The Importance of Having a Strong Return Goods Policy in Distribution
All too often Distributors either do not have a Returned Goods Policy, or tend to ignore whatever policy they have. The impact of this lax policy can have a significant negative impact on your bottom line, and make things WORSE with your customer, rather than better. A typical scenario:
Joe Customer orders:
· The wrong parts
· Too many of the right parts
· The right quantity and part number, but they no longer want or need the product
Your Salesman walks in the door and purchasing says “I need to return some parts. How about you take them back with you while you’re here?” Everyone wants to be liked, especially by one of your bigger customers. “Sure, NO PROBLEM” says your salesman. He/she grabs the box of parts, and at the end of the day:
· Puts them in his/her office or cubicle to manage later.
· Puts them on a shelf in the warehouse and mentions it to someone in receiving or inside sales.
· Puts them back where they belong and issues full credit.
Several opportunities for negative consequences are the result of not having a strong return policy.
· The customer becomes frustrated because a credit memo is slow to be issued, or no credit issued until the customer reminds the salesperson a credit is owed.
· The parts are back on the shelf, but now you have too many.
· Perhaps they were really old, so the parts are out of spec from current parts.
· Perhaps the parts were special ordered just for that customer. Now you have JUNK in your inventory. You’ve wasted $, and then proceed to count those parts year after year because they will never, ever sell.
· Even if the parts are ok, and you can resell them, you incur significant costs to handle the transaction of issuing credit. You transport the parts, pay to re-receive them, count them, put them away, and have accounting process a credit. A $100 return ends up costing you $100 just to process the credit memo!
And on and on. Instead, have in place a solid procedure and conditions about what you will, and will not take back, how you will take it back, and what happens when you DO take it back. Customers should feel the consequences of returning stuff they messed up on, and my guess is THEY have a return goods policy way stricter than yours. Let your customers know your policy BEFORE they want to return something, and stand by your policy. If, by chance, it is your BEST customer, and the parts are resalable, and there aren’t too many, and you will easily sell them QUICKLY, then, and only then do your customer a favor and tell them you will waive the restocking fee. Better yet, CHARGE THEM, then issue a credit against the restocking fee noting the reasons behind your willingness to take the parts back.
· Items are new and in original packaging
· Items are something we carry and can resell
· Because you are ONE OF OUR BEST CUSTOMERS, so THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
Here is an example of a strong Return Goods Policy. Feel free to make it work for you.
Return Goods Policy
At its discretion, (Distributor) will accept the return of goods in resalable condition with a possible restocking charge on the following terms:
b. Obtain a Returned Goods Authorization number.
c. Return merchandise as indicated on the Returned Goods Authorization or by the POC who issued such to the (Distributor) facility designated within 30 days of authorization. A copy of the RGA must accompany the materials being returned.
d. Ship prepaid, unless otherwise instructed.
e. Upon receipt, inspection, and acceptance by (Distributor), credit will be issued by Accounting Department at “Phone Number”.
Unauthorized returns or returns without copies of original invoice or packing slip and return goods authorization form or number will be refused.
· Product was defective.
· An offsetting order of equal or larger value was issued at the same time.
When any piece of equipment fails it can be annoying at best – but when your o-ring seal fails, it can be catastrophic. Here are seven tips you can use to help prevent o-ring failures.
Spiral FailureSpiral failure typically occurs on long stroke hydraulic piston seals and rod seals. This usually occurs when the o-ring twists and gets caught, resulting in deep spiral cuts.
Prevention: regular lubrication of the o-ring will prevent the twisting that causes spiral failure.
Chemical DegradationChemical degradation occurs when the chemicals in use are not compatible with the materials the o-ring is made from. Chemical degradation appears as hardening, cracking, discoloration, and/or blistering of the o-ring.
Prevention: to prevent chemical degradation, choose o-rings that are compatible with the chemicals that the o-ring will come into contact with.
Thermal DegradationThermal degradation is less common and is likely a result of use in an environment that the o-ring is not rated for. Signs of thermal degradation are deformation and radial cracking.
Prevention: choose o-rings that are rated for use within your specific environment and operating range.
