Edition 65
Reverse Logistics Talk
by Jennifer Bilodeau, Reverse Logistics Specialist, Independent

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Project evaluators have a critical role in the planning phase of any project to develop the key objectives, scope of work, identify the functions and methods on continuous evaluation throughout the project. This will help the project manager to maintain accountability as well as forming the basis of a knowledge center to avoid weaknesses or mistakes identify key stakeholders and roles within the project in addition to planning and scheduling workload. Project evaluation beyond the planning phase should be conducted at critical mile stones and could be completed by either internal or external sources to ensure the project is being completed on time and on budget. Evaluators weigh the financial gains or losses, as well as managing project costs throughout the program will be looking at the amount of time that will lapse before the benefits of the investment are achieved. Evaluators examine “payback periods, cash flow, and cost of any debt incurred, taxes, direct quantifiable expenses, indirect expenses, and unquantifiable costs” (Irizani, 2010).

Governmental influences enter into nearly every project and can impact decisions. Consider that XYZ Corporation believes a team building event away from the office would increase overall employee satisfaction and productivity. Consider choice of location may be at a beach. Governmental influences to consider might be hours of operation, prohibiting alcohol, prohibiting open flames for grilling, and other regulations. Where the government has no direct impact on the corporate event, the regulations surrounding the use of the public space will ultimately affect the event.

It is important for government regulators to examine the laws implemented to ensure compliance otherwise their might be significant consequences. Private business will not always act in the socially responsible way, especially if it may reduce profits and cause them to appear inept by shareholders seeking profits. In the financial sector, government consistently kept a database of consumer complaints regarding a wide range of unfair banking practices; however, the government would not enforce existing laws. Manyconsumer complaints were “overlooked” because they were not well constructed, or considered to be insignificant. When banks were fined for violating laws, the penalties were outdated and considered insignificant in private business in comparison to the earnings resulting from questionable practices. The government failed consumers by allowing poor business decisions by the financial industry to continue, and left it up to the individual consumer to initiate a lawsuit against the businesses for financial predatory practices. Most of the individuals victimized did not have the financial means to hire an attorney, did not understand their rights, became frustrated deciphering which agency handled various issues, did not have an understanding of the courts system, and did not have the time to launch this type of battle. The government negatively influenced the way banks were doing business. The banks determined the probability of the number of consumers pursuing litigation and the costs associated with defending suits and paying fines. If the profit margin was significant enough, the “legal fees and Federal fines were considered a standard expense of doing business” (Wytch, 2007). Another side of the financial collapse was the way high priced lobbyists, hired by the financial industry were selected based on their relationships and influences they had with policy makers and regulatory agencies. Lobbyists mold the regulatory system in favor of business at the expense of the consumer. . Layard and Glaister provide an example of how governments often do not appear to be “thinking sensibly” but giving into pressures by various interest groups (1994, p.103). Ultimately, the lack of enforcement on consumer abuses led to the collapse of the economy which should be analyzed to avoid the collapse of some other critical component affecting us globally. Ultimately, it is “not just government that influences the way business is conducted but private business influences government policy” (Layard & Glaister, 1994. P. 101).

When weighing the options on how to approach a reverse logistics program, government influences most commonly be related to environment, health, or safety regulations. It may be more cost efficient to outsource returns processing than to invest funds into managing assets, creating an infrastructure and buying equipment to develop capabilities to manage returns in compliance with possible laws. Government regulations will influence the design and construct of a return facility, how materials must be handled. As new risks are identified, new regulations are often established. Once operations are moving forward, evaluators must continually be on alert for changes within government policy that may affect operations.

As government influences business, business influences government. It will be the project evaluators holding the ungracious task of making ethical, socially beneficial decisions, as well as voicing public opinion to adhere to and mold public policy.

Wytch, A. (2007, April 30). The collapse of the economy, whose to blame? Dig This Real.
Irani, Z. (2010). Investment evaluation within project management: An information systems perspective. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 61(6), 917-928. doi:10.1057/jors.2010.10
Layard, R., & Glaister, S. (1994). Shadow prices and markets: Feasibility constraints. In Cost benefit analysis (Fourth ed., pp. 102-109). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Jennifer Bilodeau, a Reverse Logistics specialist, formerly supported the Department of the Defense in day to day management of both inbound (return) and outbound distribution of goods throughout the command. She was recognized for exemplary performance throughout the base relocation effort working with internal/external stakeholders managing multiple projects assessing tangible goods for movement to new facilities, acquiring replacement items, as well as recapturing value from left behind products. In this role she oversaw reverse logistics operations including repair and warrantees, secondary markets, deconstruction and re-utilization of parts, as well as final disposition instructions.

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