“Free and fast returns,” another reason to love Coupang — Meet the Reverse Logistics team
My path to Coupang — Part 4
Good to have you today. Could you give a short introduction?
Minnie: I’m Minnie from the Reverse Logistics team. My job is to direct the returned products to the ARC (Asset Recovery Center) and manage projects on return policies and systems with associated teams — like the ARC Operations team, the Compliance team, and the BMs (Brand Managers).
Kate: I’m also from the Reverse Logistics team. I’m responsible for categorizing returned items to streamline the returns process. My job also involves raising the value of unsaleable inventory through a review process.
What is your professional background and how do you think those experiences helped you join Coupang or handle your current work?
Minnie: Coupang happens to be my first company. I’ve been with the Reverse Logistics team ever since its beginning. I’ve continued to learn, grow, and accumulate experiences with a beginner’s eyes because I haven’t been with another company before.
Kate: I had about two years of experience in SCM (Supply Chain Management) for a a food manufacturing company. I’m one of those people who managed to build a general foundation in logistics before transferring to Coupang. I learned a thing or two about SCM at my first company, then moved on to Coupang, a growing e-commerce company, because I wanted to gain more expertise in logistics. My time in the SCM team at my previous company gave me the general experience and the building blocks to lay my foundation. Now, I’m growing as a professional with Coupang in the returns department. I think my previous experiences allowed me to work more organically with other related teams as I have a better insight into their work.
How is Reverse Logistics contributing to Coupang’s growth?
Kate: Our team’s KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is reducing losses from returns. By achieving this goal, our team contributes to maintaining a customer-friendly return policy. Coupang’s return policy is rooted in the principle of “Wow the customer,” and our team stays true to that principle by safeguarding customer satisfaction while keeping the cost down. If losses changed our return policy in any way, I don’t think we could have managed to maintain the current level of customer satisfaction.
Is there a unique team culture at Reverse Logistics?
Minnie: Last year after COVID started fading away, our team prepared an offline workshop and an event called “The Return Night.” Our team works from home most of the time and most of our dinners and celebrations were online during COVID.
Before the offline events, I wondered how we can make the best out of it now that we can interact with each other physically. In collaboration with other teams, we arranged a sports day where we played games and got to become much closer as a team through these team bonding events. We became much more intimate and friendly with each other.
Kate: As Minnie said, these team events that started last year helped build a stronger team work.
We also visit the ARC often because as part of our team’s work culture, we believe solving on-site problems requires an on-site approach. We try to take our work outside of the office to make frequent visits to the site, ask for the opinions of the workers, and so on. And when we’re out there, we often make new discoveries on how to make improvements.
Minnie and Kate being interviewed by the Recruiting team
I see both of you have worked at Coupang for a considerable time. Can you share a secret behind your long tenure?
Minnie: Six years just flew by working with a fantastic manager and great colleagues. Chris, our manager, holds 1:1 feedback session every quarter and pays close attention to the growth of each one of our team members. He considers how each team member charts their future, the areas we need to focus on, and whether we are too focused on one task. He sincerely cares about the growth of our careers. There are also team members of my ageand we have fun working together as it's easier to talk to one another.
Kate: Like Minnie, I also have a lot of fun at work — thanks to our manager, team members, and the team’s positive work culture. Coupang has a rapidly-changing environment to constantly improve and it requires fast adaption. To me, this culture that constantly seeks change for improvement helps anchor long-term employees.
For future candidates that are interested in joining Reverse Logistics team, any words of advice? What would be an ideal profile?
Minnie: How flexible the candidate can be when given a task. As Coupang is a fast-changing company, the logistics of returns is also at an incredible pace. We see many applicants with a background in logistics which is great. But since new things are constantly happening at Coupang, it’s important to showcase how you can leverage your previous experiences to solve unfamiliar and challenging problems.
During interviews, I often ask the candidates what they used to do and what difficiulties they have had. I advise applicants to present their experiences in a timeline before the interview.
Kate: When I’m interviewing candidates, I vary my questions depending on the position to see if they have what it takes. If it’s for a position in the Operations team, I would try to see if they have calm, meticulous, and diligent characteristics as they would have to handle a lot of data. For PM (Project Management) positions or process improvement positions, it’s important to see how well they take an initiative to find problems and solve them. And of course, we look for candidates that can further bolster our team — new team members with strengths that we don’t have already. Everyone has their own qunieu strengths, so it’s important to showcase them during the interviews.
Do you have any memorable episodes since joining Coupang’s Reverse Logistics?
Kate: Our team received the Best Employee award and the Couprize award for SDE (Service Design Excellence) last year. I felt our team was heading in the right direction, so that got me even more motivated.
Minnie: I remember last year’s workshop and the Return Night. I also received the silver button for working at Coupang for 5 years.
Last question. Any goals you would like to achieve working at Coupang?
Minnie: I want to be a useful member at Coupang — become the go-to person when it comes to returns. I want to be a specialist within the organization and try managing too. I’m really interested in expanding my career in logistics and want to deep dive reverse logistics. As our team grows, there’s more cross-functional collaboration and communication opportunities with other teams. My eventual goal is to become the returns expert in Korea.
Kate: When I first joined Coupang, I wanted to become a specialist and that hasn’t changed. To achieve that goal, I still need to learn about other fields and grow. My current responsibilities involve operations and tasks related to project management. I will continue to improve in both areas.
Kate’s Best Employee Award and Minnie’s Couprize