How do you optimize the shipping process?
The most important shipping process steps include: the creation of the packing list and the shipping documents, the packaging and picking of the goods, the packaging suitable for transport, the selection of the mode of transport, handover to the freight forwarder or shipping service provider, and the management of returns. Within a value chain, shipping forms an important overall process that consists of several individual processes or process steps in which both internal and external interfaces are involved. Shipping is about bridging distances in an economically efficient way, in terms of cost and delivery time.
As the final step in the warehousing process, shipping could be considered the key factor in the quality of your customer’s experience. It’s not as simple as moving product from point a to point b, however. The shipping process is comprised of small, often complex tasks that must be accomplished on time to ensure fast and accurate delivery.
Since shipping is the final step before your customer receives their order, it is important to recognize that every process in your facility has a direct impact on shipping. From ordering to receiving to putaway to picking – every step builds towards shipping.
With all of that in mind, let’s talk about how to set up a shipping operation, including the best processes, software options, and workflows.
The Shipping Process
To reiterate, every step leads to shipping. This means that picking and packing are vital parts of the shipping process. Picking should be done ahead of shipping time, ideally. With a smart picking process, your pickers can enjoy error-free results that are passed on to the customer. After items are picked, they must then be packed and labeled accordingly. If the picked items are fragile, make sure you are packing with protective materials.
Some goods may need documentation — export declarations, seafood tags, and hazardous goods all have their own rules. Your shipping and receiving software needs to account for these factors. Make sure your WMS can alert you of or produce these necessary documents.
The dimensions and weight of orders might matter, as well. Your system needs to measure weight and dimensions before shipping occurs. An inline scale and dimensioner solution integrated into your warehouse and WMS allows the cargo to continuously move while you capture that data. This is crucial for speedy and accurate delivery.