The shipping set-ups for no two businesses are alike. This is because most of those businesses have differences that can pile up to big changes. They don’t all need to deliver as often, or to as many places. So, when you’re setting up the shipping and delivery of your business, you might find it difficult getting a guide that tells you exactly what to do. Here, however, I’m going to tell you exactly what questions you need to ask. Figuring out the answers to those below will help you choose the best shipping options you can.
Get your value right
We’re starting right off the top with money. It’s the biggest question for just about any part of the business after all. With shipping, the costs need to be factored individually. This means that, for every item, you need to figure out how much it’s going to cost you to ship.
First, you need to calculate the weight using tools like a postage meter. Then, you need to consider the distance and the method (air, sea, land) used to transport it. Without estimating these costs properly and splitting it with the customer, you could be taking on serious losses.
The size of the packages (or how you package them) matters, too. If you’re using shipping containers or trucks, you want to waste as little space as possible. If not, then you could be spending more on the costs of actually transporting the goods than you make from selling them in the first place. https://airfcl.com/waste.html gives a look at just how wasteful all that extra space can be.
So, make sure you’re figuring out volumes properly and not using containers that are too big for your goods. Bigger containers add weight, which means more gas spent to transport.
Timing is everything
To really excel at shipping, you have to be adaptable, too. Every business has periods where they’re selling less. Then the next week, they’re trying to cope with huge demands. If your supply methods fall behind, you’ll be letting customers down and paying for it down the line. So you need to prepare in advance for those periods of huge demand on the business.
For instance, you might want to rent extra storage/transportation space with businesses like http://portcontainersusa.com/shipping-container-rental.html. Renting instead of buying can be the key since you don’t want to have to pay for extra space you’re not going to use through the rest of the year.
You don’t always need to do your own shipping
Just like you may need more space than usual at times, sometimes you’ll need less space than usual. When that’s the case, you’re dealing with a lot of wasted space and fuel. As I’ve already covered, these are costs that you shouldn’t have to deal with. Instead, you should be looking for ways to get exactly the space you need.
Sometimes, looking outside your normal supply methods is the key. In particular, you should be looking at freight consolidation services. These services see you and other businesses sharing freight space and splitting the costs, meaning: you don’t have to spend for a lot of space you’re not going to use. Others are going to pay for it instead.
Make decisions based on data
It can be a hard decision thinking about who you’re going to rely on for your shipping needs. To make the decision easier, you can create a data-based comparison to see which provide the best. Track your carrier performance. Track the time they take to deliver, the price and the consistency of the performance.
If you’re using your own drivers and shipping processes, you can collect the data yourself. For instance, consider using GPS trackers on your vehicles. Set key performance indicators for your drivers and see how they do month-by-month.
To automate or not to automate?
One of the big questions for handling any new process in the business is whether or not you should outsource. Nowadays, there are many who use fulfillment warehouses to automate a lot of the factors of their shipping. However, for some, this isn’t a solution at all.
For one, you won’t be in control of the costs and how you mitigate them. You won’t know if you’re using all the storage you’re paying for or choosing the most financially sound shipping methods. At the same time, they can be a good temporary solution. They can take care of your shipping needs while you’re still getting your own system setup.
Prepare for red tape
If you need to deliver overseas, then you’re going to have to prepare for even more hassle. http://shippingandfreightresource.com/top-10-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-shipping-overseas/ shows just how many extra steps this is going to take. First, you’re going to need to learn the customs and packaging rules for the different countries you’re shipping to. Then you’re going to need to account for tariffs and extra costs involved, too—which means you might need to think about how you charge overseas customers for their deliveries.
If you’re shipping overseas, you’re going to need to seriously consider insurance, as well. When traveling to other countries, your goods are in a lot more danger of being damaged.
The customer’s viewpoint
So far, most of the points we’ve covered all deal with how you see shipping from a business owner’s perspective. However, there’s another to be considered as well. The customers’. Providing customer service is all about giving them the options to customize it.
For instance: offering free delivery. This means it’s a good idea to have more than one delivery method, using the cheapest (and slowest) one to offer free. You might want to take the time out to personalize their experience as well. A lot of businesses do it by adding hand-signed thank you notes to their deliveries. Think of how to use delivery as a means of satisfying the customer.
It’s all about your demands and how you account for the cost of them. Do all you can to eliminate waste and you’ll have an efficient system that keeps you and the customer happy.