think it’s a g.d innovation center.


[00:07:21] And she yes, she’s leading on like a tough job. I wish I was the head. Your udub, though. She fascinating, fascinating love. If you get a chance to meet Deborah.


[00:07:29] I’ve not. But I had that conversation this week with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is recognized around the world as beginning and promoting this circular economy concept. And let’s not scare people. Let’s make sure we tell people circular economy is nothing more than sustainability on steroids. That’s really what it’s about, is how do we keep using the stuff we’ve got instead of building more and throwing it away?


[00:07:52] That’s right. Yeah. Okay. So shifting gears, Trish, first some on the show here. Thanks for taking time out. I know you probably have several full plates at the Home Depot in your role, a bit listless. Paint a picture about who you are with our listeners. So let’s start with. Well, my favorite question is where are you from?


[00:08:09] Sheer. Absolutely. I’m from a little suburb of Muncie, Indiana, called Yorktown, Indiana. I went to Ball State University, but yeah, I lived most of my life in in Muncie, in Yorktown, Indiana. I graduated from Ball State with the Operation Supply chain management degree. And then from there I went to work for J.B. Hunt. Transportation in Chicago area worked as several different accounts Office Depot and then went to the Home Depot account, actually. And after several years there, you know, they knocked on my door and said, hey, we’ve got this thing. It’s called reverse Logistics. We need and we need a facility manager, a general manager to open up our very first warehouse and run this facility. And my first question was, what is reverse Logistics? And, you know, I took the leap and and moved back to my home state in Indiana and started up the first reverse Logistics facility for Home Depot.


[00:09:07] Wow. OK. I didn’t know that that is. And now I think Hundy Bill has at least three. Correct?


[00:09:12] Right now we have three throughout the US.


[00:09:14] First one an IV and turning out both of toward the one in Georgia, which is fascinating. It really is fascinating to see what goes into processing. Well, what comes back. But what was it like setting up the first woman? Did. Did you have a plan? And then that plan evolved dramatically. Tell us more about how you set that up.


[00:09:34] Yeah, the name of the game was redesign and reconfigure. And so we set it up with some very high level statistics, obviously not having ever done this before. And quite frankly, not a lot of folks in retail had done this internally either. And so we partnered with a lot of different benchmarking opportunities and really learned a lot. We split we had a gradual rollout so that we were able to learn quite a bit. But really have evolved over the years. I mean, that that was back in 2011. So we we’ve been at this game for quite a long time.


[00:10:09] And I would say it based on what we heard when we toured the one here in Georgetown and kind of behind the scenes, it seems like a lot of companies would would crave that a lot of the best practices that the Home Depot has developed over the years.


[00:10:21] Yeah, absolutely. We get a lot of folks that reach out to us and we’re more than happy to, you know, talk to folks kind of lessons learned. You know, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. And, you know, Tony mentioned or we’re all about customer service. That’s that’s one aspect that most folks I think don’t realize is in the reverse space is just, as, you know, customer focused as we are on a sales side. We also need to make returns easy for the customers so that they continue to come back and that we can make sure that they’re satisfied from a full experience.


[00:10:52] It’s table stakes these days. Right, in ways that it never has been. I mean. You know, back in 80s, I think, you know, Christmas and track and receipts and all the stuff, you never knew what return policy was based on what gift you got these days. Cash it. It’s just it’s just a customer expectation. So it’s been really neat to see in kind of an inside look at it at the world class approach you’ll take to returns and reverse Logistics. OK, so let’s shift gears a little bit here and talk more about your current role at the Home Depot Sheer.


[00:11:24] Absolutely. Currently, I’m the director of operations for our reverse Logistics support facility. So he as you mentioned, we have three facilities throughout the U.S. that my team handles everything from transportation of how to get it in and out of their most cost effectively to building services. How do we keep the equipment running? How do we plan the labor that’s needed for the associates to be able to process the returns? Engineering what are the new automation available available out in the network along with software and systems? Right. Interesting is that, you know, not a lot of software companies have a reverse space or piece of them. And so it’s it’s very interesting to kind of customize and have to work through even this. The system side of things for returns. Mm hmm. Yeah.


[00:12:14] Tony, the sheer scale, I think one of the things as I started to understand the last few years and better understand and learn reverse Logistics and retail space, working with you and your team is just the vast scale. You know, it’s like touring the ports that you’ve never until you’ve toured a port like Venice, surveying the ports they have down there. So you’ve seen it. You can’t appreciate just the vast sheer scale of it. And I think they’re very in a very similar way. Retail returns came. Same thing we said there, too.


[00:12:44] Well, we have to think back to the fact that Home Depot with 2000 plus stores and the Wal-Marts of the world and Targets Lu with these multiple stores, they used to have a process that trist just explain moving away from where every store handled their returns individually. They had the entire staff in the back room to put things in a box and ship them somewhere. I mean, think about the inefficiency of that. And so it’s very, very critical that retailers pick up that best practice of centralize return centers. And and I did that. Want to miss a chance to suggest that trist. You’ve got one in Arizona, one down here in the Georgia area. And, of course, one in your old hometown of Indianapolis. What a coincidence. You have to have quarterly meetings there when there’s maybe particular home games.


[00:13:32] Exactly. Just when the Colts are in town, you know, things like that happen.


[00:13:37] Well, that’s that shift from in-store to kind of a similar centralized. But that was such a well-received move that that streamlined a lot of things for your associates across the country, right?


[00:13:51] It did. And what we took the approach of, you know, we took all of the hours that were being spent in the stores. To Tony’s point, you know, think of everything that got returned, got shipped single item back to the vendor or got disposed of in the trash compactor. And, you know, we took all of that labor that that that stores were spending. And we put it back on the sales floor, really, again, trying to focus that time on getting associates out on the floor to meet customers demands and needs. And so what that also did was from a sustainability perspective, you know, we got a lot less packages coming from 2000 stores going to different ways with centralized returns, were able to, you know, utilize less transportation and less overall footprint in the economy. Just to centralize the returns and one in three facilities, I’m sure, eliminating empty miles back.


[00:14:44] Outstanding. OK. One last question. Before we were going to dove into a variety of things. Opus and Borse and to our listeners that may be unfamiliar with that. That is not the latest cartoon on Nickelodeon. But let’s talk about how. Morton I mean, to be in transportation in the metro Chicago area. Chicago land or where are they refer to that? I bet that really prepped you well, moving into the role you’re in now.


