Reverse Logistics, Sustainability & Habitat for Humanity ReStore

A key part of APICS CLTD certification is Reverse Logistics and Sustainability.

The APICS Dictionary, 15th edition, defines Reverse Logistics as:

‘A complete supply chain dedicated to the reverse flow of products and materials for the purpose of returns, repair, remanufacture, and/or recycling.’

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At a recent APICS Atlanta networking meeting Kyle Fraim with Habitat For Humanity Restore presented what they do, how they do it and why they do it. As I listened to the discussion I began to realize Restore is essentially providing a key, albeit unintentional, service in the Waste (Reverse Logistics) Hierarchy through the Recylce, Repurpose, Recovery processes. After the presentation I sat down with Kyle to learn more about Restore.

APICS CLTD Coach: What is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore?

Kyle: Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.

APICS CLTD Coach: You mentioned Restore takes both individual donations as well as product from corporations? What are some of the more interesting things you have seen in the store?

Kyle: Yes, we serve both individual donors and corporate donors in 12 metro Atlanta counties.  As far as interesting donations, we get a quite a few donations from the movie sets around Atlanta.  We have had a lot of items you would have seen on tv, film and Netflix shows pass through our stores.

APICS CLTD Coach: Part of a Sustainable Supply Chain and Reverse Logistics Efficiency is keeping product out of landfills. Any examples of how you have helped here?

Kyle: Based on an internal sales formula we use, just from our 5 stores in metro Atlanta, we roughly diverted 2,500 tons of waste from landfills in 2016.  As an example, recently a company was delivering water. On the delivery route the truck’s cargo tipped over and the receiving company refused the shipment. Fortunately the company transportation company was familiar with ReStore and contacted us about the shipment. We were able to work out terms where they could donate the product to us for reuse. It was a win, win, win. We diverted product destined for a landfill. The transportation company received a donation tax credit and we had another unique offering for our stores.

APICS CLTD Coach: You mentioned helping companies dispose of dead stock. This should be a key point for and APICS member. Any examples where you have helped companies in this area?

Kyle: Sure. Even the best companies end up with inventory in the warehouse that is not moving, typically called dogs, or dead stock. If there is not a corporate mandate to keep the inventory you may be better of getting it off the books. This will free up valuable warehouse space and can provide a taxable benefit. For example in Atlanta we usually get 2-3 donations per year from Floor and Décor. The items might be slightly damaged, or the quantities too small to sell to their customers, or the styles are discontinued. But for a ReStore customer these are typically popular items and we see a quick turnover.

APICS CLTD Coach: How can people or companies help?

Kyle: As far as donating, we look for a win-win partnership with companies. We offer a free pick up service on larger items and we issue a tax receipt for the donation. Smaller items can be dropped off at one of our five metro Atlanta stores. As I mentioned, this reduces product in landfills and might support their corporate sustainability initiatives. And individuals can also donate slightly used but clean and functional items with some remaining usefulness.

The public can then come shop in our stores to find great deals on building materials, home goods and more.  Please visit http://www.suburbanatlantarestores.org for more information.

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