Is Your Shipping Process Outdated? Five Ways to Tell

You’ve built your business on shipping, and your reputation is staked on getting orders to your customers on time, every time. You have a system in place that works, and has for years, but it is time-consuming and occasionally inaccurate. You’re wondering if it might be time to update your process, but before you go to the time and expense, you want to be sure. Here are five warning signs that your business shipping is due for an overhaul.

1. All of your older employees are fully trained in the system you use. They know the ins and outs and have been there for minor tweaks as shipping carriers have changed their processes. But every time you hire someone new, you almost feel embarrassed to teach the complicated process you use. To counter this embarrassment, you justify the system by saying that other companies may do things differently, but this works for you.

No process in someone’s business should be embarrassing to them. If you find that you’re feeling this way, it is probably time to change to a more streamlined system you can be proud to teach to your new hires.

2. You ship internationally and domestically and use first class, parcel post, and priority shipping options for both. You also use multiple carriers, as costs and reliability have shifted over the years. But you cannot always keep up with the most cost-effective options, and this is leading you to leach income – sometimes paying more for shipping than you’ve collected (or allotted for in the price, if you provide free shipping). This is happening more and more often until it is affecting your bottom line.

If your shipping costs aren’t in line with your business model because you cannot keep track of them accurately, chances are you need to modernize to a system that is more streamlined and will automatically select the best shipping option for each parcel.

3. Every business misses an occasional guaranteed ship date or guaranteed arrival date. Unexpected events, both personal and natural, just interfere once in a while. But you’re finding that whereas before they might happen once or twice a year, now shipments are delayed once or twice a month… or more. And you don’t have a good explanation for your angry customers, because the truth is things are just falling through the cracks.

In today’s world, being able to meet your shipping goals is critical. If you cannot meet your shipping guarantees most of the time, it is safe to say that you need a shipping system upgrade.

4. Worse than not meeting shipping deadlines, when your customers inquire about their parcels you have to scramble to give them tracking information. Different carriers have different systems, so you can’t even keep track of them in one place. You might have the info in a logbook, but you or someone else might have neglected to enter it. Or it might just be on a tracking slip that got shoved into a pocket… and then washed.

A customer may forgive an occasional late shipment, but if you cannot give them ways to track their parcels or at least accurate tracking information almost instantly, you run the risk of them going to a competitor that can. You must update to an automated system that provides real-time

5. Each day you go to your business, get everything done that you need to, yet find that your shipping is the last thing you want to think about. Because of everything that is involved – packaging, selecting the carrier, tracking, customer support, and more – you’d rather sweep your office. Your attitude about shipping, and indeed everything in your business, is infective to your employees. If you shun the process they will as well, making all the other shipping related problems that much worse.

If the thought of your shipping process makes you cringe, then it is time to improve the process to a system that works for you, or even one that you don’t have to think about at all!

If any (or all) of these sounds like you, then it is time to leap to a more modern, streamlined system. A fully automated, fully integrated system will allow you to ship smarter, faster, and more efficiently than ever. This will take the worry out of shipping, all while increasing your bottom line!

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