[00:15:10] I could imagine. It absolutely did. You know, it gives you a lot of perspective on, you know, we focused up on that side was obviously the delivery to the stores and making sure that we had the inventory in the stores that was needed as much as possible. But it also gave me a good avenue and understanding of what was needed on the return side. So from a reverse side, how do you go pick up from 2000 stores at the cheapest option and most effective way for the company? And so it definitely laid the groundwork for us being able to set up a really good process to minimize the cost in just shipping our returns back to central locations.


[00:15:48] All right. So let’s see what we’re going to change gears here and talk more about some of the leading methodology related to returns, I believe are really a variety aspects of our retail, the retail experience. And let’s define subtopics and Borse. Let’s let’s assume much like, yeah, I was not I am still not never will be the expert in many of these acronyms and and what’s behind them. But for our listeners, let’s define what we mean with the bonus in the Borse acronym. Start there and then we’ll learn more about how the really neat stuff Home Depot is doing in these areas. So John, Deonna start Sheer.


[00:16:26] The e-commerce world has brought a ton of new acronyms and I swear someday somebody has to create an acronym dictionary and just try it out. But it’ll be ongoing because the new terminology through the e-commerce world, of course, and it only occurs when you’ve got store fronts and we all think of e-commerce as one way shipping out of a warehouse to somebodies home. And that’s by and large, true. Then the pickup is at somebody’s home or dropped off. Back to that same facility. And it’s really not the most efficient method. What’s happening now is the bocas and Borers refers to buy online pickup in store, and that’s the one aspect of Bumpus. Then buy online return in the store. And that’s where companies like Home Depot have have struck a real advantage that the customer who sees the product online. And I think we’ve told stories about this as well, Scott, that so many people today are buying based on that little screen on their phone. They take a look at that and they say, oh, that looks good. And then when it gets to their house, they open the box and say, oh, it doesn’t look like that at all. And unfortunately, that happens a lot. And is that the resolution? Is it the way the pictures are taken? Just there’s no way to set expectations on a phone that don’t create sometimes a disconnect. And that disconnect is really what drives the returns. Now, for most consumers, getting things that the home is kind of cool and it’s it’s there when they get home and stuff like that. But if they do run into the problem and we’re talking about 20 to 30 to 40 percent of e-commerce purchases result in a return depending on the product category, those people are inconvenienced when they have to deal with the return many days.


[00:18:10] Many of them nowadays don’t even have a printer to print an army label. They just want to have a convenient opportunity. And if it didn’t meet their expectations, but they really wanted to buy something. And I’m I’m one of those people who thinks consumers don’t just water online just for fun. It’s really it’s not a fun experience to order something to have to send it back. Take it back. Deal with it. So now you talk about the experience of people buying online. It comes to the door. They open the package. It oh, this isn’t quite it. Now they have an opportunity with over 2000 outlets of Home Depot to go back to their return it in the store, but have an experience improvement by saying I really wanted this and this isn’t quite it. And at that point, I think Tricia will give part of the story there, because those are the new terms going on. You can also pick up in the store that that’s that’s an easy one. It just it’s ready for you and you get to touch it. You get to handle it yourself. And it’s it’s it’s a real tactile experience versus a non tactile experience. When you’re looking at your phone and saying push the button, add to cart, get it to my house. It’s a very different experience and we’ll see what wins out in the end. But right now, Home Depot offers both sides of that equation. Chris, what else with Jennifer?


[00:19:27] Yeah, I would agree on that. The BOPE side, the buy online and pick up in-store. We do that in a lot of different kind of facets. You know, you can come in and we’ve got your order picked. We also offer in select stores different lockers where you have been emailed or texted a code. And so you can walk up to the locker at your own convenience and get it yourself and not even have to go into the store. But what we find, I mean, to Tony’s point from a from a purchasing side of things is that the customer likes it, they see it. And right away they’re able to say, OK, this is what I want. And we also. And they’re like, oh, I forgot, I also need this. So then they have the avenue to just be able to go right into the store and continue shopping with some of the other things now that they know that what they bought online was what they want. Now they can get some accessories to go with it.


[00:20:12] Love that. Well, you know, Gartner added the Home Depot to its top 25 supply chain rankings last year. And I believe I’m not mistaken, some of that rationale were somebody that really neat things are doing to make it easier. You know, there’s the supply chain is being leveraged. Retail processes are being leveraged to make it even easier for four to save consumers time. Right. And convenience.


[00:20:37] Absolutely. We’re really trying to cater to the new generation and kind of keep up with technology. You know, it’s a fast paced life. Technology is out there. People wanted the drop of a hat. So, you know, we’re trying to accommodate that.


[00:20:49] So I got to share something here. And not sure Klay is listening, but Klay is member art team and he does an incredible job. He is also a current college students. He’s a little younger than than the rest of us. So we’re walking through. I’m sharing with him one of the technology platforms we use here at Supply Chain Now Radio and probably overexplain. And it finally got to Clay. Clay told me so. He said, Scott, I grew up in technology. I can figure this out really quick. It kind of dawned on me as a father of three kids. These kids have access to technology and are learning and they’re just accustomed to kind of having it from them, figuring it out much easier maybe than than are our generation. So and as you would expect, consumers want to take advantage of those trends and those technology platforms make it easier and can save their time as well.


[00:21:43] Right now, every shopping experience absolutely we act are also going into just to throw another acronym out in case everybody is keeping count to BOD fists, which is by on line deliver from store so you can buy something online. And we will actually it could be something that’s in the stores stock as well. And we deliver it to your house from our store. So, you know, Uber’s out there, right? Everybody wants everything brought right to my burritos. And everything’s this is kind of, you know, art aspect of that.


[00:22:12] Ok, so, you know, I’ve mentioned some of both of Orbitz and some of the advantages over pure online business. However, what else is there anything else that know? I’d like to point out as it relates to some of these things where you’re using you’re really using the enterprise and flexing that muscle so that it’s not so dependent on that one store? Yeah. What else would you add in terms of those advantages?


