Do you often feel that your shipping processes could be improved? Shipping is an aspect of the business’s operations that many owners struggle with because it can be a complex area yet one that will greatly impact your company’s success and your customers’ satisfaction levels, so it is important to get it right. So, how can you streamline shipping? There are a few steps to take which could speed up the process, reduce errors, make work easier for everyone involved, and ensure that your customers are left satisfied by receiving their packages safely and on time. Read on to find out more.
Identify Problems With The Help Of Staff
A good starting point is to sit down with staff and to discuss what areas they believe are causing problems in the shipping process. It is usually the staff that can identify these issues because they carry out the processes each day, which means that they will often have ideas on how improvements can be made. This should help you identify the best ways to improve the shipping process while also helping staff feel an important, valued part of the business operation.
Automate As Much As Possible
You should also find that there are many areas of shipping that can be automated. Shipping tech and software can automate many repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This should help speed the operation up, free up time for your staff to focus on other areas, reduce stress, and eliminate errors (which are common with repetitive tasks).
Use Staff Training & Keep Them Motivated
There is a lot that can be automated, but you will also find that the staff will have a huge impact on the overall efficiency of the shipping process. This is why you need to use staff training to ensure that everyone can excel in their role and work unsupervised. On top of this, you also need to make sure that you keep your employees motivated so that they can work to a high standard each and every day. There are many effective ways to keep your team motivated, such as:
- Positive feedback
- Team events
- Career development opportunities
Optimize The Layout
Optimizing the layout can have a huge impact on the efficiency of your operation and make work easier for your team. You will want to reduce travel as much as possible, so you should consider using hot zones where the most in-demand products are kept, which should be near your shipping station.
Keep The Shipping Station Organized
It is also important to address your shipping station to ensure that it is as efficient as possible and to keep this space organized. You need to have clear spaces where orders can be prepared to be shipped and to ensure that your packing materials are in close proximity to speed the process up. Try to keep this area as neat, tidy, and organized as possible, and it will make it much easier and faster for your team to get orders prepared.
Use Load Boards To Find Reliable Carriers
In addition to making improvements at your end, you also need to think about the carriers that you are using. You could have the most efficient system in place and use the best and latest tech, but if you are not using reliable carriers, then ultimately, this will all be a waste, and your customers will not be satisfied. This is why you should use load boards to find reliable carriers, and this can be a smart solution when it comes to shipping. Load boards enable you to browse suitable carriers available and match you to them to enter agreements and move your freight much faster. Using load boards can also help you to make savings on shipping which could then be reinvested into the business for growth.
Use Tracking Software
Tracking software is useful in keeping track of each individual order throughout transit to ensure that nothing gets lost. This is also useful in terms of keeping your customers happy as people expect to be able to track their orders in today’s day and age. Tracking software should also help to prevent customers from getting in touch querying where their order is (replying to these can cause stress and be time-consuming for your employees).
Create A Cut-Off Time For Orders
You should also find it useful to establish a cut-off time for orders so that you can ship according to deadlines and have a set time of the day where you prepare and ship orders. If you have all orders placed before 2 P.M shipped the same day, this can help you stay organized and start preparing any orders placed after this for tomorrow. Organization is key when it comes to complex processes like shipping, so you should find that having a cut-off time will help you stay organized.
Consider A Fulfillment Center
Finally, if you are struggling to keep up with orders and feel that your business is suffering, you could consider using a fulfillment center that can complete your orders for you. If your business is growing, you might find that this is actually a smart financial move to make because often fulfillment centers can benefit from exclusive rates and discounts; plus this allows you to focus your efforts on improving the business and attracting more customers.
Hopefully, this informative article will give you a few ideas for ways that you can improve your shipping and take your business forward in the future. Shipping can be a complex, stressful and time-consuming area of the business, yet it is also one that will have an enormous impact on your success and reputation, so it is important that you get it right from the very start and work hard to ensure that it’s as good as it can be. Fortunately, these days there are many ways to improve shipping that can turn this into a strength for your business and keep your customers happy.