A simple way to resolve multi-location outbound shipping challenges

Here’s how to manage shipping operations efficiently from multiple locations without overseeing everything in person or all the time.

Take one step into the 57,000-square-foot home of Linda's Stuff and you'll be immediately struck by all the activity. The Pennsylvania-based luxury consignment seller estimates it keeps about 160,000 items on hand and processes 1,500 orders each day.

Its whole outbound shipping process runs like clockwork – item in box, box on scale, label printed, order shipped, end-to-end tracking enabled – so much so that Linda's Stuff staff say they are now able to work faster than when they were only processing 200 orders per day.

And that’s no small matter. Outbound shipping and handling alone accounts for up to 7 percent of revenues of online retailers. Any inefficiencies in that process can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line – and that’s problematic, given how it’s entirely possible for shippers to stamp out these inefficiencies. Not to mention, with each undelivered or untraceable package, customers will come to distrust a shipper even more.

To avoid all this, Linda's Stuff optimized its outbound shipping processes with its multi-carrier shipping platform, which allows the company to easily compare shipping rates, track packages, verify addresses and manage costs, all in real-time. But what would happen if Linda’s Stuff expanded to more locations? Would its shipping operation fracture and become less efficient?

More Locations, More Problems?

Shippers: Think about all the times when you've been able to solve a shipping problem just by virtue of having all your staff under the same roof. A face-to-face conversation or the ability to log onto a specific workstation immediately can help you quickly answer a customer query.

Now think about how you would have solved that problem if it happened in one of your facilities on another coast. When you operate under multiple roofs, the procurement and shipping process isn't quite so easy. How do you manage it all? How do you make sure shipments are picked up and delivered on time? Do you have a plan in place for when weather threatens to delay shipments from one of your facilities? What about tracking? How do you manage payments? Do you have sufficient support for IT?

These are questions every business today has to consider. These days, every business is a global business, and that means you’ll have customers all over the world, sprawled out and diverse. To really serve them, you need to meet them where they are. As Fortna’s Albert Avalos told Logistics Management, “Consumers want the ability to order anything, anytime, from anywhere.”

To get to that point, you don’t have to run multiple shipping systems. With a single, cloud-based shipping and mailing solution, no matter how many locations you ship from, you'll have a centralized platform to house information from all your facilities. Specifically, you'll gain:

  • Easy, real-time management and monitoring of online postage costs for individual clients
  • Certainty that you’re getting the most cost-effective shipping rates for each location
  • Automated, end-to-end parcel tracking
  • Improved deliverability by verifying addresses and comparing classes

Businesses need to be certain that no step in the outbound shipping process is overlooked – from the moment an order is placed, to when the inventory is retrieved and shipped, until the customer is invoiced. That process is already complex enough, without challenges stemming from multiple terminals and processes.  A centralized online shipping and mailing solution works with these processes and helps multi-facility businesses achieve location harmony, without requiring substantial IT support.

Businesses can use these solutions to achieve shipping operations that are just as efficient as Linda's Stuff’s – even though they don't have the benefit of overseeing all shipping operations in person, all the time.

To learn how the technology featured in this post can help make your shipping operations more efficient and cost-effective, and also generate greater customer satisfaction, check out our online shipping and mailing solutions, for both low-volume and high-volume shippers.

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