[00:22:38] Yeah, I mean, this kind of goes back to the buy online and returning in-store aspect of things from our side of things. The because so much is available online at the drop of a hat. It is definitely changed the returns industry inside of things because you know, online sales in general comp at a higher rate than some of your core brick and mortar type stores. And so we’ve had to really challenge ourselves of how do we get those online returns that are taken into the store or even to your point, if the customer wants to try and print out the label themselves, you know, how do we optimize that? And so we we offer Duff a lot of different options where we can you can call a call center, you can use a prepaid prepaid label, you can bring it in store. So we’re really trying to do that. But the online sales piece has really challenged us because a lot of buyers are buying multiple of the same thing and maybe just different colors. And so you end up with a lot of. No, I know. I mean, I myself excluded, of course, but. Yeah. And so what happens is, is now we’re dealing with a lot of what we call non-effective returns. Right. Product that there is is nothing wrong with. And so now we have to kind of play the game and figure out disposition wise, how do we keep it out of the landfill? How do we make sure that we either get get it back to the vendor and get it back to one of our distribution centers for for resale? How do we do all that?


[00:24:00] You know, I’d love to see it. And we want Domino’s to now love to see some of the the data behind just the returns world. I’ll tell you. And one reason that really I’ve been thinking more about this is I’m getting prepared to return my first. We bought some extra lights and that didn’t happen to work with the current lights we have. So for the first time since I’ve ever been a certain dominant e-commerce retailer out there, I’m returning. I’m making a return for the first time ever. Wow. I was having to ask my wife how to do it. She’s the expert, of course. She’s also the balls. And maybe I’m thinking, Mack, mama, maybe the reason I’ve been holding out is because I’ve just been leery of just the whole process or when she has shown me how easy it is where you basically you click a button online and then drop it off at a carrier. Holy cow. You know, but I wonder how many folks are like me. Out there that maybe aren’t embracing some of these modern buying trends that you identified. Yeah, I don’t know. Joe Hurley was.


[00:25:07] It was great that Tricia referred to the different colors that people buy things that and just decide which one they like and the other two, because the comparison we talked about in the retail world, the clothing world, the bracketing experience, right, where people buy a size above a size below that they think they’ll need in one of the three all fit. But that’s a two thirds return rate automatically. Now, the advantage for Home Depot, of course, is outside of the aprons. They don’t really sell a lot of clothing. So it’s not a fit issue as much as a color issue, which is still interesting that that and and it’s unfortunately true because again, they’re looking at it on their phone. They think it’s blue. They pick it up. It’s not the blue that they thought it would be. And they turn it down or they run it, bring it back of it’s shipped to them. So. And I didn’t think about it in relation to Home Depot, but that’s that’s its own little nightmare. Right. People tried different colors just to see. And of course, you do have some of the issues with very specialized product that they’re not sure it’ll be exactly what they need. So there’s all kinds of challenges that you have. Oh, gosh.


[00:26:09] Okay. So so let’s shift gears a little bit here. Let’s talk more about retailers and the customer and what the retailer would love the customer to do with the return and how and really how that’s communicated. I think one of my observations as we have certainly, you know, our active e-commerce customers is that we’ve seen more more communications in the box of what to do if some sort of missing or something’s wrong in a lot of third parties are wanting to keep that rather than send everyone back to the retailer.


[00:26:40] But what are your thoughts there? What what how do retailers effectively communicate? How well, how customers are a product act that they need to return something?


[00:26:53] Yeah, I think it’s a great call out because, you know, we can do everything possible and put it on the package in. But quite frankly, as soon as you get something and you install it, the package is gone. All right. I didn’t keep the package unless you like my dad and you’re just hoarding it in the garage somewhere. But, you know, no. So that so we don’t really keep the packaging. And that’s where some of the key information is. What we really try to push to is, is at the point of register is, you know, some of our particularly our outdoor power equipment that we sell. You know, there are LSH, you know, our lifetime service agreements that we really encourage customers to sign up for, because that that will really take you and get you online support, get you you can literally pick up the phone and call and say, hey, I’m having a problem with this. And usually we can take care of it right away as as well there. We also try to really get them. A lot of our stuff is like combo kits or accessory type things. And so really trying to drive the message of, you know, maybe you don’t need to return the entire thing, maybe you just need a replacement battery, for example. So so really trying to drive that message. But it is difficult because, you know, again, at its fast pace and if it doesn’t work, you’re frustrated. You’ve already had a bad customer experience. And so at the end of the day, we still try to take the customers, you know, satisfaction into play. And we will tell them we’ll take it back. Quite frankly, you know, we want you to be a satisfied customer.


[00:28:18] Yeah. So going back Libyan’s something Sheer there a bit. You know, we all don’t know. We don’t know. And then especially consumers. But I bet there is an education. I mean, I know for I mean, and I’ve just shared my whole return history. If I thought that I could just get one thing replace and I didn’t have to go through and send everything back and then reorder, you know, maybe much easier for me. Right. So but education is part of making sure that the consumer understands, you know, how how they how it can make the whole process easier is part of the what we have to do, right?


[00:28:53] It is. And typically we we put that on our store associates, our returns associates to kind of make sure. But it’s also a two way street. What we find in returns, quite frankly, is is a lot of folks are afraid that like they won’t be able to return it. And so they lie about what’s wrong with it. They say, oh, it’s broken or something like that. Right. Instead of just telling us what’s really wrong with it. So, I mean, I would I would suggest everybody be open. I mean, we’re all trying to make sure that you have a good experience so that can help us as well.


[00:29:20] Yeah, that was a good point you made about the reason codes. They will always be there in a long line for returns and they’re like all they start to sweat, they start to panic. They start to like, oh, they’re going to give me the third degree, they’re going to grill me. And it’s and it’s much easier experience than that. But but there’s also I don’t know, do you actually capture or try to capture recent codes on the register?


[00:29:40] We do, but they’re pretty generic reason codes. We also, though, offer comments. So our associates can actually handle type comments and for specific things that the customer has told them, that would be even better because we do a little testing of reason codes at retailers years ago.


[00:29:57] And there were, I think, let’s say the. Five reason codes and we’d rotate them just to see and a number one reason code was always the winner no matter what the reason code was number one, number one. Number one, because the returns clerks are not always the highest paid in the store and they’re not the happiest. They’re little stressed out by those lines. So they do things quickly. But it’s great if they’ve actually been trained to capture comments that that’s so important. If that feedback can happen for your store owners, the store management and for the manufacturers, the whole ecosystem, the whole emphasis.


