4 Ways to Increase Efficiency in Your Shipping Department

If your company is in the business of shipping their products, then time is money. How efficient you are will make or break your bottom line and affect your return customer rate. Don’t fall into common mistakes that other companies in your industry make. Be sure to use the best practices that can save you time and money. Here are four great ways to ensure profits will continue to grow and make your business better.

Different Packing Types 

Depending on what product you have, you need different kinds of packaging to optimize your time. If you have more than one product type, then you need even more varieties. For instance, tube shipping is something that helps smaller items that are the same shape, or rolled prints. These containers can be sent through tubes and provide a much shorter wait time for delivery than basic ground shipping. On the other hand, large boxes are better for complex orders and, of course, large products. Review your product specs and makes sure your packaging is speeding things up, not slowing them down, while also providing maximum safety to the contents. This is a crucial first step in creating better efficiency from the root source in your business. 

Shipping Room Layouts 

Each shipping room is laid out differently, though they all have the same components. Each has loading, sorting, scanning, labeling, packaging, and outbound stations that need to be organized in a logical manner. Factors like the size, shape, and location of outlets in your facility can affect this organization, but beyond that, you need to have things set up for a smooth and logical workflow. Many companies hire experts to analyze their setup, both in the shipping room and in the company itself, to see where improvements can be made for efficiency. Whether you opt to do this or not, it’s important that you take a look at your workflow and make sure there aren’t any hiccup points that are slowing things down or worse, leading to costly mistakes. 

Assembly Line Organization 

The assembly line system was invented for maximum efficiency. The idea behind it is that each step in an assembly process is done by one person or specialist, then passed on in a smooth and consistent flow. Sometimes, however, an assembly line can be bogged down when people in the line are given too much to do at once. Make sure you are delegating tasks properly, or else you won’t be reaching maximum flow speeds. The ability to easily pass product on to the next station is also key. If you have people spending too much time running back and forth between stations, your system will get backed up and your workers will burn out quickly. Be minimalistic in how you line things up, but delegate minutely. Taking the time to thoroughly plan and set up beforehand will be key to reaching maximum efficiency in any part of your business, be it on the assembly floor or elsewhere. 

Proper Shelving 

Believe it or not, shelving can actually be a serious source of danger to employees, let alone a source of delays. Heavy materials or objects that are stored high up often fall on the person reaching for it, necessitating heavy objects to be stored lower down. More commonly used items must also be stored near eye-level if you want them to be easily found. Labeling and organization will also take a toll on your efficiency if done improperly. Similar items should be stored near one another, or else you’ll be digging through piles of envelopes to find boxcutters, and scanning shelves over and over in search of packaging tape that should have been clearly labeled. Shelving tends to fall into disarray when people put things back in the wrong place and lose interest in maintaining organization, but regular cleaning and maintenance can fix that and save your employees lots of time.  

Getting more out of your shipping business means starting from the base up. Simple as these factors seem, these are the elements that are most often overlooked in any industry, resulting in preventable delays and mistakes that cost you later down the line. Small delays and mistakes here and there compound, growing too costly proportions by the time they reach the actual shipping and delivery. If you’re unsure how to begin, hire a consultant to help you get things organized so that your work is delegated in a way that maximizes your time and money.