Shipping products out to your customer base can be an exciting time. However, it can also be a tricky time, considering the multitude of factors you have to consider to ensure inventory control runs smoothly. Below, we explain some key ways to ensure your shipping procedure runs effectively.
How and what you package is an extremely important part of the shipping process. This means that you need to consider multiple factors; not all products require the same packaging materials, and shipping can take a toll on the packaging you choose. For these reasons, you should begin assessing your packaging methods as early as possible to ensure products arrive to customers in good condition.
Product Sizes and Types
Consider the size and dimensions of the products you decide to ship. Bulky or long items may need specific packaging dimensions, which can obviously come at a greater cost than smaller packaging materials. However, using very small boxes and packages may restrict your procurement opportunities.
It is a good idea to run through each product that you intend to send out. Get an idea about how each product moves inside your packaging to ensure that the product reaches the customer in its original condition.
It is extremely important to choose the appropriate packaging for fragile items made of materials such as glass, liquid products with the potential to leak, or food items with the potential to break or expire. When designing your packaging, make sure that each box is strong and stable enough to account for these differences. For particularly fragile items, consider using shredded cardboard or wooden fibre to protect the product from damage.
The Look and Feel
The aesthetics of your products’ packaging is extremely important since this will be the first thing the customer sees when their parcel arrives. It is important to balance practical requirements with the need to give the customer a good first impression.
Considering the factors we have already discussed, make sure that your packaging is practical and appropriate for the product being delivered. It must be sturdy enough to ensure that as little damage as possible is caused during the delivery process.
Next, consider what materials, colours and text you might include on the packaging. It is a great idea to include some form of branding on the package itself, either by way of a logo or a brand name, phrase, eye-catching colour or an iconic font. This will help to provide instant gratification to the recipient when they see it for the first time, but it will also work as a marketing pitch for anyone else who stumbles across the package.
Delivery Method – Choosing a Courier
Choosing the right courier is a vital part of preparation in the shipping process. You need to consider a multitude of factors, such as whether the courier provides a tracking system for the customer, costs and delivery times. Choosing the right courier can also impact your lead time.
Choose a reliable courier service that allows both the customer and yourself to track the package at each stage of the shipping process. This will make it easier for you to resolve any problems with the delivery if they come up, and it also gives the customer peace of mind.
Obviously, you want to choose a courier that provides the service at a reasonable price. Choose a courier service with a good reputation, and avoid skimping at this stage as you need to be able to depend on the courier to deliver the goods undamaged and in a timely manner.
Labelling and Fulfilment For Better Inventory Control
Towards the end of the preparation stage, you will need to make sure each package has the right labelling and barcoding information attached. This is essential for tracking purposes, and it is also essential for inventory control procedures in general. By ensuring that each product is labelled correctly, inventory control processes like stock taking and reordering of stock will be much easier when the time comes.
Fulfilment of the shipping process should be supervised with caution. Once the fulfilment process is beginning to get underway, you should analyse the packing line at each stage, ensure each item is being handled appropriately and ensure that the area where this process takes place is clean and organised.
This will help to avoid mix ups and ensure that the right products get to the right destination. Moreover, supervising this procedure will make inventory control easier, enabling you full oversight of the process at each stage.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.