MediaAgility Designs Google Cloud Powered Solution to Automate Return of Faulty Products for Global Appliance Manufacturer

The Customer is a leading manufacturer of high-quality domestic appliances with global presence. They have tens of thousands of employees who serve their end-consumers through extensive processes and vendor/channel partner networks which are spread across major cities globally.  

The Customer identified major gaps in the process of return of faulty products by the end buyer. Their channel partner is required to act as the link between them and their buyers. When the end consumer initiates a return request for their product, the complaint is lodged through the channel partner who initiates the return and follows through till the return process is completed.

However, the Manufacturer faced several challenges in this long tail process

They were using a SAP-based solution at the backend to manage the ‘Returns’ process. The channel partner had to track each complaint/request manually and then visit the Manufacturer’s corporate office to fill out a physical return request form, since the solution could not be accessed from the vendor’s office. The faulty products were then transported from the end user’s location and the exchange was completed after levels of approvals at the warehouse.

The highly manual nature of the process resulted in delays in completing return requests and eventually provided a very poor consumer experience. Each request necessitated a fresh visit to the corporate office to fill a form. Requests from nearby locations could not be clubbed together to save on travel time and cost. Further, the status of requests could not be tracked in real-time as the existing SAP-based system was not accessible on vendors’ systems.

Layering the previous SAP-based solution with the benefits of Google Cloud Platform

The Manufacturer wanted to simplify the entire return process by minimizing manual dependency and to facilitate quick returns leading to delightful consumer experience. As their digital consulting partner, MediaAgility recommended a solution revamp with Google Cloud Platform to provide ease-of-use and accessibility to channel partners and vendors. Using only Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, and App Engine, MediaAgility developed a one-stop solution for the end-to-end return process for the Customer. MediaAgility layered Google Cloud Platform on the pre-existing SAP solution and enabled real-time sync between the two platforms. The revamped web solution presented a user-friendly interface to the vendors who are now able access the solution from any location.

With the new, revamped web-based return process, the vendor tracks and manages the requests efficiently. They book the return request right from their location, without traveling to the Manufacturer’s regional office. The vendor schedules efficient pick-ups by grouping all nearby requests together hence optimizing time and resources.

Above and Beyond Web-based Returns

The entire return process has been further improved and optimized, as the return requests are now categorized based on the appliances’ weights as well. The light-weight appliances are auto-approved and the return process is initiated immediately. While, the medium- and heavy- weight appliances are assigned ‘approving agents’ who inspect them once the appliances reach the warehouse. The status of return approval is updated in real-time and can be tracked from any location by the vendors.

This unique ‘Web-based Return’ solution has been widely adopted in three countries by more than 500 vendors to process nearly 200 requests per month, and has resulted in visible saving on time and money, in addition to increasing consumer satisfaction. This web-based solution is scalable, can be integrated with other solutions, and supports other processes based on our Customer’s requirements.