According to estimates, the global shipping industry transports more than 11 billion tons of goods all over the world each year. And that number is only expected to grow over the next half decade, with experts predicting that the worldwide shipping industry will reach a value of over $15 billion by 2028.1
That’s good news if you’re in the shipping business. But if you’re struggling to maintain your current load, now’s the time to start making changes that improve the shipping process and help your business succeed. From the order fulfillment process to supply chain and inventory management, there’s a lot that goes into shipping.Wondering what you can do to optimize your shipping process and keep up with the growing demand? At Shipware, our experts have compiled six tips to aid this pursuit.
#1 Create a Standard Operating Procedure
One of the most effective ways to improve shipping processes is to draft and implement a standard operating procedure for your warehouse.2
Consider this tool your playbook for success—acting as an operational guide to keeping your warehouse team educated, efficient, and cohesive. Your operating procedure should include detailed descriptions of the most important aspects of how your business operates.
Be sure to list things like:
- An outline of the shipping process
- Safety procedures
- Shift-change procedures
- Employee roles
- Package-to-product matching guides
#2 Organize Your Inventory
Another big part of efficient shipping is inventory management. With a business as logistically complicated as freight shipping, organization should be one of your primary tenets. That’s why anyone wondering how to improve shipping processes should start by taking inventory… of their inventory.>2
Once you know what you have, organize it to find products with ease and dexterity. Signage and labels throughout your warehouse are a big step in the right direction. They can help improve picking processes and ensure that items are placed and sorted correctly.
You can even up the ante by instituting a hierarchy of products. For example, you can organize product accessibility according to:
- Seasonal use
- Promotional items
#3 Optimize Packaging Material
Your packaging materials for shipping can make a significant difference. Whether products are sitting on warehouse shelves, being transported around the warehouse, or on a truck on their way to customers, the packaging is the guiding light that helps protect and lead parcels to the right place.2
To help your shipping process run more smoothly, make sure you have the right packaging materials on hand for a variety of items. Different products require different packaging depending on what they contain and the conditions of the warehouse in which they’re stored.
For example, perishables and fragile items might require additional protective materials compared to other storables. Be prepared with the special materials needed to package your most often shipped products, and prepare your warehouse team in your standard operating procedures manual on how to use them.
#4 Fine-Tune Inventory Control
Standardizing your inventory tracking can improve your shipping procedures in ways that can be felt across the entire warehouse. Inventory control can contribute to:2
- Inventory count accuracy
- Picking and packing efficiency
- Reducing downtime
An inventory management software or system can be especially helpful in this area of order fulfillment and shipping overall. If you’re wondering what is inventory management system, it’s a great tool for tracking inventory levels, sales, deliveries, and more. An effective inventory control system doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can opt for software that integrates with the other management systems you’re already using, or you can keep it simple with a spreadsheet.
#5 Use Effective Equipment
Your warehouse equipment can have a substantial impact on how quickly and efficiently your team can ship products.2
The equipment that’s best for your warehouse will depend primarily on the type of items you’re shipping. Additionally, the size of packaging—how many products can ship at once, for instance—will also influence the equipment inventory required for your team.
In most cases, warehouses are well served by the following kinds of equipment:
- Pallet trucks and jacks
- Hand trucks
#6 Evaluate Warehouse Layout
All the tips and tricks in the world won’t make much of a difference if your warehouse isn’t laid out in a way that maximizes space and contributes to a productive workflow. Rethinking how your warehouse is organized can save you time, space, and money.2
Your warehouse should be organized to prioritize space for products and navigability for employees and equipment. Additionally, workplace safety is paramount. While retaining productivity, the layout also shouldn’t present any challenges in using equipment or packaging shipments. A warehouse control system may be of great use in this aspect of the shipping process.
Shipware, Your Partner in Optimizing Your Shipping Processes
There are several steps that businesses can take to improve their shipping infrastructure and fine-tune their inbound and outbound logistics. Prioritizing warehouse organization, implementing standard operating procedures, and taking control of your inventory are all excellent places to start.
And here at Shipware, we champion this initiative with a specialized team of experts that work with you to deliver innovative parcel and volume LTL shipping solutions. With us, you can save as much as 21% on your annual shipping costs.
Whether your shipping expenses total in the hundreds of thousands or the hundreds of millions, we have the tools to improve procedures and bolster your bottom line.
- Grandview Research. Shipping Container Market Size & Share Report 2020-2028. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/shipping-container-market-report
- Cherry’s Industrial Equipment. How to Optimize Your Shipping Process. https://material-handling.com/blogs/how-to-optimize-your-shipping-process/