10 Ways to Reduce Product Returns – UnderhoodService
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10 Ways to Reduce Product Returns


The topic of returns reminds me of when I’m asking my kids, “Who knocked over the lamp?” They point to each other and plead their case that the other was to blame. There is truth in each story, but my real concern is that it doesn’t happen again.


When it comes to product returns, whether the error stems at the counter or in the bay, returns negatively impact the distribution channel and vehicle repair process, adding time and cost to everyone who handles the parts. I’m sure all parties involved wish they would never happen again.

With the goal of providing you with input on ways shop owners can reduce the amount of product that is returned to suppliers, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their ideas on this topic. We received dozens of great responses, some of which are listed below, so thank you to those of you who responded.


10 Ways To Reduce Product That’s Returned to Suppliers

  1. Take time to properly assess the job at hand, so that the right parts are ordered the first time.

  2. Give your supplier clear, accurate information so that the right part can be delivered.

  3. Do business with a good parts supplier that has experienced counterpeople who ask and answer the right questions to be able to deliver the correct parts for the application. Communication and trust are key elements in this business relationship.

  4. vehicle information on hand, including the VIN number.

  5. Properly trained technicians will know how to accurately diagnose vehicle problems, eliminating any unnecessary parts replacements. Train your people on engine number locations, etc.

  6. Plan better and don’t try to order everything you “might” need for your own convenience. Said one reader: “Consider the time and money it costs for a supplier to be well-stocked and the costs involved in delivering parts. We are one of the few industries that is afforded this luxury.”

  • Purchase from suppliers who sell only top-quality parts.

  • Use suppliers that carry large inventories so that you can benefit from “just-in-time” parts ordering.

  • Don’t order parts until the job is sold, which will eliminate returning parts that can’t be used.

  • Keep your shop’s inventory well marked and in a central place, eliminating unnecessarily ordering parts that you already have in stock.

    If you have any ideas you would like to offer, just send me an e-mail and we’ll add them to our listing on the website.

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