[00:30:29] Did you do that study at Home Depot? Because I’m pretty sure we’ve done the same thing. And the first one is always the given. So let’s just number one. Yeah.


[00:30:37] So let’s talk about the returns themselves. So what does the Home Depot want to do with the return? You mentioned the three centers and one in Arizona, one in Indianapolis and one of course, we’ve we’ve taken a peek in in Georgia. What’s how do you handle returns?


[00:30:51] Yeah, there is a lot of different avenues that can go. I will tell you right out of the gate, I joke when I give people or people tours of our buildings. It’s like Christmas morning. We never know what we’re gonna get. Right. There’s no no great kind of analysis on when are people going to return and why. And so we open up the trailer and it’s kind of a mess of all sorts of different things. We deal with all types of different products at our facilities. One other aspect we’ve done as a company is really tried to take anything that the stores were having to handle and throw away in the landfill and just send it to us as well to try to get some recycle capabilities and things like that. But so so when we get it, we really disposition it. We obviously have agreements with our vendors. And so our suppliers and vendors will basically have an agreed upon. Either they want to want it back. They may not want it back. You know, we kind of always follow whatever the agreement is and then pass that. It’s really on our team to figure out how to keep it out of the landfill. That that’s really the point blank for us is if we’re gonna send it back to the vendor, that’s a no brainer. We can make full truckloads and kind of, you know, keep that footprint down from a transportation perspective. But then, you know, selling it on the secondary market, we obviously can do that. But there’s some caveats to that as well. Some of the stuff doesn’t go great on the secondary market.


[00:32:13] And so what we then do is take it a level deeper and go into, well, how is this metal? Is this cardboard? Is this, you know, plastic? How do I recycle it? To keep it out of the landfill? That has become a very interesting challenge these days with everything that’s going on right now in the changing landscape. Absolutely. And so so it makes us get creative. There’s obviously a given take on how much labor do you put in to recycle versus how much you keep out of the landfill in regards to how much it’s going to cost you. But there’s also it’s the right thing to do. So with all of those different dispositions, you know, just Home Depot in the three RL CS last year, we were able to keep one hundred and two thousand tons out of the landfill just in one year. What was that? One hundred and two thousand tons of landfill avoidance because of our secondary market sales, our recycle capabilities. You know, you mentioned circular economy earlier. We do a really great program with our shrink wrap and stretch wrap, you know, throughout the company, Oliver’s two thousand stores. They don’t have mailers or anything like that to contain stretch wrap. And so they send it to our CRTC reverse Logistics centers. And we we Bayle that and send it actually back to our manufacturers of some of our plastic decking. And then they re utilize that to make new decking that we sell in our stores. So it’s a fun little full circular economy.


[00:33:40] And that is so cool because people don’t realize that the circular economy will actually generate more jobs in the future. It’s not just about taking jobs away from the people who used to throw this stuff away and and do those works. But it’s all about finding creative new ways to use that stuff. And keeping plastic out of the ocean is a big deal now and someone’s going to get more and more attention. Though it’s unfortunate that the quiet efforts like yours at Home Depot are not as recognized as the ones they caught throwing plastic straws away and things like that. It’s unfortunate that we don’t pay attention to the creativity and you just one hundred and two thousand tons is is staggering. And but you’ve also you’ve fed a secondary market that’s growing all over the country. And and that’s an important aspect of the economy as well. The secondary market, the the stores where those returns wind up being resold at a lower price. It also feeds another demographic of people who maybe the camp by the new ryobi power tools, but they can buy the refurbished ones and afford them a little bit better. So it’s it just continues to propagate in a growing marketplace in that secondary space. So it’s an important aspect. I would agree.


[00:34:53] It’s also interesting because you mentioned the secondary market is growing and that’s great. But now the. Our market gets just as competitive from a retail side of things as the, you know, the normal core sales, so. So it really it’s a fun business to be in. It makes me really think different strategies of how do you sell things differently, you know? How do you how do you get the edge even on the secondary market?


[00:35:16] So, you know, we didn’t talk about this this question, the warm up, but I love the pose it and get your both of your centeredness up. Yes, I heard that. So, you know that one of the topics that that is a common theme in. No, I think we just published up. So one eighty one this morning. And one of the huge common themes is talent. Right. Especially across and in Supply chain. And when I think about some of the huge accomplishments the Home Depot has made in the last 10 years or so, especially in, you know, 102 tons, I love this easy. That’s the easy factoid number to gravitate to. But there’s obviously a ton of work behind achieving those types of things and tons of hardworking people and leaders that are doing excellent work. What we think about talent coming in to the reverse Logistics the jobs at the circular economy is going to be creating. What are some of the skill sets you all think? Think of a short list, the top three or whatever and you want to be three. But what’s it could be? Singular igby. What’s the one big skill set? Do you think that the reverse Logistics industry really needs in, you know, as as a move into the years ahead?


[00:36:26] Well, I will tell you what I think what I look for. It is it isn’t even necessarily specific to the reverse Logistics, quite frankly, like I’m more look at things of, you know, are they open to change? Are they good at communicating and leading and and willing to change and to continue to think strategically on new initiatives? A lot of times, you know, we can say here this is you know, I’ve had a lot of, you know, experience in one thing. For example, like in transportation, that was most of my experience was reverse Logistics is such a knack. That like there’s not a huge amount of folks that have a lot of experience. And so so I personally, I steer closer to building my team of folks that have like knowledge in a field, but just are more open to kind of thinking broadly and developing things.


[00:37:15] Absolutely. And Scott, we can reference the fact that let’s make it clear Trish and Home Depot are part of the reverse Logistics Association Advisory Board. As is Tim Brown from Georgia Tech down here. And we recognize that there are no reverse Logistics programs in education. None. Zip, zero. Maybe an online course for one or two companies, but universities. But there there are no reverse Logistics graduates today and Supply chain is part of the background for reverse Logistics. But I would stress creativity because you have to come into this and understand it. It isn’t just about moving stuff. A return is a reverse sale. And the challenge is having been in that role at Philips and Tricia’s in that role. You actually have to act as an advocate inside your company and go across silos and say to some buyers, you’re buying a product that’s bad for the environment. We’re having to deal with it at the return centers and we’re getting a lot of them. And you have to advocate that. That is just a creativity. That’s a.. How do you want to say it? A conflict management issue. A in influencing skill. That’s critical. So there’s there’s more. Unfortunately, he can’t just hire somebody with an RL degree. They don’t exist. But that creativity. Not yet.


