A lot of businesses at the minute are online-based. But just because they’re online-based, it does not mean that there is no back end going on that means the products or services are being delivered. They’re not being shipped out from someone’s home, that’s for sure. What customers probably don’t realise, is that behind a pretty website, there is a big operation going on to make sure that the product gets to the customer. Not just someone picking a parcel and putting it in a van, but a full scale warehouse, where people are working most likely day and night, in order to try and get the order completed from start to finish. So most of you reading this will have your own warehouse that you’re trying to manage at the minute, and you’ll most likely admit that your warehouse is not full of wonders. At times, it can actually feel like it’s full of nothing but chaos, especially if your company is growing at a rate quicker than you expected. So, we’re going to try and calm some of this chaos for you, and show you some of the warehouse wonders that you could introduce, to make things run much more smoothly than they might have been doing up until now. So keep on reading, and see what you think you could add!
Packaging & Labelling
One of the longest processes in a warehouse is finding out the products that have been ordered, making sure it’s the right one going to the right person, and then packaging it to be sent off. It depends on what sorts of things you’re selling. One up and coming industry for delivery is food, and it’s such a strict industry that you have to make sure you’re adhering to every rule. There are rules about what food you can ship, what weight each box can be, and where they’re going to. It might be worth checking out this website 1800scales.com, to see if you can get a scale that will suit your needs. If you continuously get the wrong size of the box and the wrong weight, you’ll face charges that will mount up, and ultimately ends up making you lose out on money. To ensure that the right package is always getting to the right person, you should make sure that you’ve got a double-check system going on. It’s so easy to make mistakes when one look is all that’s being taken. But if you have a double check system on the go, with two sets of eyes looking over it, or perhaps a barcode system that confirms the product to the right person, then you’re going to reduce that risk of someone getting the wrong product. It’s one of the biggest complaints amongst online shoppers, getting the wrong product.
Another common complaint that you always seem to read about with online businesses providing products, is that they get lost along the way, or the order doesn’t turn up when it says it should do. So to improve tracking, it starts with the delivery service that you’re using. A lot of small businesses are opting for the normal daily mail delivery that everyone receives with the post. But this is one of the hardest to manage, because once it goes into the system, it has the potential to get lost in seconds. If you saw the backend of a mailroom, you’d understand why. So even if it means increasing the costs of your warehouse dramatically, we’d definitely recommend that you go for a courier service. They will either pick the products up from your warehouse for you every day, or it’ll go to one of their general centers, and then be sent out for delivery. It’s far easier to track this way. We also want to touch on that barcode system. There is software out there that will connect the barcode to a customer and order, which can then be scanned throughout the journey. So if it was to reach a distributor from your warehouse, it could be scanned then. It could then be scanned by the courier when they receive it, and then again by the customer when they have it. At least then you can track the product every step of the way!
Staff efficiency is definitely one of the things that you need to be focusing on because warehouse staff has a bit of a reputation for wrongdoing. Either they’re not working to the full potential, because often the pay isn’t great and the hours are long, or they’re not properly trained. So there are two things we want you to focus on here, and that’s hiring staff to do less hours, but to be paid more. If you create eight hour shifts, rather than the usual ten or twelve, and increase the pay even by a marginal amount, your staff will work so much harder. Anything longer than an eight hour shift cuts into their home life, social life, sleeping routine, and everything else. So try and be fair, and think about the energy they’re using whilst on their feet all day. So also think about introducing more frequent breaks. Perhaps a 15 minute one in the morning, a 45 minute one for lunch, and another 15 minutes in the afternoon. It breaks the day up, refreshed their mind, and gives them a chance to sit down and recharge. Two little tips that we promise will make a big difference.
Returning products is common because your products are not always going to be everything that someone was looking for. But one of the biggest nightmares a company seems to have is processing the return and then processing the refund. Some customers are waiting for weeks! So you need to focus on speeding up that process, again using software that has already been created to support other businesses. All you have to do is look online, or even liaise with software development companies to produce something more suited to your business. A refund should take no more than ten days once it has left the customers home!