Compression SetWhen the O-ring appears to be flattening out at the cross section you can assume that the failure is attributed to compression set. This usually happens when the o-ring has been exposed to temperatures or chemicals that are outside of the range for the seal.
Prevention: Make sure that the o-ring is rated for use within your specific equipment temperature range and chemical exposure.
Installation DamageUser error is a very common reason for o-ring failure. When an o-ring is installed incorrectly it can result in gashes, nicks, and cuts in the seal.
Prevention: Make sure to follow the installation instructions closely. Frequently lubricating the seal is also a good way to ensure that the seal was installed correctly and prevent cuts and other damage.
OutgassingFailure due to outgassing can be hard to spot as it typically presents as a decrease in the cross section. Outgassing failures can be the result of improperly cured seals or high vacuum levels.
Prevention: ensure that all seals are properly cured. This will minimize the effects of outgassing.
Proper MaintenanceOne of the most important things you can do to prevent O-ring failures is to properly maintain and care for them. This means following this maintenance routine:
Prevention: when caring for an o-ring seal, make sure you refrain from poking and prying at the seal. This can create damage where there wasn’t any, to begin with. You’ll also want to refrain from introducing harsh chemicals to the seal when cleaning it or working on other parts of the equipment.
You need to know seven basic pieces of information make up your need to know when looking for a hose assembly. In fact, these 7 questions have become a standard in the industry and are denoted by the acronym S.T.A.M.P.E.D.
STAMPED stands for:
Here’s how it works.
Before you can determine which assembly you need, you have to know what size hose you need and how long the overall assembly needs to be.
The size of the hose is determined by the inner diameter and outer diameters and is usually noted as I.D. and O.D.
Make sure to take note if your hose assembly will have to bend at various angles. The fewer angles the better but if they are necessary you’ll want to account for that length.
Not knowing the temperature range that the hose will be exposed to can lead to a quickly failing hose assembly at best, and a catastrophic failure at worst.
When looking at temperature ranges, it’s important to consider the temperature of the material flowing through the hose, as well as the temperature around the outside of the hose.
Both the high and low temperatures are significant because that goes a long way in determining what material your hose assembly should be constructed from.
What exactly is the hose being used for? The kind of hose you’ll need will vary based on its purpose.
Therefore, it’s important to know if your hose will be used for suction, venting, hydraulic fluids, etc.
Different applications require different types of hoses constructed from different materials.
Media refers to the substance or material that will be flowing through the hose. This can be anything from air to chemical fluids and even various gases.
Because some substances react with materials differently than others, it’s important to understand exactly what media you are working with. You would hate to install a new assembly and then have the chemicals you are moving cause deterioration to the hose.
Understand the pressure that will be flowing through the hose assembly helps determine not only what type of hose you need, but also help determine the pressure ratings you need to have on your fittings.
Extremely high pressure flows for long periods of time, or even in bursts, can create an extreme amount of wear and tear on your hose if it’s not designed to handle that kind of pressure.
It can also cause leaks in fittings that are not designed to stand up to fluctuations in flow.
Getting the right fittings for the hose assembly is a very important part of the process. If the fittings aren’t designed to go on the hose you have, the assembly will quickly fail.
Other important factors are the angles you need the fittings to be at, the pipe thread you need, and if you need male or female fittings.
The size it important too. Does your assembly require a metric or JIC fitting? These two are not always interchangeable as the angle of the threads is not the same. The wrong fitting could lead to leaky hoses if not much worse.
When does your customer need the hose assembly? Are there more details? Sometimes you may not have the components to mmAake exactly what the customer needs, but if it is an emergency be creative. Use a higher pressure (NEVER lower) hose. if need be use adapters and swivels to get the end fitting configurations necessary. Does the hose need spring guard? Armor guard? Fire sleeve? Make sure you get all the details before making the hose assembly.
Choosing a hose assembly won’t feel like rocket science as long as you can answer the basic STAMPED questions. Each question plays a determining factor in making sure the hose is constructed of the right material, that it fits properly, that it will seamlessly connect to the equipment, and no leaking or other negative reactions take place.
Once you’ve got STAMPED answered, the rest falls into place.
The FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is a pretty intense read. While it may be a confusing mess to wade through, it’s imperative you understand exactly what has changed, and how it affects you and your business. Let’s break it down and find out what you really need to know.
Who is Affected?For all intents and purposes, the FSMA affects any shippers, loaders, carriers or receivers transporting (by both vehicle or train) or otherwise handling food intended to be eaten by humans or animals within the United States.
Note: If the food is simply traveling through the U.S. to another destination, the new regulations will not apply.
What’s Required for Each Party?– Shippers are now required to provide to the carriers, in writing, the exact food safety requirements needed for safe transportation of their product. This extends to the type of equipment that is required as well special training associated with the transport of the product.
– Carriers are required to provide documentation upon request that details the trailer temperatures during every leg of transport. With many carriers moving to telematics devices that store data in the cloud, shippers are looking to receive this information real time. Carriers will also be required to show proper maintenance and cleanliness of trailers and equipment to ensure food safety.
– Freight Brokers, you aren’t off the hook. According to the FSMA rules, you are held responsible for the compliance of the carriers you work with. If you broker a move with a carrier that is not able to provide the necessary information upon request or is unable to meet the specific requirements of the shipper, your company can be held responsible.
– All parties must keep all written records of shipments and/or written agreements that fall under the FSMA guidelines for at least 12 months after the conclusion of the agreement.
– All parties must be prepared to show proper measures taken to prevent cross contamination of food. This includes but is not limited to raw food not coming into contact with prepared food or the introduction of allergens or chemicals that could contaminate the food.
– While all parties have a role to play in the training of proper food handling along the supply chain, the carriers have the additional responsibility of being able to produce documentation that all personnel was trained in sanitary transportation practices.
Note: The only caveat here is if the shipper does not agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
Who Doesn’t Have To Comply?Given that the food and beverage industry is so heavily regulated as it is, the new provisions do make a few allowances.
These waivers are mainly for businesses who are already subject to State, Federal or local controls.
– Businesses in the milk industry who already have permits and are inspected by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments.
– Businesses that are already certified and inspected by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference’s National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
– Businesses that are authorized to provide food directly to consumers. This can be restaurants, non-profit establishments or other food retailers.
Other waivers and exemptions include:
– Transportation of live animals that are intended for food.
– Transportation of human food by-product that will be used as food for animals and doesn’t require any further processing.
– Activities associated with food transportation on a farm.
– Shippers, carriers, and receivers in the industry of food transportation but do not have more that $500,000 in annual revenue on average.
– Food that is being transported through the United States but will be consumed in another country.
– Food that is imported to the United States for future export and will not be consumed or distributed in the U.S.
– Compressed food gases, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, that will be used in food or beverages.
– Food that is completely enclosed in a container and does not require temperature controls for safety.
Now, it’s important to note the deadline for compliance has passed (April 6, 2017). But, if you are considered a small business with 500 or fewer employees, or a carrier that does less than $27.5 million annually, you have until April 6, 2018, to comply.
If you have more specific questions, check out the FDA’s page on frequently asked questions regarding the FSMA.
I get a lot of questions about ISO standards – and some of the most common questions are about clean diesel, or ISO 4406.
The standard 4406 basically calls for a quantifiable measurement of particulate contamination to achieve a maximization of equipment performance and minimize repair and replacement issues and expenses.
But, there’s a lot more that goes into filtering, conditioning, and monitoring clean diesel. Let’s walk through it.
CoalescingCoalescing deals with removing water and particles from the fuel. The main reason pumps and injectors fail? Water. And keeping the water out can be a challenge. That’s because there are many areas where water can be introduced. To prevent the water from creating damage, it’s important to recognize the signs.
Signs like erratic idling, or if the engine cuts out for a moment. Those are good indicators you may have a problem.
What you can do: try the Parker DI Series coalescer and DSO Series separator; they work with each other to separate and remove water from the fuel. These products meet the ISO 4406 standard and can clean up to 5,000 gallons per minute.
When particulates get into your diesel, it can increase engine wear. That results in extensive downtime for repairs and maintenance – and is often the culprit of early parts failures.
The newer the fuel system, the more quickly particles can do their damage. Hard particulates in the fuel system can create difficulty when trying to start the engine, performance issues, and even complete engine failure.
