How do you optimize the shipping process?
The shipping process includes certain steps such as the picking of goods and packaging, the creation of a packing list, shipping documents, the selection of suitable packaging for transport, the choice of shipping or delivery carriers, handover to the freight forwarder or shipping service provider, and the management of returns. Shipping maintains 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 economically and efficiently 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. 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 within your facility has a direct impact on shipping. From ordering to receiving to putaway to picking – every step builds towards shipping the perfect order and maintaining a level of customer satisfaction.
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 ideally ahead of shipping time. 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 warehouse management software (WMS) can alert you of or produce these necessary documents.
The dimensions and weight of orders matter too. Your system needs to measure weight and dimensions before shipping occurs. An inline scale and dimensioner solution integrated into your warehouse and WMS allows cargo to continuously move while you capture that data. This is crucial for speedy and accurate delivery.