Six things that will delay your package, guaranteed

Six common pitfalls can delay the packages you send out, with simple tips to help you avoid them.

In order to keep your customers happy, it is essential that your documents, packages and products get delivered in a timely manner. Here are six common pitfalls that delay the arrival of packages and simple tips to help you avoid them.

1. Know the exact address.

Believe it or not, it really does make a difference if your label says “suite” vs. “floor.”  Providing the exact USPS® defined address improves delivery.  The good news is the USPS delivers to residences and other addresses without adding on surcharges or fees.  In order to avoid delays, though, be sure to look up the proper USPS address for the most efficient processingIf you need to do this often, use address validation software. It’s designed to take care of it for you and free up your employee’s valuable time.

2. Put on the right zip code and make it big.

Never guess the zip code. A wrong zip code can result in a package being shipped to the wrong state, or getting left at the wrong address because of a familiar street name in another zip code.  It even helps to make sure the zip code is larger so it stands out more. This makes the sorting process faster and easier for the carrier. That means your packages arrive sooner. It is also worth the trouble to add the four-digit extension to the zip code. These added numbers speed up the process even more.

3. Label quality counts: Making a case for printed labels.

When printing out shipping labels, be sure to double check that the ink is clear, bold and easy to read. If using a laser printer, make sure the display is not gray or dull. Delivery can be delayed if the label is hard for the carrier to read. An unreadable shipping address – especially those that are handwritten - can result in a package being passed around a facility while the employees try to decode it before returning it to the original sender. If the return address is also unreadable, the package will be tossed into the lost-and-found and sent to the auction house.

So, it’s not a good idea to skimp on budget costs when it comes to printers and shipping labels. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. It’s always better to print a label than to write one by hand. Using a quality label-printer is worth the money and peace of mine.

4. Sounds and smells cause delays.

As packages are being sorted through the belts at USPS facilities, employees guide them along. If a package has an “interesting” odor or it makes an odd type of sound, it is pulled off the conveyer belt and set aside for further inspection.

If you are shipping items with strong scents, make sure the products are wrapped in plastic and inserted into tightly sealed bags. For items that make sounds, ship them with the batteries removed, or with the products shut off before they are boxed. Silence is golden when it comes to shipping noisy items. Alerting an inspector will cause shipping delays.

5.  Establish smarter drop-off points.

Where and when you regularly drop off your boxes can affect when they will arrive. Although a local satellite shipping center may be a convenient place to drop off packages, the actual pick-up time for the carrier may come earlier or later in the day. Always check before leaving packages, to confirm when your boxes will be picked up. If you miss the carrier on any given day, it might be more efficient to shift to another “later” drop-off point, to ensure your packages arrive on time.

Whatever service you use, going direct to the shipping company location will speed up delivery. Ordering pickups may also be a better option - and will help maximize everyone’s time in your organization.

6.  Know when not to recycle.

One sure way to delay a package with the USPS is to pack items in recycled commercial boxes that may have processing issues. For example, alcoholic packaging boxes are restricted for shipping use. Before recycling commercial boxes, check with your shipping carrier’s website to be sure the type of boxes you use are allowed.

Improve your shipping practices by thinking like a customer. When you order a product online, you cannot wait to receive it in the mail. Your customers feel the same way. The sooner they receive the product, the more likely they are to come back to you in the future. Speedy deliveries result in repeat business.