Zebra warns of warehouse black hole

IT products lose a tenth of their value each month

Zebra Technologies is warning of a retail black hole this month as consumers take back unwanted Christmas gifts and retailers struggle to cope with the returns rush.

According to Zebra, IT products in particular devalue quickly as they become obsolete more rapidly then other product groups. Technology products typically devalue by 10 per cent a month and with the high turnover of computers and gadgets, a new, faster, smaller product will quickly take the place of the old one, commented Clive Fearn, supply chain manager at Zebra.

Popular gadgets such as MP3 players and games consoles have a short life span and retailers cant afford for goods to get caught up in the supply chain for lengthy periods. Retailers need to ensure items dont sit around in a warehouse, and get them back out on the shop floor, said Fearn.

This year has seen online shopping grow at its fastest rate to date [1]. Zebra is warning that retailers could be losing money because of the cost of return logistics and putting stock back into the supply chain. Issues like not having the original packaging can wipe out 90 per cent of a products value by the time it comes to be re-sold, continued Fearn. Basic problems such as identifying what an item is, where it has been returned from and who bears the cost can delay resale and costs time and resources.

Suppliers and retailers need to have an efficient process for returned stock in place at peak sale periods. A solution that enables a speedy and efficient return to the shop floor will help prevent retailers from losing money. During the busiest retail period of the year, the cost of putting items back in the supply chain should not be underestimated. By implementing a track and trace system that uses barcodes, retailers could improve the returns process and save time and money, concluded Fearn.
About Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA) delivers innovative and reliable on-demand printing solutions for business improvement and security applications in 100 countries around the world. More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Zebra-brand printers. A broad range of applications benefit from Zebra-brand thermal bar code, "smart" label and receipt printers, and plastic card printers, resulting in enhanced security, increased productivity, improved quality, lower costs, and better customer service.
The company has sold more than six million printers, including RFID and wireless mobile solutions, as well as ZebraDesigner software, ZebraLink connectivity solutions, Genuine Zebra printing supplies and ZebraCare services.
Zebra Technologies Europe Ltd, headquartered in the United Kingdom, provides product and speciality label sales and support across EMEA.

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