Warehouse shipping is critical, as it delivers your products to your customers. It may seem simple, but it’s actually a complex procedure comprised of numerous steps. If you can nail this process, your offerings are more likely to arrive on time and satisfy your clients’ needs. We’ll help you optimize your warehouse shipping with seven steps.
- 7 Steps for Smooth Shipping from a Warehouse
- Shipping Warehouse Requirements
- Top 6 Warehouse Tech Devices for Shipping
- Insider Tips for Improving Warehouse Shipping
- Warehouse Shipping Mistakes
- Talk to a Warehousing Expert
7 Steps for Smooth Shipping from a Warehouse
You shouldn’t leave your warehouse shipping to chance. It should consist of the following steps to ensure high customer satisfaction:
Before you can send your products to customers, you first need to have them delivered to your warehouse. Your package arrival process starts when trucks enter your receiving dock.
This is where you plan where you’ll place the items while completing the necessary paperwork. The documentation normally includes recording the number of crates, weights, and sizes. Your staff then unloads the products and performs quality control to ensure each package is in great shape.
2. Creating and Managing Order Information
Numerous steps are involved in this stage, but the basics are straightforward.
Your clients place an order, providing you with all the information you need to process your shipment. Once you receive the order, you confirm the available inventory.
Integrating with inventory management software (IMS) is the best way to do so. Many platforms can verify you have enough goods for your customers, ensuring reliable order fulfillment. More importantly, it saves you time otherwise spent browsing your inventory manually.
You also need to determine how you’ll carry out the shipment. For instance, you can consolidate multiple shipments in smaller trucks. But if individual shipments are too large, you may need to send each item in a separate vehicle.
3. Order Processing
After receiving your order and ensuring you have sufficient stock, you can move on to order processing. This process requires you to verify your client’s information, including their name and address. This needs to be precise: if you get just one number or letter wrong, your shipment won’t arrive at the desired destination.
Automated order processing systems can make your warehouse shipping and order processing smoother. This software enables you to check customer information quickly, speeding up your operation.
4. Picking Products
Product picking is the first phase of the order fulfillment stage. To start, your warehouse workers go through the list of the goods requested by your customer. They analyze order data and the quantity on hand before going to the section of the warehouse that contains the products. Finally, they mark the items for packing to fulfill the order.
5. Packing Products
The selected products are sent to the packing area. You can use various types of packing for your finished goods.
On one hand, internal packaging is more appealing, as it lets the customer see all the information about their products.
On the other hand, external packaging is advantageous for industrial clients. It’s more robust than an internal solution because it usually protects sensitive products. This type of packaging must also contain enough data so the client can easily identify the content. There are usually barcodes recipients can use with radio frequency (RF) technology to scan the goods and determine the contents and quantity. Furthermore, the packaging should be just the right size, so your staff can easily store and transport it on pallets.
One of the most significant issues with warehouse shipping and your supply chain is keeping track of the goods moved through the facility. That’s why most business owners incorporate product labeling in the shipping process.
Labeling your containers, pallets, cartons, and products is essential. It helps eliminate the confusion associated with unknown content. More specifically, your workers don’t have to open boxes to determine what’s inside, increasing their efficiency.
Besides speeding things up, labeling is also highly convenient. You can now read and record labels with handheld devices.
This is the final step of your warehouse shipping procedure. Shipping involves sending products on trucks, ships, or planes to their final destinations.
If you’ve correctly completed every stage before this, shipping shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t forget to enable your customer to track their products in transit to improve their experience.
Shipping Warehouse Requirements
Besides being a multi-step process, warehouse shipping requires several documents for smoother operations. Some of the papers you may need to include are cargo documents, labels, certificates of origin, bills of lading, advanced shipping notices, export declarations, export licenses, inspection certificates, and invoices. They allow you to process your shipments quickly and avoid legal issues.
In addition to documents, you also need certain equipment. The necessary tools may differ due to the varying sizes and layouts of your warehouse, but some equipment is essential in all facilities. The list includes storage systems, conveyors, lift equipment, dock tools, bins and containers, and packaging equipment. Be sure each device is fully functional to avoid delays.
Top 6 Warehouse Tech Devices for Shipping
Even if you’re the most experienced warehouse shipping professional, you can take your operations to a new dimension with cutting-edge devices:
- DT Research DT304T Rugged Tablet – This gadget is ideal for warehouse operations due to its high-quality screen and performance. Powered by an ultra-efficient Intel Core i4-core processor, it can handle multitasking with ease. There’s also a 14-inch touchscreen that lets your workers read and input shipping data with ease. Finally, it has industry-leading IP and MIL-STD-810G ratings that certify its durability in all warehouse settings.
- DT Research DT362GL Handheld Rugged Tablet – If you’re looking for another top-rated DT Research table, the DT362GL is an excellent choice. It comes with a state-of-the-art processor and a brilliant touchscreen for seamless information reading and input. You also get a smart card reader, barcode scanner, and Wi-Fi to help your workers stay connected. Finally, the device has undergone stringent tests to ensure durability in the harshest of environments.
