You’re a small business owner. What level of service do you expect as a customer?
What experiences make you end business relationships and seek out different vendors?
Think about these questions as you design your shipping department.
Delivery delays, damaged products, and low-quality packaging are just a few issues that turn off customers.
Step back and step into the shoes of your customers. Keep this guide handy as you grow your business in the ecommerce industry.
Assess Shipping Department Inventory Needs
Shipping departments are a cornerstone of good inventory management.
Shipping managers don’t just ship products out. They also adjust inventory amounts.
The same rule applies to products that are received. Shipping employees must increase the inventory amounts as they receive products. This step ensures all counts are accurate.
Maintaining correct inventory numbers prevents profit loss. Managers may be forced to close stores for multiple days just to count inventory.
Shipping departments are integral to inventory management. They need the latest equipment to ship, move, store, pack, and receive products efficiently. Typical devices include SKU scanners, retail POS apps, digital cataloging, etc.
Warehouse employees also need protocols for the processing, storing, and disposing of broken products. Damaged products are a leading cause of profit loss.
One way to solve this problem is to redesign your entire warehouse space.
- Replacing your industrial shelving
- Increasing aisle space between shelves
- Install new receptacles
- Install separate receptacles for lost items
- Label product shelves and containers
- Implement a daily warehouse cleaning schedule
- Use wireless handheld devices for faster inventory adjustments
Ensure your warehouse software is integrated with your company’s POS system. POS systems process transactions and inventory adjustments. Your shipping and receiving department must use the same POS system.
Automate Your Shipping Process
The previous section brings up an essential point about POS systems.
When processing products, transactions, and adjustments, manually imputing data slows the process down. Ensure your POS system is automated and accessible from wireless devices. You can even download apps that turn phones into barcode scanners.
Automation is a time (and profit) saver, allowing employees to perform the following tasks quickly:
- Product lookup
- Postage printing
- Email shipping notifications
- SKU sticker printing
- Shipping label printing
- Shipping supply ordering
When choosing postage and shipping options, it’s important to consider customers’ preferences. Offering just one choice will drive customers away; read the full article on this issue to learn more about priority mail and priority mail express.
Even better, you can integrate shipping carrier apps into your POS system, allowing faster deliveries. Check the box of the carrier you want to use to print out a ready-to-use shipping label; all you have to do is drop it off at the nearest carrier office (or hand it off to a delivery driver.)
Master Shipping as a Small Business Owner
Don’t let simple shipping and inventory management mistakes derail your business. Remember these tips as you build a 5-star shipping department that satisfies customers.
Check out the blog for even more tips for ambitious readers like yourself!
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