Reversal of Fortune
As the largest inland port in the country, it’s not surprising that Pennsylvania’s one-time industrial hub has remained home to a century’s old company at the forefront of reverse logistics, a vague phrase with a very powerful meaning: less e-waste and more profit for retailers. Just a few miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh is Papercraft Park, home to GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, a company that began in 1898 as a horse-and-buggy “trucking” company and has since blossomed into the second-largest supply-chain headquarters in North America. While the company offers a breadth of solutions for pharmaceutical and government agencies, it’s real value for the CE industry is in how seemingly un-sellable inventory can be liquidated in alternative markets. Not only does the move increase revenue for retailers, but it eliminates environmental waste.
“Twenty-four percent of what we liquidate is electronics,” said Don Rendulic, director of marketing and corporate communications at GENCO. Efforts to find new ways to dispose of and repurpose returned goods have accelerated in recent years thanks, in part, to ecological concerns about e-waste and successful resell opportunities on Web sites like eBay where individuals, retailers and third-party specialists such as GENCO can liquidate products.
“Everyone knows that managing all of your inventory, not just the new stuff, but the stuff that’s coming back for one reason or another, and stuff that didn’t sell, is pretty important,” said Dr. Dale Rogers, professor of logistics and supply chain management at the University of Nevada and a GENCO consultant.