[00:38:34] Not yet. Correct. That’s that’s exactly an important point. But I mean, I came from sales and interest came from transportation. And the transportation world is very fragmented, very fragmented. And it’s just like the reverse world. It’s very fragmented. There’s such a huge amount of it being done dealt with. And no one owns a large share of it. I mean, you can talk about a number, I think. Home Depot is upwards of 80, 80 billion in sales. Oh, you need to keep rising that. Okay. And somewhere let’s be on the high side. Conservatively, eight to 10 percent of that is being processed back through. That’s a huge amount of product. And so it isn’t just about moving it because the other uniqueness about reverse Logistics is what Tricia referred to earlier. You open up a truck and oh my God, what is that? You open up a forward Logistics truck that’s delivering to the stores. They open it up to. Oh, cool. Let’s get the pallet loader and get these things off. And, you know, ten minutes later, the trucks unloaded at the return centers. I think it takes a little more than 10 minutes to get those things off. Then couple hours to figure out what to do with it. It sure does.


[00:39:45] And you bring up a really good point of just the overall in our facilities. You know, with the labor unemployment rate is is at an all time low. Right. And so, you know, how do you take a ceiling fan, for example, that may be returned with in the box or how many of you when you take put a ceiling fan together and the blades are all together and then you install it and it’s defective. How many of you take it all apart and try to fit it in the box like no one?


[00:40:10] My wife trying to call in and tell some stories on my last December jobs. I’m not getting back at it.


[00:40:15] So from our side of things, how do you, you know, automate things? And and it’s really difficult to automate it an installed ceiling fan and not put as much labor into it. And with the the labor market getting as constrained as it as it is, you know, it’s it’s our job on the reverse side to really kind of look at different types of things that we can do to streamline the process as much as possible.


[00:40:36] But let’s stress that about the education side, about the people, the development side. Again, we talked about the stores, the clerks at the front desk left to take returns, a little bit of stress involved, a little bit of patients required and so on. And so there’s a special talent already there. But really, if you talk to Tricia or any of the other Arly board members and you like, how did you decide to get into returns? I mean, what what possesses somebody? In my case, it was not about picking it. It was about being picked. And sometimes companies have to stand up and recognize that and say we need to pick some really talented people and put them in this area because it’s so important and it’s such a cost factor, the savings potential as well. When Trish talks about saving one hundred and 2000. Tons of products from landfill and recycle. A company needs to recognize that as an incredible achievement, you can sell 80 billion dollars with the product, but somebody who can save one hundred and two thousand tons from landfill, that needs to be recognized and valued at every company.


[00:41:44] And unfortunately, Home Depot does have a returns group. Reverse Logistics Lu. Unfortunately, a lot of retailers do not even pay attention to that. And the returns sit in the back room for a long time until somebody figures out. We have to do something with it. But it is about special breed of people and I’m really proud of being associated with so many of them over the years. Tricia refers to the fact that they weren’t centralized a few years ago and that changed the mind shift at Home Depot significantly. Now they do brag about the savings, about what products they are able to put into a secondary market and and some of those other great ideas that have come out. So there’s a lot of need for good people in this space, Anderson, that a lot of people jumping up and down to get into returns world.


[00:42:30] I agree. I also think that’s interesting. You know, we talked a lot about online sales. And as online sales are continuing to grow at all retailers, it’s really forcing a lot of retailers to get into the reverse Logistics space, whether they want to or not. All those non-directive returns, it’s very hard to say, OK, well, I don’t want to take returns back. Well, it’s not an option anymore. And so it’s it’s a growing industry as well. And I’m very lucky that Home Depot has started it early. And so we’ve got a lot of years under our belt.


[00:42:59] Absolutely. And appreciate y’all’s willingness to share. I like the arly event that we did here in Georgia, where we’re allowed folks from the outside to come in and kind of see what’s been working well, as well as some of the challenges that just are associated with returns. I mean, you know, I think if more and more consumers really put their eyes on some of these facilities, these things are coming back and all kinds of different shapes. And then to your point, great companies like the Home Depot are getting serious about, you know, reusing recycling. How can we, you know, 102 tons keeping that out of the out of the trash piles. Right. That’s that’s really important. And then there’s a lot of tough to your point, Technical creative people tell the people that are figuring out new ways of saving and recycling. I like the example you offered about coming what came back where. But you shipped to your the the the deck companies use as raw materials. I mean, the person that comes up with that kind of stuff, that is really that’s the cool thing about being a siplon Indian supply chain, I think. Right. Because there is no shortage of problems to solve. And it really that requires new solutions, not the same. More solutions.


[00:44:11] And I think you go back to your point you made the circular economy is absolutely going to create jobs. I mean, right now, today, there are a slew of firms that are doing really well because they’ve gatting. They’re helping companies uncover new ways to recycle in this shifting landscape. As Tricia, as you alluded to, your new ways of engineering, how to how to recycle and repurpose things and win. And the cool thing about this conversation will happen. The backdrop here is King Plow, which is a 19th century plow manufacturing facility. A nice a nice sized plants. Bless you for the time and was repurposing late 80s. And now it’s blossomed into an incubator and a co-working space, arts and into entertainment, podcasting, studio facilities. That that’s that’s a often one of the cool dynamics that’s taking place right now in the reverse Logistics and returns and sustainability space.


[00:45:10] So angry.


[00:45:13] So how can one of the things I think that is required to keep moving the industry forward and to keep pulling talent into eventually, sooner than later, create dedicated specific educational programs to build reverse Logistics leaders? Right. But part of that is, is putting a spotlight on what’s going on now. These big wins trist, you’re speaking to some of the people behind him, some of the companies behind them. Antonia, I don’t want speak for you, but it seems like with the awards program that you all have put together. I was on I was on the the site of the Dave Blay blatantly stealing some of your verbage for our Supply chain awards. But but I think spotlighting some of the really neat things and the critical work is being done is a big part of what’s needed right now.


