Technology has infiltrated the logistics industry like never before.
Automation in logistics is happening at an alarming rate with the intent of increasing operational efficiencies and decreasing costs.
One of those critical processes is shipping.
Shipping is one of the most challenging and expensive tasks in eCommerce. You want to save costs but also deliver an exceptional customer experience.
You’re on the constant lookout for an efficient cost-effective shipping method that meets your expectations as well as the customers’ and that is where automated shipping comes into play.
What is Automated Shipping?
Automated shipping is the process of integrating tools, technology, or software infrastructure to streamline shipping operations and fulfilment planning. It eliminates manual processes and mundane tasks, and minimises human errors.
Automated shipping procedures include order picking from inventory, packing boxes, and loading the packages. The whole purpose of automated shipping is to increase the speed of shipping. It allows you to automatically get orders that need to be fulfilled in a queue with the use of warehouse robots, or even with relatively smaller tools like conveyor belts.
What are the Benefits of Automated Shipping?
1. Increased Efficiency
Every piece of technology incorporated into logistics processes aims to increase efficiency and bridge gaps in the supply chain. Automated shipping systems eliminate most of the time-consuming activities like sorting, order picking, printing & applying shipping labels, and order packing.
For example, you can use mobile barcode scanners to automatically update a warehouse management system about a particular product with just a simple scan of a barcode. Moreover, with shipping labels, you can track products and their shipping details in real-time. It also brings your customers in the loop and sends them crucial information about their delivery status.
These automated processes can easily cater to a large volume of orders in less time. It increases the turnaround time, increases the productivity of multiple facilities, optimises the fulfilment process, and helps you achieve your delivery logistics KPIs.
2. Reduced Labour Costs
A single automated shipping system has the ability to take over manual checking tasks completed by around 15 - 20 staff. It can replace a significant workforce that you would otherwise need to fulfil regular and mundane tasks. As tasks like order picking, order tracking, and fulfilment are automated, you’d see a significant cost reduction in shipping and labour costs.
Employees are directed towards more strategic functions that require human analysis and thinking rather than spending time on tasks that anyone can do. For example, consider an employee handling a customer complaint rather than picking up an order from the shelf.
Even though you keep the employees for the same number of hours, you will save money since the value of those labour hours will increase. For a small business scaling its business, these activities can make a big difference to its cost structure.
3. Your Supply Chain is Data-equipped
As you implement various shipping technologies in your supply chain, you can collect key data and improve analytics that aids with strategic decision-making and responds to shifting market trends. You know what products are trending amongst customers, at what particular time, and how successful your current shipping practices are.
Some of the top areas in your tools collect data are:
- Order tracking: Shipping and inventory software allows you to track when the orders are placed, what are the peak timings, when they are picked, when they’re ready for shipment, and when they’re delivered to the customer. Not only does this facilitate higher visibility in the delivery process but it also allows businesses to be proactive in case anything goes wrong with the delivery.
- Accurate Inventory Management: Automated shipping also deals with updating the inventory whenever an order is placed. You immediately receive notifications and get alerts to restock.
4. Improved Order Accuracy
Human errors can cost a great deal to businesses, both in terms of money and reputation. And while you ensure to hire efficient employees, there is only so much they can do before they are tired and prone to mistakes.
The automated dropshipping method can efficiently check the cube and weight of a carton against the expected cube and weight of the order. This ensures that the order measurements and content is right and improves the overall accuracy of all your orders.
If in case the carton cube and weight don’t match, it can be diverted for manual checking and reprocessed accordingly. It ensures that the order is up to the mark so that there are fewer eCommerce returns and happier customers.
5. Better Customer Service
As eCommerce businesses scale, customer service becomes a challenge. You want to meet their delivery expectations and ensure they get the right products at the right place. If you choose to integrate automated shipping systems, it makes it easier and cheaper for you to ship orders to your customers. Due to increased efficiency and excess labour, you can make a significant difference in the customer experience.
Automated shipping systems allow you to provide same-day shipping or other cheaper standard options at checkout. It will also help you avoid missed deliveries and reduce customer complaints relating to accuracy and delivery delays.
6. Optimise the Supply Chain
Shipping tools can easily be integrated with other systems in your supply chain whether it is your inventory management system or your warehouse management system. It is therefore easier to consolidate all of your data into a single place.
This very data can help you with demand forecasting and take decisions that are relevant to your entire supply chain. Most tools also offer the option to customise your system to meet specific requirements of your processes, enabling you to strengthen your supply chain.
Automated shipping systems are the future of logistics and the key to quick order fulfilment. It can make a considerable difference at the bottom line by freeing your staff and focusing on activities that actually require your attention.
To understand more about automated logistics and optimising your shipping processes, you can contact us at PACK & SEND and we can happily guide you through.
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