Shipping rates continue to increase across the board. Customer demands will continue to sway in the direction of free and fast shipping, and visibility from time of order to time of delivery will be commonplace. In addition, drop-shipping programs will increasingly become a viable growth prospect as distributors become capable of managing fulfillment from major retail eCommerce store fronts. Add all this up, and shipping manually begins to look pretty archaic – and certainly not a long-term strategy. To be competitive and profitable, manual shipping isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Automated shipping is an easy area to gain tangible and intangible benefits in your distribution operations. If you have shipping workstations where people are manually weighing, selecting service levels (rate shopping), packing and printing labels for orders, and then manually entering tracking information into your order management system, those are quite a few steps that can be automated! You’re also leaving a lot of room for error when data is being manually entered, and when a mistake is made, it hugely diminishes customer service levels. Employing individuals to manage shipping stations is also a costly operating expenditure, and these individuals can be repurposed or do much more with less by having an intelligent system at their fingertips.
By utilizing a warehouse management system (WMS) with integrated shipping, you can streamline shipping as part of your outbound order fulfillment process. Product dimensions and weight can be pre-loaded into the system to tell your pickers what size box will be required to pick the order. The system can then determine the exact size and weight of the box (prior to the order being picked), and rate shop all available carriers at the desired service level (next-day, second-day, etc.). Your shipping labels can be pre-printed so pickers can pick directly into the shipping container and slap the label on when the order is complete. It can be very costly to try and manage multiple systems at once, and your integrated shipping system can remove the pains of manually managing that system and centralize your shipping operations into a single user interface. Supported carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, Canada Post, Canpar, Purolator, Spee-Dee, LTL, and more.
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