While getting clean fuel isn’t too difficult, keeping it clean can be a challenge.
What you can do: try the Parker DFO Series filters. They’re a great product to use for particulate filtration, and can even lead to more efficient fuel consumption.
With this method, a chemical is added to the diesel that binds with water and particulates that can then be filtered out. Even the most stringent diesel fuel providers cannot guarantee that water and abrasive particles will not make their way into your system at some point down the line. In fact, there are lots of ways your fuel can become contaminated, from the pipeline it traveled through to the tanks it was stored in. Even the engine the fuel is being used to power can be the culprit of contamination.
As your equipment creates mechanical friction, water particles are being created and carried through the system and into your fuel. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Carbon deposits are also a natural result of running your equipment and burning fuel. These deposits can also end up in your tank and start wreaking havoc.
What you can do: try the Aquacon AD Series from Parker. It’s a good example of a chemical binder on the market that works in conjunction with filters to make the cleaning process as effective as possible.
Nothing lasts forever. Sadly, many of the reasons a hose fails has less to do with product life cycle and more to do with avoidable mistakes.
Proper hose maintenance can lengthen the life of the hose and keep your equipment up and running. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons hoses fail – and more importantly, how to prevent your hoses from failing.
1. TemperatureTemperature plays a big role in the life of your hose, but many people forget there is more than one temperature to consider when conducting hose maintenance.
2. PressureThe pressure a hose is subjected to can have prolonged or even immediate failures. As mentioned in the section regarding temperature, running fluid continuously through a hose at maximum pressures will lead to tube erosion. Tip: when selecting a hose that will be exposed to continuous high pressures make sure you choose a hose whose maximum pressure rating is higher than the maximum operating pressure.
Pressure surges can be just as fatal to your hose. When pressure surges exceed the maximum pressure rating for the hose which will shorten its life cycle. If your system has high-pressure peaks you have a few options. You can select a hose that has a higher maximum pressure rating or you can choose a spiral reinforced hose that is designed for pressure surges or pulses.
3. Fluid CompatibilityNot all fluids are compatible with the materials used to manufacture hoses. When the hose and the fluids are incompatible, the inner tube of the hose will begin to deteriorate, swell, and in some cases, wash out. Tip: before selecting your hose, make sure the materials used to manufacture it are compatible with the fluid being pumped through your machinery. Most hoses come in a variety of materials to help avoid incompatibility issues.
4. Bend RadiusYes, hoses are relatively flexible, that does not mean they are designed to be bent in extreme ways. When you exceed the bend radius you can experience a flattening in the bend or even kinking of the hose, all of which will restrict flow.
You will also eventually see ripping of the outer material on the outside curve of the bend. Tip: to avoid this, change the length of the hose, reroute the hose to avoid excessive bending. You may even need to replace the assembly with fittings and hoses that meet the bend radius you need.
5. Dry AirWhen the internal air of the system is too dry it can cause cracks on the inside of the tube. This is hard to spot because the hose will remain flexible and there will be no cracking under the fittings.
You will, however, see signs of external leakage. Tip: the best solution for this problem is to replace your hose with tubing that is rated for dry air. These kinds of hoses typically have PKR or EPDM rubber inner tubes which are preferable for systems with an aggressive drying system. You can also try to raise the dewpoint of the air if that is applicable to your system.
6. Improper AssemblyPutting together your hose and fitting assembly can require cutting a hose. This can lead to debris in the tubing and also cause fractures on the inner tube which will result in leakage. Tip: to avoid leaking and potential contamination, make sure all components of the assembly are completely clean. Once everything is put together, cap the ends until the assembly is installed to avoid potential recontamination.
There you have it. Six of the most common reasons hoses fail. Now you’ll be better equipped when choosing hoses; and if you have any questions, don’t forget our experts are always a call away.
Three Things To Know When Choosing Hydraulic Fittings
Trying to choose the right hydraulic fitting can sometimes feel like you are on a game show. Close your eyes, turn around three times and pick one. The best you can hope for is that the one you land on is not a complete fail. With all of the different types of threading and seal options, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. There really is a method to the hydraulic fitting madness. Here are the three things you need to know when choosing your next hydraulic fitting.