[00:46:04] Is that right? Absolutely. I would go back about 20 years and there was no reverse Logistics. We talked about that. And. And so I join the RLA back then and I found a willingness by people there to share some of the best practices. I think there’s a different approach. There’s always competitiveness in the world. SALES, but on the reverse sales side, it’s less competitive. This is like how what do you do with this stuff? How do you deal with this stuff? And and there’s so much sharing that has gone on in the organization as has been built because of that. But I literally I mean, I was at Philips and I wasn’t the smartest person around. I wasn’t a rocket scientist. But I heard people. And when I did well is I listened to people and said, hey, if they do it like that, if Home Depot has that solution, then maybe we can do that. Here at Philips or what is the problem that they face in the store representing our product? How do we fix that? So I actually again, we cross all corners across every silo in a company because we get involved in a marketing, make sure the product is represented correctly on shelf.


[00:47:09] That’s we just talked about it’s it’s the unmet expectations of people take things and it doesn’t do what they think it will do. Well, then make sure that they understand what it’s supposed to do. So when you talk about a reverse Logistics education, it’s it’s all aspects. It is the sales aspect. It’s the marketing aspect. It’s the supply chain aspect. It’s even a little bit of the financing aspect because Tricia Tricia alluded to. And I’ve learned financial has a big part of this. What you do with something is gonna cost you something or it’s going to save you something. Then you have to be careful. And we alluded to this on the last or other shows where some companies have made decisions to burn products because a finance person said, well, it’s cheaper to burn it than to give it away. And those companies to learn. When someone finds out about it and it becomes global news, you don’t want that to happen.


[00:48:00] I know that Trish Home Depot also doesn’t want to see, you know, news reports on anything that you’ve done wrong. And I don’t either. But for the record, you don’t want to get it.


[00:48:13] No, it’s not even a matter anymore of getting caught because ultimately Burberry has Howzat for brand and everyone respects around the world and they got caught. So it’s not about it’s not about getting caught. It’s about trying to do the right thing. And that’s where the reverse world where we live. We know that it’s more important to do the right thing. It may not always be the most cost effective, but ultimately it is. Because if it if it saves time and it saves product and it saves landfills, it is the right thing to do. And we want to focus on that. So I’m so proud of member companies like Home Depot and others they really care about. It’s not just caring about the environment. It’s caring about what’s going to happen with this stuff. And can we find something better to do with it? And that’s why we stress that creativity. And they’re just some of you have been through supply chain programs in schools. They’re not focused on that that much. So we do need some dedication to that. And that’s that’s on the roadmap for the Reverse Logistics Association in conjunction with the ACMD Association Supply chain Merchants, to put together a course that does cover all these aspects. Again, it’s it’s eye opening. And I think Tricia has been in those meetings where she’s had to deal with other departments in the company.


[00:49:27] Absolutely. I would agree. The other thing we’re doing as far as education goes is, you know, we host tours, obviously, for a lot of folks. It’s funny, we even internally, you know, every quarter I’m hosting tours just for our upcoming, you know, new leaders that they don’t know what a reverse Logistics even is within our own company. And we do it and we’ve been doing it for years. So we do that internally. We also partner with a lot of universities and host tours for actually just here in a few weeks. We’ve got, you know, I.U. because, of course, Indiana, you know, some IU grad students that we every year we walk them and kind of take them through the facilities, because some of them, even though they’ve graduated, they still don’t know what they want to be when they grow out. Right. And and so it’s good to open up their eyes for different opportunities. And a lot of them, even if they have a supply chain degree, even within the supply chain, that there’s a little bit of a myth still on the reverse side of things.


[00:50:28] And interest gets to be an evangelist. And that’s one of the things I enjoyed the most 20 years ago, is becoming that evangelist, for example. How often do you take a management team or a buying team into the return center? They need to see it. You should have a meeting once a year, at least, maybe once a quarter, and have the buyers come to the facility and sit there in middle of all of that that’s going on. There’s an education that that’s not offered in any university, but that’s an education. And again, it’s sometimes probably feels maybe not as much Dittrich. But back at Phillips was like a wolf crying in the darkness, just saying, hey, pay attention here. This is going on. What can we do to fix this? And and so there’s a real evangelistic role about being in reverse Logistics, because not a lot of people know what it is still. It’s just.


[00:51:17] I agree. And you’re right. It’s a culture shock within the company. When we first started, it was very like, you know, it was it was very. Hard and different to get some of our internal partners to understand what we were doing and the purpose and things like that. But you’re right, we take some of our buyers down to our facilities all the time. And it’s you see that some of our facility service over 800 stores and you can see 800 stores of returns of the product you’re buying and you’re like, okay, something must be going on here. So it’s definitely eye opening business for. For even our internal partners.


[00:51:49] Absolutely. So much to dove into, especially the scale that you represent with with the Home Depot. But there’s so many gains being made and we need more evangelists really for the industry, for the Indian sports industry, but certainly for the reversals, the reverse Logistics component that arguably in Toyota, how you feel, but that that seems to be one aspect of the Indian Supply chain community that that there is a less proliferation of best practices. Not is unlike, you know, think of procurement, best practices or, you know, certainly the man planning these days is getting that time. I mean, you’ve where you turn, you can get plenty of expertise there. But it seems like only lately in the last decade or so, we’re finally starting to serve this need. Is that.


[00:52:42] Oh, absolutely accurate? Absolutely. Because really reverse Logistics returns were the where the dark side stepchild. There’s no question about that. As in Star Wars. Absolutely. And when you visit a center and you see that stuff, that’s me. It is so completely opposite than the supply chain. Right. You just referred to. You can make dramatic gains in packaging and. Right. And brand procurement and supply movement and and transportation because it’s all standardized. It’s nice, neat. But the reverse world is is completely opposite. And that’s why it is a challenge. And it’s so great to have people like trash around who recognize it’s more than just supply chain. It involves these other aspects. So very proud to have them and participating and being active in trying to do something to move the needle forward. It’s just it’s it’s fortunate that. Absolutely.


