If you are building a new home, you would probably engage a contractor. If you want to remodel your kitchen, you need to work with an expert in that specific field. So too with shipping.
There are so many specialized elements in a shipping process. The first step is to determine the scope of the project. In addition to exploring the requirements you believe you have, a specialized company will observe, question, and understand your experience with your current setup to determine areas that can be improved. Understanding the reason why change is required is an important element in developing a shipping process that can grow with your needs. Optimizing may involve removing parts of the process or replacing manual activities with automation, so your partner must be able to engineer a solution that integrates with your existing equipment, and not just supply components.
Whether your objective is to handle higher volumes of packages, speed up the shipping process, or combat labor shortages, here are some factors that are worthy of consideration.
Will the volume of parcels continue to grow?
To counteract loss of business due to store closures during COVID, retailers invested heavily in e-commerce, developing omni-channel experiences for their customers. Returns on dark stores etc. are yet to be realized, so e-commerce will continue to be in focus.
All age groups appear to have transitioned to online shopping. Consumer goods, such as books, electronics, and apparel, account for the largest percentage of e-commerce sales.
A fresh report from eMarketer indicates that retail sales will continue to grow at an annual rate of three percent. This year, e-commerce is forecast to make up 15.2% of total retail sales and double-digit growth is expected to continue.
Is it necessary to pre-sort packages?
In older systems, it was often necessary to pre-sort packages into sizes. This was due to restrictions in the labeling applicator. Nowadays, a good labeling system is able to apply labels to almost any type of shipment, regardless of packaging and height.
Will you ship via multiple carriers?
Using a wide mix of carriers gives you the opportunity to pick the best carrier for a given package. This may be based on the volume or weight of the package, the speed of delivery required or the destination. Particularly as shipping is a strong differentiator for consumers.
The more packages you ship, and the more carriers involved, the greater the risk of mistakes. Ideally, your labeling system should be able to automatically select the best carrier for a specific package, based on the criteria that are important to you and the individual customer. Advanced labeling systems use algorithms to select the most cost-effective carrier.
Could your shipping documents be handled automatically?
Delivery notes, invoices, and paperwork for cross-country shipments typically follow the package. It's a time-consuming process when paperwork must be printed, sorted, and inserted by hand. Automating document handling not only saves on resources, it means last minute changes to an order can be accurately reflected in the paperwork.
Bob Formolo is General Manager, Caljan Inc. Although it’s his strong background in finance and sales that makes Bob the natural driving force behind growth of the Caljan corporation in the USA, it’s his six sigma skills and analytical sense that help him develop the team and the processes behind the business.