If I had asked people what they really wanted, they would have said faster horses.
In the shipping and fulfillment industry, efficiency makes the difference. It can save or cost thousands of extra worker hours and ultimately determine the survival of any company.
If you are reading my blog, I’m sure you already understand the intricacies of working with third parties. Whether they want a unique packing slip, to conditionally use a preferred carrier/service or put their logo and their specific reference fields on a shipping label, they all have requirements that can eat up your time.
It doesn't matter if you are spending more time matching pick tickets or trying to get the right shipment to the correct carrier, these small disruptions are taking time that could be spent getting more customers their packages as soon as possible. And when the holiday season comes and shipping hits high gear, these differences can quickly add up to a headache — or worse, unfulfilled shipment orders.
Problem No. 1: The Demands of Holiday Rush
These inconsistencies do not have to take place. For example, a medium-sized company in the Midwest was having trouble meeting the holiday rush of around 7,500 packages per day. The day would start with thousands of packing list/pick tickets being printed out in their front office. They would print out in the front office in the sequence the orders were received.
After the orders were printed in the front office, a file was sent to their carrier-provided systems in the warehouse. An auto-ship process was used to ship and print labels via several carriers, as these were standard packs and the product weights were already known. The packing slips were matched to the shipping labels and the packages were then picked by carrier and placed on pallets. Matching the customer-specific packing slips to the shipping labels took many hours.
While this shipping system process worked at lower volumes, it became cumbersome and time consuming as they grew. This company recognized there must be a better way so they contacted Creative Logistics with many of their own great ideas to improve this process, what they needed was a partner that could listen to their ideas, suggest alternative ideas , and help them implement their ultimate solution.
The Solution: Moving from Multiple Shipping Systems to InfoShip/Vx
At the time, the company was using several different carriers’ shipping systems for their various fulfillments. Instead of having multiple software programs to achieve this, InfoShip/Vx — our software for high-volume shipping — was implemented.
Problem No. 2: Separate Printers for Pick Tickets and Shipping Labels
That didn't solve the problem of having to print the pick tickets and the shipping labels at separate printers. Because their packing slips were printed on a regular 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and their shipping labels were printed on 4 x 6 thermal labels, it required two separate printers — and the packing slips and shipping labels still had to be sorted and matched up before they could be fulfilled.
By using a multi-carrier shipping system solution that prints a two-sided label, sorting and matching up packing slips with shipping labels was eliminated. And there was no more switching back and forth between different systems for different shipments. This single program allowed them to meet all their third-party requirements by using a two-sided label. The front side had the carrier label with the needed third party’s logo and custom reference fields, and the other side produced the custom packing slip information in the customer’s custom format.
The Solution: Streamlining Processes to Increase Efficiency
We created a special packing slip in the 4 x 6 format that mirrored exactly everything on the old 8.5 x 11. The innovation here was that instead of using two printers and matching both slip and label, the shipper could now print out both pieces of information on the same printer on one label. No more physically matching the order number on the packing slips to the order number the shipping labels. No more human error.
By placing the orders into similar batches, we eliminated making multiple trips to the same picking location every day. In addition, there was no longer the confusion of which package goes to which freight service. Each batch was printed to match a certain carrier. The first part of the morning involved filling the pallets for freight carrier A, the second part for freight carrier B. This was repeated in the afternoon to keep up with orders coming in throughout the day.
By the time these changes were implemented, this drop shipping company could fulfill well over 10,000 packages a day, which was far better than prior to implementing InfoShip/Vx.
Happy Employees Make a Happy Company
The success of our solution also made for more satisfied employees. With the efficiency levels reached, mandatory overtime and working on weekends during the holiday season were no longer necessary. It allowed the company to grow. Efficiently meeting the demands of their customers let the company stay in control of their growth at a pace with which they felt comfortable.
Now, if there's another third party they want to work with, the on-boarding process is as smooth as possible. That's more time shipping and less time tweaking. The more complicated a shipping process is, the more InfoShip/Vx becomes useful.
How InfoShip/Vx Can Help You
If you are a high volume shipper and wonder if we can help you, please contact us to discuss your unique challenges and requirements. InfoShip/Vx is user friendly, efficient and cost effective. The typical time it takes for this software to pay for itself is between six to eight months, but it often happens faster than that.