Shipping is a vital component of many business operations these days, especially with so many people and firms conducting online sales. Whether you’re in eCommerce or run a wholesaling, distribution, manufacturing, or another type of venture that involves shipping items to and fro, it’s essential to think through logistics factors carefully and continually look for ways to improve processes and cut costs.
One way to do this is to avoid the common shipping mistakes that other organizations make.
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Mistake: Less-Than-Ideal Packaging Choices
One of the most common errors is not packaging items well enough for transit. To ensure your clients are happy with the goods they receive or that your suppliers get stock back safely that you’re returning, etc., you must take care and use suitable packaging that will protect items, whether they have to go a short distance or a long one.
There are all sorts of helpful packaging products you can utilize. For example, test out boxes, pouches, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other materials that stop goods from moving about too much in transit. You may also need to invest in cold chain technologies, heat packs, or other items to keep products hot or cold, as needed. Plus, using a temperature or impact indicator is worthwhile if you’re moving sensitive or hazardous pieces.
You may also find that it helps to use quality RFID tags to track items when they’re en route to destinations so you always know how far they are from their final location and can locate them if they get stolen or lost along the way.
Mistake: Paperwork That Doesn’t Stack Up
You also want to avoid the mistake of failing to complete shipping paperwork or filling it out incorrectly. Even one little error or missing detail can lead to items not arriving on time, going to the wrong place, or even returning to sender. In particular, double-check that the names and addresses listed on parcels are correct and that the right contact information gets put on the right, corresponding packages.
Labels must be legible, too, so printing rather than handwriting details is best. Focus on completing each bill of lading (BOL) correctly, too. This shipment document is used as a parcel receipt. It includes details about the goods enclosed, such as the date of shipment, name and address of the shipper and recipient, the number of packages in the delivery, tracking numbers, and the shipping carrier’s name, among numerous other things.
Mistake: Lack of Insurance
Another error you want to avoid is not taking out enough or any insurance on the items you need to ship. While missing or damaged packages may not be the norm, such issues do arise, often way more than we’d like, so you want to be adequately covered in case the worst happens.
Some entrepreneurs think they have insurance built into the postage they pay, but this isn’t usually the case. Typically, you must take out separate insurance on top, either with the shipping company or through your own business insurance. If insurance is included in the postage you pay, check the amount. Often, it won’t cover the total value of the products you’re transporting, so additional cover will be required.
Mistake: Failing to Offer Shipping Options to Customers
These days, most consumers are used to having a lot of choice when they shop, and they expect to be able to get goods to their door ASAP. As a result, it’s imperative to allow people to pay for speedy shipping solutions wherever possible. Many companies don’t, though, which is a mistake that can cost them sales, referrals, and reorders.
Make life easier for your clients by enabling them to choose from different shipping options. Or, you might even set up express shipping as the default type that you cover the excess costs for because you know it eventually works out for your better financially, due to converting more leads into buyers. Other shipping options to consider are refrigerated transport or the ability to keep goods warm or otherwise at an ideal temperature in transit. You may also want to have logistics available for oversized or hazardous goods.
Some additional shipping mistakes you need to know and avoid are not following your nation’s or international shipping regulations, relying on just one provider, and not renegotiating terms with your transporters every so often.
You also need to avoid a lack of research into shipping providers and failing to use some of the many excellent tech tools that make it easier to streamline shipping processes.
If you avoid all of the above errors, you will help your firm cut costs, save time, and reduce stress for you and your workforce.