A Shipping Timeline for Product-Centric Companies
When you’re working in the world of product-centric businesses, selling and packaging your products is really only half the battle. Shipping your products is a whole new landscape. If you’re not taking advantage of every tool at your disposal to track your product’s progress, there’s lots that can go wrong, and there’s plenty at stake if it does. In fact, 39% of customers say that a negative delivery experience would keep them from shopping with the same retailer again. So, suffice to say, creating a solid shipping strategy is directly linked to your business’ success.
Luckily, we know a thing or two about shipping best practices. From determining shipping methods to ensuring that your order arrives safely, we’ll walk you through a timeline of ensuring that your products’ movement is reliable.
Early Process: Prepare Your Order
When you’re creating an order, you’re also determining how that order will reach your customer. Choosing your shipping method sets the standard for delivery up until it reaches your customer. If you’re new to the game, let’s slow it down for a second to cover the basics.
What is a Shipping Method?
While it may seem self-explanatory, there’s a lot that’s influenced by your shipping method, so it’s important to understand it on a deeper level. A shipping method is a carrier you choose to deliver your products to your customers. This will be the determinate for how much it will cost to ship a product, as well as the method of delivering the product. The shipping method you chose will likely vary based on the size of the order and its final destination. That means that each order is an opportunity to optimize based on your customer’s needs.
Your carrier selections may vary based on what shipping solution you use, but SalesPad’s current offerings include:
- UPS (with included freight)
- FedEx Freight
- R+L Carriers (And More!)
Obviously, some carriers will be more appropriate for certain orders over others. If you’re shipping internationally or cross-country, you’ll want to use one of the bigger carriers like UPS or FedEx. They’ll have the wherewithal to ensure that your orders get where they need to be on time. When you’re shipping locally, you could opt for a carrier that specializes in your area to make sure your order is a higher priority, and that its arrival time won’t depend too heavily on the scheduling of any other items from other companies that are being shipped along with it.
If you’re using a SalesPad solution, you’ll also have the opportunity to make edits and specifications to the order — whether the item will be shipped normally or picked up, whether it’s inactive, or whether it will be drop-shipped.
Middle Process: Manage Your Order
Once you establish where your order is headed and who’s taking it, you need a reliable hub to centralize all that information. Organizing your order information will also be crucial in communicating with your shipping team. If there’s any mix-ups along the way, the shipping team can easily access the package’s history to reconcile any confusion.
With SalesPad Desktop, your information hub is ShipCenter. This software communicates directly with the carrier to avoid using third-party programs. Here, you’ll be able to house all shipment-related documentation for easy access. There’s also a treasure trove of additional bonus features to use within Ship Center, including:
- Automatic printing of shipping documents
- Comprehensive, user-friendly workflows
- A unified license to avoid buying individual seats for each user on your team
- Easy package setup
These extra features don’t just give you improved visibility into your orders. Without them, there is no standard for how your items are processed and shipped, which means miscommunication and inefficiency will be inevitable. Because of this, ShipCenter, or whichever system you use to prepare and manage your orders, is the heart of your shipping operations.
End Process: Update and Improve Your Operations
The cycle of shipping never truly ends, because there’s always an opportunity to improve upon your processes, and implementing powerful integrations is one of the best ways you can do that. When you add integrations, you’re giving your ERP solution a power boost by adding functionality that isn’t already built in.
SalesPad’s cloud solution currently integrates with ShipStation. This integration helps improve your operations at every stage. You can compare carrier and shipping rates easily, create automated workflows to push orders through your warehouse, and track your package from the moment it leaves your warehouse all the way to its destination. And, because it automates directly with your ERP solution, it’ll work in perfect tandem with your pre-shipping processes and data, in order to make a smooth, easily-repeatable strategy that your whole team can feel comfortable with.
When it comes to running a successful business, you need more than a killer product. You’re only as successful as your ERP solution, and by extension, how that solution dictates your shipping practices. There’s a lot of variability when it comes to shipping your products, so it’s important that you prepare and prepare (and then prepare) to ensure that your orders get to the right place at the right time. If you’re looking to further optimize the state of your shipping, feel free to get in contact with us! We’re ready to listen and help you tackle any of your pain points with ease.