Turning ambitions into actions

Increasingly more organizations aim to make their logistics operations more sustainable and reduce their CO2 footprint. You’re probably reading this blog since this may be of interest to you too.  Companies find it difficult to translate policy into real actions. In this blog, we translate sustainability goals into concrete solutions.

Can you make your business more sustainable with returnables?

By recycling and reducing material usage and waste, companies can make their operations more sustainable. This not only reduces their CO2 emissions but also saves them cash.

One of the ways to do this, amongst other things, is by using returnables. Think of pallets, containers or packaging materials that you use to send goods to customers. It would be a shame to do nothing with them afterwards. Instead, you can get them returned for reuse. But how do you support this process in your ERP system? And how do you prevent losing your returnables without spending too much time, money, and effort? We answer those questions in this blog.

Our advice --> SAP Best Practices in combination with EWM

SAP ERP supports standard supply chain processes with its Best Practices. Returnables Processing is one of them. This Best Practice describes how you can support the use of returnables in ERP. Administratively, the Best Practice for returnables works well. However, practically speaking, it contains (too?) many manual actions for sales and warehouse employees. That's why McCoy's Best Practice is to

SAP EWM automates administrative actions in this process that have to be performed manually in SAP ERP. The combination of SAP EWM with SAP ERP ensures that returnables are optimally traceable throughout the process.

Traceability at every step

Returnables Processing makes it possible to reuse pallets, containers, or other packaging materials to reduce your CO2 emissions. This can be done step-by-step, via the following process.

  • Sales employees create a sales order.

  • In SAP ERP, the delivery is automatically created based on the sales order.

  • During goods issue, after picking, SAP EWM automatically adds a returnable (pallet, container, or packaging) to the delivery. Automation reduces manual actions. Physically, the sold goods are packed on or in the returnable and sent to the customer.

  • After the goods are issued, the returnable is administratively posted in an administrative returnables warehouse. The inventory overview in SAP ERP shows which returnables are at which customers.

  • The customer sends the returnable back. SAP ERP supports this with pallet return orders and/or pallet return deliveries. After receiving the goods, the inventory in the administrative returnables warehouse is automatically reduced and the inventory in the own EWM warehouse is increased. The returnable is now available for reuse.

  • In case the customer does not return the returnables (🙁), you can charge them. You do this by sending the customer an invoice based on the pallet return order or pallet return delivery. In this case, you book a manual goods issue for the not returned returnable, which corrects the inventory in the administrative returnables warehouse.

McCoy’s vision on Sustainable Operations

Do you want to reduce the CO2 emissions of your operations with these and other simple improvements? Then read our Download [SP1] for more ideas.

PS, how much CO2 have you saved by setting up returnables? Calculate it with SAP Product Footprint Management