Pro Tip: Part AvailabilityJIC and NPT fittings have been the standard for quite some time. That being said, they are easier to find than some of the newer fittings. If you need one of the newer fittings you may not be able to just pick one up. It’s always good to plan around the possibility of having to order one.
Pro Tip: VersatilityDespite the changes taking place from a manufacturer and rating level, there are still some benefits to using other types of fittings. The versatility of the JIC fitting is important to note. There is a large variety of these fittings and connectors that allow easy conversion to different ports and sizes.
Finding the right hydraulic fittings and seals for your equipment shouldn’t be rocket science, but with all of the evolving standards and applications, it can certainly feel like it. Follow these tips and you will find that making the right selection isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little know-how and an understanding of your system to make choosing your hydraulic fittings a breeze.
The safety of your hydraulic hose assembly is an issue we all keep top of mind. Despite the technological advancements improving the safety of each component, fitting leaks are still a pesky problem that can have disastrous consequences.
Because the pressurized contents in the line can cause a major medical emergency, it’s important to know what not to do when you have a fitting leak.
Step 1: If you suspect it, check itDon’t: ignore the possibility of a leak. The number one thing you can do to ensure hose and fitting failure: blow off a potential leak. It’s common for a small leak to be the first sign of a bigger problem within the system.
Do: perform regular system checks and tracking the overall system performance can help you head off any problems before disaster strikes.
Step 2: Turn it offDon’t: leave the system pressurized; this can increase the risk of an explosive eruption of fluid, leading to possible injury and serious damage to the system.
Do: before you do anything, turn off the system.Remember that just because the system is depressurized doesn’t mean that everything is safe. There can still be pressure build up if any of the fluid became trapped.
Oh yeah – don’t use your hand!Most hydraulic hose assemblies are moving pressurized fluids that can reach pretty extreme temperatures. By using your hand to test for leaks you are exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals, extreme temperatures, and very high-pressure contents.
All of these elements present medical dangers that will result in the need for emergency medical care, surgical solutions, and can even be fatal if not treated right away.
Pro tip #1: Forget the fireMany leaks begin as pin-hole leaks that result in clouds of vapor gathering near the leak. These vapors can be incredibly flammable. The use of welding equipment, cutting torches, or even a simple lighter used to help you see better can cause an explosion. Taking extra precautions with an open flames or equipment that might cause a spark will help prevent an explosive outcome.
Pro tip #2: Tighter doesn’t mean betterWhile it’s true that some leaks can be attributed to a loose nut, over-tightening can be even worse.
When you torque a nut beyond sufficiently tightened, you can actually create a fitting leak and reduce the overall life of the fitting. So while your impulse may be to tighten it as much as you can, it’s a better approach to check the integrity of the fitting first.
Three “dont’s” to keep in mind:1. Don’t forget… Protect the systemOnce you start repairs on the leak, many people forget to protect the system and the components. Something as minor as dropping a part on the ground can introduce contaminants into the system. Even the smallest bit of dirt has the potential to damage the entire system. Taking extra care while making repairs can prevent bigger issues down the road.
2. Don’t… Assume It’s The FittingJust because there is fluid leaking around the fitting doesn’t mean that’s the origination point for the leak. So before you just slap a new fitting on the hose, check the entire assembly to make sure there is not a leak somewhere else in the system.
3. Don’t… Reuse The O-RingThe o-rings should always be replaced whether you are putting a reusable fitting back on or installing a new one. O-rings are easily cracked and should be replaced to ensure a tight and leak free seal.
Similar Doesn’t Mean SameNever replace a fitting with a different one, even if it’s similar. Even though you may have a longer down time while you wait for the right fitting, you will save yourself a lot of wasted time and money by using the correct parts the first time.
To fix it right means to fix it once.
Clean, Clean, Clean!When replacing a fitting, you are risking the introduction of foreign material that can destroy the integrity of your system. By cleaning the connecting ends of the fitting before putting them on you will significantly reduce the potential for dirt or metal shards to enter the system.
While leaks are not always preventable, there are things you can do to keep damage and fluid loss to a minimum. Keeping this list of what not to do on hand could just save you a lot of time and money.