Things you need to Know about Shipping Operations and Making Them More Efficient
Shipping is one of those things no entrepreneur is eager to talk about, yet everybody has to deal with it. Indeed, handling the operations and logistics behind shipping is a daunting task, one that makes or breaks a business. Additionally, with the rapid expansion of the eCommerce industry, the shipping industry now transcends national borders, introducing new problems to the already difficult business agenda. Here is how to keep shipping running like clockwork and save you some money, time, and nerves down the road.
A planned effort
Rule number one is to plan ahead of time. Identify and analyze your sales cycles and historic patterns. Black Fridays are not the only time of year when sales go through the roof. It could be possible to capitalize on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and back-to-school days. January, February, and March are often the busiest parts of any year, when it might be a good idea to prepare fast-selling items and make them ready for shipping.
Secondly, standardized packaging is an absolute must. Designing it with practicality and shipping in mind saves a great deal of time and money. Shipping costs are determined by the weight and dimensions of the products, which means you have to get these aspects right. Also, the packaging must endure the trials and tribulations of shipping, so ponder on sturdiness as well.
In a nutshell, great packaging is the product of both aesthetic quality and product integrity. Apart from that, you have to consider how you take care of label printing. Regardless of whether you fill them out in-house or outsource this task, the packages must be wielded with utmost care. Keep an eye on packing lines, storage, the cleanliness of the facility, how the packages are moved, etc.
The process of packing, labeling, and shipping out products must play out without any disturbances and setbacks. Fine-tuning this core element of operations goes a long way in boosting productivity and cost-efficiency across the board. So, make sure the shipping staff knows your inventory and which boxes to use for each product. Pick-and-pack checklists can clarify things even for newcomers and part-timers during the busy shipping season.
Furthermore, international and overseas deliveries are linked to a unique set of challenges. One has to tackle piles of paperwork, customs officials, shipping fees, regulation regarding restricted items and ports. On a brighter note, there is no shortage of solutions that allow you to overcome all obstacles to smooth shipping. For instance, freight forwarding services by CTS Australia can take care of the import of goods into air and sea harbors for you.
At last, automation technology is a life saver in the shipping business. It greases the wheels, streamlines many tedious activities, and makes the lives of managers and business owners much easier. Paperless invoice platforms for international shipping are a good example, as they can muster 20% time savings. Namely, it is possible to fill out customs forms in five times less time than before.
Other solutions enable customers to receive alerts when the package is arriving, so that they can select delivery details. Considering how much time employees spend answering where-is-my-order calls, this tool makes a real difference. Another simple way to achieve similar improvement is to include an FAQ section on your website. In any event, clear communication and transparency are the bedrock of positive consumer experience these days.
Shape up or ship out
Shipping is one of the most challenging business aspects for numerous companies. At the same time, it holds the key to gaining a competitive advantage and boosting performance. So, begin your planning in the design phase and do not let a single detail become an afterthought. Keep customers up to date and provide stellar customer service. Your ultimate goal is to take efficiency to a whole new level and cut unnecessary costs in one stroke, without compromising service and product excellence.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.