Original Research

Drivers and barriers of reverse logistics practices: A study of large grocery retailers in South Africa

Arno Meyer, Wesley Niemann, Justin Mackenzie, Jacques Lombaard
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 11 | a323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v11i0.323 | © 2017 Arno Meyer, Wesley Niemann, Justin Mackenzie, Jacques Lombaard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 June 2017 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

Arno Meyer, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Wesley Niemann, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Justin Mackenzie, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Jacques Lombaard, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Reverse logistics (RL) practices have previously been viewed as a cost drain, but have received greater attention from practitioners because of increasing competition and dwindling margins.

Purpose: The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to uncover the main internal and external drivers and barriers of RL within major South African grocery retailers.

Method: Eleven face-to-face, semi-structured interviews and one telephonic interview were conducted with participants from four large grocery retailers.

Findings: Optimising profitability and cost reduction goals are the identified internal drivers, whereas the main external driver was to reduce the organisations’ environmental impact. A lack of information systems – such as enterprise resource planning systems or warehouse management system software – and infrastructure were revealed as the main internal barriers for organisations’ RL practices, whereas supplier non-compliance and transportation inefficiencies were the main external barriers exposed.

Managerial implications: In order to optimise the efficiency of the reverse flow, managers are recommended to devote more capital to RL infrastructure, develop policies to manage supplier behaviour, focus on RL as a revenue generating stream as well as implement information systems to manage the entire reverse flow.

Conclusion: All participating grocery retailers follow similar RL processes. Growth in RL practices as well as infrastructure to perform those practices is a future priority for all the reviewed grocery retailers. RL is no longer only a key cost driver, but also provides organisations with many additional opportunities.


Keywords

barriers; drivers; reverse logistics; qualitative research; grocery retailers

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1481
Total article views: 3762


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.