[00:53:34] Some of my favorite things we do, we we at our leadership level, we even trying to get some of our forward distribution centers, you know, kind of cross-pollinate our talent. And in one of my favorite things is whenever we bring over a new leader from from the for distribution side and ICN RLC, because they’re like, oh, I’m going from one warehouse to another. It’s really the thought. And and just to see the look on their face. And we give them usually a couple weeks and then I’ll go back and say so. And they’re just their eyes bug out of their head. They’re just like, wow, this is this is a whole nother beast. Now it’s very it’s very different then. So I would also challenge if some of the folks that are in the forward distribution side, you know, reach out, think about, you know, it is Logistics, but it’s a little bit more of a different dynamic, too, to kind of come up with solutions.


[00:54:21] We can start documenting that on video. Saka is like a perfect reality show opportunity. OK. So let’s. Tricia, you’re going to happen between Spot, but I’m hoping folks with Home Depot can be out at the reverse Logistics conference next month in February. Absolutely. Yes. Fantastic. And so, you know, we’re kind of rass we kind of bring this episode to a close. Tony, we’re excited about not only broadcast live out there, but also the program you’re assembling in February and chock full of keynotes and learning opportunities that are that really mirrors what we’ve been talking about the last hour. Right?


[00:54:57] Well, that’s that’s a huge opportunity. He’ll be a strong venue, a strong event, because we had over 650 registrants this past February. We’re expecting at least that or more this next February. We do have a couple of keynote speakers already established, one of which is John Jonathan Gold Vise President Supply chain side of the National Retail Federation. So there’s a focus on retail because Trish and the other retail partners that are in this world facing the returns issues are learning that the manufacturers now prefer to dump the problem on them. And that requires even more skills and even more understanding of a secondary market liquidation returns processing because the vendors who used to take back maybe 75 percent now only take back about 25 percent. And it’s caused a shift in the retailers to fear what they’re doing. And you can throw money at it as they’re finding out, but that that’s not always the solution. So the focus at the conference will be best practices in these areas. What’s what are the new tools? Tricia referred to the fact that there are virtually no reverse Logistics software companies out there. They just don’t focus on it. It’s such a challenge. So there’s a little bit of focus on that. There’s a focus on the equity investing that’s going on in the secondary market because we’re running out of warehouse space because warehouses are getting full of returns.


[00:56:19] So that’s an aspect of the industry that gets explored at our event. One of the popular aspects of of of the agenda. Two of them will be the fireside chat where Trish and 12 11 colleagues who are on the advisory board are able to address the audience and talk about their experiences, what they’ve gone through, what they’re doing and what they see for the RLA. The other one is, again, the sharing aspect. We have these interactive champagne roundtables and Trish and the other board members sit at the table and allow the attendance to sit there with them and ask the questions. And it’s not being recorded. It’s a friendlier audience again. It’s a goal of sharing best practices, not learning how much money you’re losing, making trading and things like that. It’s not about that. It’s about what kind of best practices are out there. So the conference we have, I’m really proud of it. It is the flagship of the industry. Again, it’s the only real event focused on this completely. And we do it around the world as we talked about. But in Vegas. And I want backup for one moment, because in addition to that national conference or international, we also have those events.


[00:57:32] You referred to the Home Depot Onsite One Day seminar, including a tour we just did, the one in Florida recently with Encompass the parts and logistics provider, reverse logistics provider. We have one coming up October twenty eighth in Austin, and that is with Dell, another one of the board members. And not only is Dell co-hosting the seminar, sending some of their people to talk about fraudulent returns and best practices, they’re allowing a tour for our guests of their command center, the Dell Aftermarket Command Center. I may have mentioned it looks like NASA. It’s very cool. So we’ll see how companies like Home Depot and at that level, the DLC h.p.’s of the world. They are focused on everything that happens after the sale and trying to take care of it. And that’s what people like Tricia do. And so that’s coming up October 28. It’s a Monday in Austin. Great city to be in. We’ll have a board meeting the week before. Also in Austin with eight of the 12 board members attending and then in Vegas, that’s coming in February. So not only is it a conference and expo, but Supply Chain Now Radio will be there broadcasting live.


[00:58:43] We’re we’re really excited about that. You mentioned Dell. Next week, we are going to be featuring one of Dell’s newest members, former president of the Apex chapter at Georgia Tech, current ag rule. He joined Dell. I want to say within the last year or so and he’s going to come on the show and I’m looking forward to it because kind of cardsharp, he’s sharper than me. So he’s not one of the folks that you’re talking about. But, you know, the folks that kind of once they get out into it, they kind of have an awaking an epiphany. Right. And and so I’m really curious to see it kind of now that Carns on the other side and he’s the he’s leading things in the real world. I can’t wait to hear kind of some of his early lessons learned at the, you know, within his first year of being in Supply chain great company. And look forward to their leadership at the event in February as well. Okay. What I feel like we could talk for hours on these topics, but we’ve we’ve been a lot of ground in about an hour. And Tony, want to make sure folks that want to get reach out to you and get plugged in. RLA, what’s the best way to do that?


[00:59:53] The best way is the Web site RLA. Dot org. Very easy to find us. We’re very transparent on their Web site. There’s even a picture of me with a phone numbers. They can come right after me if you need to. The rest of the management team, the advisory board is featured on there. Again, some information is hidden to protect their their lives. And the mission, the committees, the events that we have. The education is now that file is open. We have a free download. You can go to the site. There’s a big blue button says join the community, you join the community. You can pick out a white paper or some research that might benefit you. There is no end to learning in in reverse Logistics space. We learn every day and the tours are important. Whitepapers, the case studies, the presentations, the shared stories, everything relates to it. You never know when you can get two ideas and another two ideas and wind up with more than four ideas to create some make a real difference. I also talk about the fact that I hope Trisha’s had this experience where the company starts to recognize the impact you’ve had and you get a chance to become a hero.


[01:01:02] Mean salespeople and I spent a lifetime there too. You get to be a hero once in a while when your company exceeds its quota. The companies you’re calling on, they purchased something big in one year, but the next year never works that way. So in in the reverse Logistics space, you get to be a hero every day in so many ways. And if there’s a if there’s a feeling in anyone that want the. That kind of reward and not just a recognition of you hit your numbers or you beat your numbers, but that you’re making a difference. And it’s a huge difference on the bottom line. And that’s something that we get to experience in a reverse space. So I tell everyone that comes to the conference, you have a chance to be a hero at your company, steal borrow lists and try to get every idea you can go back to your company. And we’ve done some very creative things. Tricia was there last year when we introduced a Professor Wereley talking about quantum computing for reverse Logistics.


