Reverse logistics—the processing and management of returned products and materials for repurposing, recycling, or disposal—will soon have its own specialized bar code. The Reverse Logistics Association's (RLA) Standards Committee has released a new product labeling protocol it says will expedite reverse logistics processes for repairs, returns, and recycling.
The protocol relies on the use of multidimensional QR codes to encode information that is relevant to reverse logistics. According to RLA, the codes could provide information related to product repairs, including links to documentation; product returns, including links to warranty registration; and recycling, including information about hazardous content. The scan-friendly codes will be placed directly on the product rather than on disposable packaging, so that the information will always be available to consumers, logistics professionals, field personnel, and recyclers.
RLA says it is working with vendors to assure that the labels are readable by free smartphone applications as well as by commercial-grade scanners. The group is also developing software that will generate camera-ready labels that conform to the new standard.
For more details, see "A New Standard Labeling Protocol for Reverse Logistics."