Time and again we see pieces of news depicting how retailers ‘get caught’ disposing of returned and/or only slightly damaged consumer goods. Amazon does this regularly too, but their process rarely sees daylight. The more expensive the product, the smoother the process.
The common reaction is to frame the retailer as immoral and unsustainable, but it is most often the product manufacturer who enforces this in order to maintain image and quality. The retailer only follows the contract, and is usually paid for destroyed product in full.
Different countries and states have discussed this a lot, and in food industry there are even some results, where products nearing expiry date are effectively discounted or even given out for free.
But leaving this to the regulators is lazy and unsustainable. Our take is that any (even consumer) product company should completely redesign all their customer relationships, effectively ending the Fire-and-Forget (FF) business model and have situational awareness of each and every product they’ve produced and delivered.
This can be effected by creating unique Digital Twins for all products and transforming the FF model into entire lifecycle management. Customers are not yet used to this, but gradually it will also transform product development, preventive maintenance and create completely different level of trust between suppliers and customers.
You can either act now, or wait that others (the major cloud companies) take over your customer relationship. When the latter happens, there’s actually quite a little you can do to control your business destiny.