With the regular general rate increase of each major carrier hitting shippers year after year, there are a variety of shipping management processes and strategies anyone can implement to save both time and money, and minimize downtime or additional surcharges to help offset the rate increases. If you’re looking to give your shipping logistics an upgrade in the new year, then starting with addressing your internal shipping processes is one of the best places to start.
Five Essential Tips to Help You Optimize Internal Processes
1. Organize Your Inventory for Efficiency
Inventory organization is a vital part of your internal shipping processes, as well as your overall sales and operational organization. Whether you ship a high volume of in-demand items or freight just a few massive, heavy items each year, you need to update your inventory organization in order to keep up with demand and minimize any downtime you might see from missing inventory.
When you know exactly what you have on-hand, you can organize your warehouse to make finding the right items quicker, as well as add signage to help direct team members to find exactly what they’re looking for more easily. If you want to take it one step further, you can categorize your inventory by aspects like popularity, promotional or sale items, or seasonal demand.
2. Fine-Tune Inventory Control
Once your inventory is organized to foster a more familiar, efficient environment for your shipping logistics team, it’s time to fine-tune your inventory control processes. When you standardize the processes around your inventory, you can improve a variety of things, including:
- Downtime frequency
- Inventory management accuracy
- Efficiency of picking and packaging processes
While an inventory control software can be incredibly useful, you can also create a simple manual system that relies on the software you already have. This can involve leveraging spreadsheets, internal communication systems, and any manual inventory/quality control processes you may already have in place.
3. Optimize Your Packaging Supply
One of the biggest factors that can impede the efficiency of your internal shipping processes is the type of packaging supplies or materials you use. Trying to pack items into the incorrect packaging can slow down your process and lead to a variety of additional, unnecessary surcharges from your parcel carrier or packaging that’s easily damaged, resulting in the loss of that product.
Instead, consider the unique shipping demands of each item you ship and change out your packaging to suit each item, no matter how unique. For instance, if you have breakable or perishable goods, confirm that the packaging supplies you have will protect and maintain the integrity of those items. Additionally, if you have oddly shaped or large items, make sure you have packaging that fits to ensure your goods don’t break through its container in transit.
4. Prioritize Effective Warehouse Equipment
Every warehouse that has operated on a manual structure, relying on manpower for productivity, will tell you that the introduction of effective equipment makes all the difference. While it may be tempting to bring in all of the newest and best equipment, prioritizing the equipment that works best for your procedures will minimize downtime and help optimize how quickly and efficiently your warehouse team can ship packages. This equipment may include things like:
- Dollies/hand trucks
- Pallet trucks and jacks
- Service carts
The equipment that will integrate best into your warehouse will wholly depend on the industry you’re in and the items you ship. Your shipping volume and the size of your items and/or packaging will also influence the type of equipment that will work best for your team.
5. Create & Stick to a Standard Operating Procedure
Finally, one of the most important and effective methods to improve your internal shipping management is to create and follow a series of standard operating procedures at each step of your operation. When you draft these SOPs yourself rather than adopt them from a different organization, you have the ability to customize the details inside to fit your operation now and help you scale in the future. You can consider these standards your bible for how to run a successful, efficient, and effective operation. In a standard operating procedure, you should include:
- A detailed outline of your unique shipping process
- Any applicable safety precautions and procedures
- Any procedures regarding shift-change
- The roles and responsibilities of each employees’ title
- Package-to-product guidelines
When you’re ready to upgrade more than just your internal processes to optimize your overall shipping management, it’s time to look at the business intelligence platform from Reveel. Our platform takes your data and, using machine learning and an intuitive user experience, gives you the tools to save money on your everyday shipping logistics. Contact us to schedule a demo today.