If you’re like many other business owners, shipping is a critical part of the operational side of your business and something that can cause many headaches and worries throughout the year, not to mention costs.
These problems can increase exponentially if you make rookie mistakes with your shipping choices. As such, it helps to understand common errors entrepreneurs do with their logistics, you will thus avoid going back the same way.
Not packing items properly
One of the most vital parts of shipping goods safely and cost-effectively is packing them properly, so they remain intact during transit. Unfortunately, this is something that many companies don’t invest enough in. You may be trying to save time and money by packing and sending the goods as soon as possible, but in the long run it will cost you more if you don’t make sure every item is properly packed. The last thing you want is for products to be damaged in transit or spoiled or looking unattractive upon arrival.
You should use boxes, saddlebags and other packing materials that are the right size for what is being transported and also suitable for protection. Depending on what you are moving, you may need to shell out more for more extensive packing options, such as a temperature indicator to alert shippers and other handlers to items that exceed or fall below the ideal temperature.
Incorrect or incomplete documents
Sending packages with incorrect or incomplete documentation is another common mistake to avoid. In particular, pay attention to the information on the delivery address. It is essential to note the correct address so that the items do not get lost in transit or are held by people for whom they are not intended.
Plus, you don’t want to annoy customers by not delivering on time due to clerical errors or paying to have another product sent to them. Also, even if the address is correct, you might run into problems if it is not readable. As such, it is wise to use printed labels to reduce the risk of misreading addresses.
Another document to fill out correctly is the bill of lading (BOL). This document serves as a receipt for a package during shipments. It contains information about the goods, such as the date of shipment, the name and address of the sender and the consignee, the number of packages, the name of the carrier and the tracking numbers.
Other items included are a list of what is being transported, the value of the cargo, any specific handling requirements for parts, the origin and destination of the cargo, its weight and volume, and the cargo class of cargo. If inaccuracies appear in these documents or if they are not completed correctly, there could be significant problems.
Zero or not enough insurance
We all keep our fingers crossed and hope that none of our packages will be missing or damaged in transit, but that’s bound to happen when you’re shipping a lot of goods. As such, do not make the mistake of not carrying sufficient insurance or insurance to cover the value of the items should anything happen to them during shipping.
Don’t assume that the cost you pay to send goods, even a full truck or container, will include insurance. Sometimes it’s possible, but usually you need to take out additional cover, especially if you want the full value of the products covered. Also be careful not to under-belay.
Not providing customers with shipping options
If you want to satisfy consumers, avoid the mistake of not providing them with enough shipping options. You might want to make your life easier and cut costs, but you’ll be doing your business a disservice if you don’t make more than one possible freight selection for customers.
The most vital option to make available is expedited shipping. People often want the goods to arrive the day after they order or even the same day or within an hour or two if the goods are coming from somewhere in the same city. If you’re not making an express shipping process something people can pay extra for, you’re not doing it in the most strategic way possible. You can also offer refrigerated shipping or logistics to handle oversized or dangerous items.
Other errors in judgment regarding shipping include failure to follow state or national regulations, using only one logistics company, and estimating costs rather than getting accurate prices. Some people don’t do enough research on shippers and occasionally renegotiate terms with carriers.
There are many great tech tools out there that can help automate and streamline shipping processes and also reduce errors, so you are making another mistake if you are not using such programs.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about and manage when it comes to shipping. Avoid the problems mentioned above and save time, money and stress.