Do you handle your shipments from order to delivery and back again as efficiently as you can?
Efficient delivery management saves you hours of manual work, reduces human errors, improves customer service and speeds up warehouse routines and deliveries. At nShift, we have put together our top 10 tips for efficient delivery management.
1. Integrate your WMS, ERP or e-commerce back-end system to your delivery management system
A seamless integration between systems relieves you of manual re-entry of order information when producing shipping labels. If systems are integrated correctly your shipping labels can be printed automatically without even entering your delivery management system. This means you also reduce the risk of human errors and speeds up the handling of deliveries.
2. Automate your shipping rules
By automating the choice of shipping method through a system of rules, you save time on shipping, as your warehouse staff don’t have to remember and manually manage your company’s shipping policy. Moreover, by automating your shipping rules you can lower your freight costs and utilize your carriers’ strengths allowing you to pick the best shipping methods for your shipments — every time.
3. Printing speed: Shipping labels and freight documents
Using the system integration mentioned above it must not take more than 1 second from the order number being scanned and retrieved from another system to the label being printed automatically. The integration should also support print of freight letters, dangerous goods documents and other freight documents.
4. Pick orders faster
There are several things you can do to pick orders faster: design your order list in relation to the location of the products in the warehouse, pick several orders at once (batch picking), consider how long time is devoted to picking of goods, consider the right way to handle different sizes of the products to be picked, and investigate if humans or robots are faster to do the picking at your warehouse.
5. Pack shipments faster and cheaper
It is faster to pack a shipment when the package has the correct size for the specific product. It is worth the effort to choose a slightly more expensive cardboard box, if it means faster packing and time and resource savings. If you use stretch film for your shipments, you can often choose a lower thickness, which adds several meters to the roll. This means fewer roll changes and faster packing.
6. Implement artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) augments human capabilities and eliminates routine work. AI can optimize your delivery management in many different ways: customer service chat-bots, image recognition where AI extracts information from a picture, anomaly detection, quality assurance through picture-, video- and data monitoring, prediction of delivery times, fraud detection cameras, delivery robots and more.
7. Use multiple carriers
Some carriers are great for fast delivery of small parcels and others handle odd sized deliveries very well. It is therefore wise to use different carriers’ services and don’t just go with the carrier that offers the cheapest freight. Choosing the right mix of carriers for your needs is not only lowers costs, but also ensures that you are able to offer your customers the best delivery options. By using a system that supports multi carrier shipping, you make it easy for yourself to integrate with multiple carriers.
8. Offer track & trace and notify your customers
Customers want to know the current status and expected delivery time of their parcel. By offering track & trace and notifying your customers about their delivery time, you not only get happy and satisfied customers, you also reduce the number of calls to your customer service. If your customers contact customer service for tracking parcels anyway, a fast track & trace system will reduce the customer processing time significantly.
9. Process returns efficiently internally and externally
When improving the handling of your returns, you should look at the type of products that get returned and whether your infrastructure i.e. warehouse, staff and delivery management system can support this. Also, make it clear to your customers how they can return products and make this process as easy as possible.
You can do this by:
- Allowing them to return in store
- Sending them a return label together with their purchase or via e-mail
- Letting your customers generate their return label via your website.
All this helps maintain customer loyalty and reduces the number of calls to your customer services team.
10. Keep track of your shipping costs
Identify the different shipping costs, such as
- Carrier rates
- Environmental fees
- Transport surcharges
- Freight costs.
Use return data from your carrier to compare with your own data to see if the carrier’s rates are correct. You can evaluate the deviations through invoice control reporting. This way you can check if you are being billed as expected.