[01:02:06] And again, you’d never a quantum computing at a reverse Logistics conference, right? It’s. And there’s no bounce. It knows no bounds. And you go back to your company. And when everyone else in the world is talking about quantum computing for reverse Logistics in year two, you will look like a genius. That’s a that’s a that’s an absolute win. So I think you have the conferences coming up and starting to load up the schedule.


[01:02:31] Looking forward to that. You know, I don’t have to that quantum computing is above my pay grade. So I might check out some of your other sessions there. All right. So and you don’t have to be a member to attend the conference X and Expo’s. That right, Tony? You must be a member.


[01:02:47] You do not need to be a member. You should join the community so that you start to get information about it. You do not have to be a member to attend. There’s a separate registration rate, retailers and manufacturers, their rate is a little bit lower because they recognize they are the ones with the problem. So that literally anyone can attend. We have students, we have patrons, we have committee members. We have all levels of membership, corporate memberships, which include vouchers to attend. And yes, a consultant or student can pick up a line and buy themselves a registration to the event. It’s in fabulous Las Vegas in February. It’s it’s 115 degrees at that time of the year. So it’s not a bad place to be. It’s at the Mirage Hotel, one of the main strip establishments. Great facility will be in a grand ballroom. And the speakers will actually get to be on a real stage this time and kind of enjoying that opportunity. But again, all of our board companies will be there. Many, many, many member companies will be there and many nonmembers will be there as well.


[01:03:54] Loved that big opportunity. February 2020. Looking forward to that. Big thanks. Tony Sciarrotta. Reverse Logistics. SCAC. Trish Beam with the Home Depot. Really even George L’s time and all the ideas and content you shared thought leadership. Really? And want to have you back. You know you know who knows when you have it back? Trish, next year you might be up to 240000 tons. But big I mean, for enterprises, big is as they Home Depot is. I love how ya continue looking for ways. Move needle.


[01:04:28] We should give Home Depot a little credit. A lot of credit because it’s not just Trish. Trish works an entire department. They’ve got a director of sustainability that has been involved with us before. Joy Hix goes way back and a number of other specialized IDEC directors at that who are participating in that. So I don’t even know how large a department is anymore.


[01:04:50] Yeah, it’s growing. That’s the other thing. I mean, you mentioned it earlier, but like, once you get the company bought in and, you know, we’ve we’ve been you know, accolades have come from internally now we’re really investing even in our reverse network. So it’s it’s great to see what takes.


[01:05:05] Right. I’ll be deliberate about it. Okay. Big thanks to Tony and Trish for joining us here today. And as we wrap up today’s episode, as always, we’re going to invite our audience, come check us out in person. We’ve already touched on one big event we’re looking forward to in February. We’re gonna be at broadcasting live, interviewing a wide variety of folks out there, really spotlighting the content thought leadership. There’ll be you’ll be showcased at the Ahly conference next month. But other events that we are going to be at just around the corner, October 23rd, Ruby in Charleston Broadcasting Lab, the South Carolina Logistics Tech Talk in partnership with the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. October 23rd, you can find more information there at SC Competes dot org. I can’t complain being in Charleston October. That is a nice city. Hopefully the heat, most of the heat, even though we’re where it’s been hanging out a little later this year. But looking forward to that. Austin, in November, we’re gonna be with our friends at the Offer Transport Logistics CIO forum on November 7th and 8th. Come check us out there. A new event we’ve just added to the calendar. CSICOP Atlanta is featuring Gail Rakowski, the exact director with NASCAR track. You might be familiar with Maastricht National Shippers Strategic Transportation Count Sieff. Greg was going to be here. I was gonna trip him up. On what? Acronym stood for Organ Broadcasting Law from that that CSC MP Atlanta event here in Atlanta. And Gail, who leads exac doctor with fast track.


[01:06:34] It’s me talking to the subject of how our regulations and legislation impacting your career costs. So that should be a very informative event. There we talked about Oregon be in Vegas in February and then Modoc 2020 were broadcast laughed throughout the four days here in Atlanta, one the largest Supply chain trade shows in North America. We’ve had a lot of news here, Tony. So not only have we reconvened, so the 2020 Atlanta Supply chain awards are being hosted by Moad Access. It’s a program put on by Supply Chain Now Radio Apex, Atlanta, CSC, MPE, Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber had a great first year thanks to great partners like the reverse Logistics, SCAC and many others. So we’re going to look at Bigger in 2020. So Knowledge’s mutex hosting us. Kristian Fisher Prezant, CEO of Georgia Pacific is going to be our keynote. And we’ve just finalized, Tony, that Sean Cooper does. Sean Cooper with the Atlanta Committee for Progress is going to serve as our emcee. Wow. And it was fantastic. She is she was formerly, if you’ve been in Atlanta. She was formerly the senior executive leader at the Lockheed Martin facility, rather, building a variety of aircraft and other things, and went on to be also chief transformation officer at Westrup, which was used to be Rock 10. So it’s wonderful to have a leader with that type of supply chain in the sporting experience. Come on in. And emcee our awards. And then one of the develop, we’ve had their time and we appreciate finalize and not only US partnership with the 2020 Lance Supply chain Awards, but we’re adding a reverse Logistics Excellence Award.


[01:08:13] It’s we are stealing blatently from a lot of yours. A wonderful verbage you have with you. But you’ve got to defer to the experts. Right. And we certainly have two of those in a room in the studio with us here today. Okay. You can learn more. Miura is free to go to MOAD, actually learn more at Moto X, show and look for our interviews with MHR, CEO and C.O.O.. We’re sit now with them on November 1st to learn more about what their team and of course, MHR are. The great groups, great folks behind shows like Pro, Matt and mutex. All right. What an episode. Big thanks once again. Tony Shroder, executive director with the Reverse Logistics Association. Trist Tricia Beam, director of operations with the Home Depot. Thanks so much for y’all’s time on a really busy Friday morning to our audience. Be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Again, you can find us an Apple podcast, SoundCloud, all the leading sites where podcasts can be found. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss anything on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team. This is Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead and we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks, everybody.

Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode

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