E-commerce businesses need to pay attention to the quality of their shipping services. Savvy retailers in the online retail market know this goes beyond just sending a box to a customer. Shipping gives you the opportunity to impress your customers with tidy, well-packaged items that arrive to their address earlier than they expect or right on time. However, guaranteeing this service every time can be complicated and costly as you try to avoid shipping mistakes. Here are some helpful tips for e-commerce businesses and a breakdown of how our third-party logistics company can help you avoid common shipping mistakes.
1. Choose the Right Packaging Size
Packaging is very important as it protects your products during shipping. It also builds your brand’s image and identity, and depending on the size and weight, it determined how much carriers will charge to ship the product. Packaging and size are important aspects to consider with any item you plan to ship. If you try to save money and ship your product in a box that is too small or doesn’t have enough stuffing and bubble wrap, you could risk damaging the product. A good rule of thumb for packaging size is to choose a box that has two inches of cushioning room.
2. Don’t Overpay for Shipping
You can save yourself from wasting money by taking the time to research your shipping costs. Some shipping carriers have a network that allows them to offer faster delivery, weekend delivery, discounts on fuel charges, and more. You may need to pay for these extra services, which is why it’s important to understand them in advance. Only choose a package or carrier that brings features that are valuable to you and your customers. Don’t waste money on services you don’t need.
3. Be Prepared for Changes
The prices and policies for shipping change every year, and although they tend to change at the beginning of the year, they can still happen mid-year. Always be prepared for changes from your shipping carriers. For instance, USPS recently decreased their prices for electronic postage, while UPS and FedEx are now charging by DIM weight.
4. Check That the Address Is Correct
One of the most common shipping mistakes is sending orders to the wrong customers. It’s important that shippers take the time to ensure that the right destination address stated on the bill/invoice is reflected on the packaging, so the package ends up where it needs to. Even the wrong ZIP code can result in a lengthy process of tracking down the shipment and sending it to the correct customer.
5. Take Note of Customer Reviews
You should always pay attention to what your customers are saying about your products and service. Their feedback can help you improve your services and indicated where you need to make adjustments. For example, if your customers are dissatisfied with delivery times, you can consider providing a better shipping option. If your customers are always praising you for quick delivery times, it’s a good sign that the services you’re offering are meeting and exceeding their expectations.
6. Track Your Shipping Supplies
Managing product inventory is crucial for an optimized warehouse, but what about your shipping supplies? These supplies are necessary for sending customer orders out, so if you don’t pay attention to the number of boxes, packing supplies, tape, and labels you have, you run the risk of delaying customer orders as you wait for more shipping supplies. When you track your shipping supplies, you can create re-order points to keep more supplies coming in as you need them.
7. Audit Your Shipments
Studies have shown that 10% of packages arrive late, but shippers only refund a portion of these arrivals. By doing regular audits of your shipments, you can be reimbursed for any carrier shipper errors including late deliveries, incorrect charges for Saturday delivery, duplicate charges, and issues with incorrect address deliveries. Checking each shipment on your own can get extremely time consuming, which is why it is beneficial to partner with a third-party logistics provider and have this process automated.
8. Automate Your Shipping
If your business is growing or if you have a lot of product inventory and customer orders, you won’t have time to create shipping labels by hand. Automating this process can save you valuable time. With e-commerce shipping software, most of the manual tasks involved can be automated (ex. retyping addresses). You can also create customized invoices and packing slips to make your packaging and products look more professional. Automation lets you save hours each day and makes shipping processes run smoother and more accurately for you and your customers.
How a Third-Party Logistics Company Can Help You Improve Your Shipping Processes
Choosing the right shipping carrier is a big decision, which is why you can benefit from the advice and connections of a third-party logistics provider. They will have the services you need to exceed your customer expectations, get better tracking of your inventory and supplies, prepare and forecast changes, and more. They can help you thrive in challenging situations and predict errors so you can make changes to avoid them. When it comes to shipping, there is little room for error if you want your business to grow and profit, so get in touch with a 3PL provider soon and seek services that can help you.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, shipping and delivery, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to us, or to ask any questions, contact us.