- Honeywell ScanPalEDA52 Mobile Computer – The ScanPalEDA52 is another device that can work wonders for your warehouse shipping. It allows your team to work fast, thanks to the octa-core processor and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also supports 4G LTE communication. You’ll also enjoy the 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass display that can endure drops from high warehouse shelves. There’s even a 13-megapixel camera that lets you capture high-quality images for warehouse documentation.
- Honeywell CT30 XP – This all-purpose warehouse tool gives you reliable data transfer and access with its robust connectivity and scanning. It also features a rugged yet relatively lightweight design that easily fits most pockets. Your warehouse team can confidently use the gadget, knowing it can endure drops from 4 feet onto concrete and extreme temperature changes.
- Zebra ET45 – Zebra is known for top-shelf warehouse devices, and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at the ET45 rugged tablet. Whether you use it in an indoor or outdoor facility, you won’t have to worry about damage caused by temperature fluctuations or drops from moderate heights. Furthermore, this machine has robust scanning capabilities with a long scanning range that lets you capture barcodes from afar. The scanning operation is snappy and takes a split-second to process practically any barcode.
- Zebra XBOOK L10 – The XBOOK L10 is another exceptional warehouse device from Zebra. The highlight might be the extended battery life. Specifically, you can use the machine for up to 24 hours uninterruptedly, which should be enough for some of the longest shifts. The gadget also features an integrated handle for seamless portability. Lastly, it comes with a fully-functional keyboard that allows for smooth data entry.
Each device has so many impressive features that it’s hard to choose one model for your warehouse. Energy Electronics can help you make the right choice. You can consult our experts to determine the suitable machine, depending on your warehouse and business needs.
Insider Tips for Improving Warehouse Shipping
The basic warehouse shipping process looks the same in most facilities. However, you can take it to the next level with a few easily applicable tips:
- Implement an order tracking solution – Order tracking software allows you to track your orders automatically. Whenever you receive an order, the system integrates it into its database on your behalf.
- Prioritize safety – One of your main priorities should be safety. Skipping some safety measures might not seem problematic initially, but it can cost you thousands of dollars down the line. The fewer accidents you have, the fewer interruptions you need to address.
- Incorporate an IMS – An IMS should complement your shipping platform. As you dispatch your goods, the program marks them off manually.
- Use appropriate equipment – Whether your warehouse consists of larger or small items, you probably stack them on pallets. You may also use shelves as your storage solution. Either way, make sure you have forklifts and other equipment to help you prepare your products for shipping faster.
- Improve visibility of your inventory – Visibility refers to your ability to locate specific products in your inventory. It’s critical for inventory checks, allowing you to trace faulty wares before they’re shipped to your customers. This way, you can separate compromised materials from high-quality ones and enhance your warehouse shipping process.
- Boost your lighting – Your warehouse might have limited lighting. If so, it can hinder your productivity and increase the risk of accidents. Replace any malfunctioning or broken lights with robust models to create a smoother, clearer shipping environment.
- Rely on pallet decks – Protecting your products is key to optimizing your warehouse shipping. The last thing you want is to find out you dispatched a damaged item after your customer complains. As you keep most of your goods on pallets, try to install wire pallet decks. They support load evenly across the entire pallet surface to prevent damage and improve airflow.
Warehouse Shipping Mistakes
A large part of streamlining your warehouse shipping comes down to avoiding mistakes. Here are the top seven errors you want to prevent:
- Inadequate training – Improper staff training can kill your chances of sending correct products timely. Your workers might confuse some goods for others due to their lack of training, leading to low customer satisfaction.
- Disorganization – Warehouses without a well-organized workflow are doomed to fail. It makes the shipping process more challenging, especially if your employees don’t have clear assignments.
- Unsafe work environment – As your team operates heavy machinery to ship products, you need to ensure the devices are safe to use. Regularly maintain your forklifts, conveyors, yard ramps, and other equipment. Otherwise, you run a greater risk of delays and workplace injuries.
- Labeling mistakes – If your products are incorrectly labeled, you will never know if you’ve sent the right goods until a client complains. Therefore, double-check the contents of your packages to ensure they match the labels.
- Poor demand planning – Having enough products in stock is crucial to meeting customer needs. However, you can’t do so without demand planning. Anticipate how many goods you’ll need in a certain period to avoid shortages.
- Design and layout problems – The design and layout of your warehouse make a world of difference in your shipping efficiency. If your team can’t move products through the facility quickly, you may fail to keep up with orders. Plus, your staff might waste too much energy going from one end of the warehouse to the other. Avoid this problem by redesigning your space with shipping in mind.
- High labor costs – Technology investment might be one of your highest expenses. That said, don’t forget that manual labor isn’t cheap either. Although you can’t handle warehouse shipping without personnel, this doesn’t mean you should hire just anyone. Try to automate some of your projects, so you can save money on salaries.
Talk to a Warehousing Expert
Warehouse shipping is an intricate process you need to manage correctly to grow your company. One of the best ways to do so is to incorporate cutting-edge devices into your facility. They reduce the need for manual work and speed up most of your warehouse processes. You should also prioritize safety and invest in proper machinery to elevate your efficiency.
If you need more help to advance your warehouse operations, reach out to Energy Electronics. Our warehousing experts can identify weaknesses in your routine and provide practical solutions.