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Auburn University Professor Glenn Richey, a Harbert College of Business Eminent Scholar, was recently named to the advisory board of the Reverse Logistics Association, one of the supply chain management (SCM) industry’s most impactful professional organizations.
Often overlooked, reverse logistics plays a key role in driving today’s sustainable, circular economy by helping reduce returns, improve product recovery and keep valuable products and materials from turning into waste headed to landfills.
As the sole academic voice on the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA) Advisory Board, Richey joins a team of some of the world’s leading retailers and SCM technology providers, including executives from Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon, Dell, Cisco, HP, and Intel.
This latest example of Harbert College of Business faculty helping shape academic and professional leadership points to Richey’s internationally recognized experience and expertise while also bolstering Harbert’s rising position as an elite destination for aspiring business students, researchers and faculty.
Tony Sciarrotta, executive director of the RLA and publisher of RL Magazine, celebrated Richey's appointment to the RLA board, calling it a "key element of our organization's commitment to supporting the reverse logistics industry."
With a growing membership, explained Sciarrotta, the RLA board's attention is shifting towards providing the expert insight the industry needs to address some of the most critical and often underappreciated supply chain issues.
“It all starts with education – that’s where new solutions to pressing problems come from,” Sciarrotta said. “Glenn has long recognized the importance of the reverse logistics segment of the global supply chain industry, and his research represents some of the earliest and most powerful academic insight into our field.”
Richey noted that the opportunity to join the RLA board is something he just couldn’t pass up.
“Supply chain management has traditionally been focused on streamlining sourcing and delivery of materials, moving to more sustainable production practices and reducing manufacturing and delivery inefficiencies—and for good reason,” said Richey. “These initiatives deliver tremendous benefits when addressed in a systematic way.
“But too little attention has been paid, in my opinion, to what happens after the consumer or business receives the shipments they’ve ordered.”
Richey said the explosion of e-commerce retailers – with their now-ubiquitous generous returns policies – exposes them to financial and sustainability challenges that often go unreported to the public.
Research has shown that the most common reason customers cite for why they are returning a product is “it didn’t meet my expectations.” That means most returns are fully functioning products available for resale, said Sciarrotta.
Sciarrotta noted that Richey’s impact on the RLA will be on display next month at the organization’s exclusive Leadership Summit in Atlanta, GA.
“We asked our attendees at last year’s summit what they need most from us, and more than 75% said education,” Sciarrotta said. “That means we need to teach our younger people about this promising career opportunity, what it encompasses. Glenn’s featured participation in this year’s event will help our most prominent and active members learn how to do just that, and I am excited about what his contribution to the RLA will be.”
The Harbert College of Business at Auburn University is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice in emerging business disciplines. Our alumni, friends, and corporate partners actively support and engage our faculty and students to integrate business theory with practical experience and instill the level of professional proficiency and personal integrity demanded by employers around the globe.
About the RLA