There is only one way to know if your company is getting what it needs from its third-party logistics provider: fulfillment reports. These reports are essentially measurements of certain benchmarks and are necessary for ongoing evaluations of your progress with that partnership. Your company is unique, so you’ll need customized third-party logistics metrics to help you find solutions for optimization. Here’s how fulfillment services and reports can help you make your business work better.
Types of Reporting
Real-Time Inventory and Order Reports
The purpose and benefit of fulfillment reports is that they can show you in real-time when your customers order, what they order, and the status or count of inventory in your warehouse. This information is used to provide you with the data you need to manufacture and deliver products in record time, so customers get their orders when they expect to. Additionally, shrinkage is one of the biggest issues in a retail market, which is why you need to know how well your fulfillment partner is handling and protecting your inventory. Reports will reflect all of these metrics.
Usage reports are a great way for your company to learn about your customers and fulfillment partner’s habits over a certain period of time based on data generated. These reports can help you predict patterns, correct errors, and alter your processes to be more efficient. Usage reports give you the information you need to have better control of your systems.
Expense reports detail the items that your fulfillment provider purchased for the sake of your business and the costs of each item. These reports are very important for you to get an understanding of what aspects of your business you can scale back on to save, and which areas require more investing. Expense reports can help you plan your strategy accordingly, and will allow you to spot errors early to prevent them from reoccurring. Some of the information fields in an expense report include the following:
- Date that the expenditure was incurred (receipt date)
- Nature of the expense
- Amount of the expense
- Account charged for the expense
- Subtotal of each type of expense
- Grand total of the amount of reimbursement requested
Optimization According to Fulfillment Reports
Here are some of the specific ways you can optimize your business with the help of fulfillment reports from your third-party logistics provider.
There are several factors that influence a product’s velocity (the rate of which the item moves through the supply chain). These factors include seasonality, availability of good labour, recent marketing promotions, and the weather. Patterns emerge as more data is collected, so you can make predictions and adjust your inventory to suit demand. Inventory adjustments can be made in real time to gain an advantage in your supply chain.
Identifying Error-Making Carriers
When it comes to choosing your carrier, there are more choices available now than ever before. It’s wise to negotiate contracts and compare them to others, but this can be a tedious process. A good way to gauge a carrier’s speed and reliability is by generating reports on various performance indicators. These may include frequency of invoicing errors and number of delayed deliveries. If you notice carriers that continue to make invoicing errors, you know to stay clear of them.
Product Addition or Removal
In some cases, available data may not be sufficient to capture a clear pattern. However, if sales trends show that an item is heading downward, you can assume it is losing popularity. You can use this information and decide not to restock the item.
Find Where You Can Save Money
Sometimes it can be challenging to find areas where you can save money, but this is an important aspect to include as you strive for optimization. The data collected in your reports may be enough to make the right adjustments, but you can ask yourself the following questions to help you decide where to cut back:
- When is labour needed more often? When do I notice an oversupply of workers and when should extra workers be sent home?
- Are there better ways to reduce picking time for larger items?
- Which venders have the tendency to short-ship or ship damaged items?
- Which carriers are the best options in which regions?
Choose Lean Supply Solutions for Your Fulfillment Reports
At Lean Supply Solutions, you can benefit from quality and accurate fulfillment reports that help you make wiser decisions about optimizing your supply chain. We are a third-party logistics provider in Toronto, and our Lean Methodology helps our clients eliminate any operations, equipment, personnel, or resources that do not add value to their supply chains. We do our best to ensure that you consistently deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time.
When you outsource your fulfillment to us, you can benefit from long-term savings, customer satisfactions that deliver the best return on investment, lower operating costs, improved focus, high-end technology, and more. Our services also include warehousing and distribution, pick and pack, repackaging, integrated solutions with companies like Amazon, labelling, online reporting, transportation, and more! You can trust us to provide consistent, predictable, and quality results. Contact us today to learn more!