Shipping problems? None. The transport arrives, we load the packages, you sign the loading sheet and that’s it.
Well, maybe the real problem with the expedition is clearly determining where the expedition really begins and where it ends. When we talk about zones, the limits are generally quite clear, but when we talk about processes the line is blurred.
The expedition is the process by which a warehouse selects and conditions the products that its clients request so that they reach their destination through the means, deadlines and the way agreed with them.
Therefore, whether or not you are aware of it, the dispatch process begins the moment we transform the customer’s order into a picking list .
From there, this phase can be divided into consolidation, order conditioning, documentation verification and loading and within each of them we have a multitude of activities, almost endemic to each company, that we can control manually or using technology. for greater reliability.
Let’s see within each of these stages of the process, some logistics management tips that help us solve the most frequent shipping problems.
Stages of the expedition process
1. Stage of receipt of the customer’s order
We have included this part within this post for a better understanding of the context, but we will not delve into it since later we will dedicate a complete post to logistics management tips for picking.
Three aspects to which it is advisable to pay a lot of attention:
- Listen to the client and take their requirements into account.
- Should we do fraction picking? Does it require special packaging? Do our facilities guarantee that the product remains in the agreed conditions?
- Guarantee deadlines.
- For which it is advisable to have a precise knowledge of our Lead Time.
- Keep you informed at all times.
- We just have to look at how important it is to us as customers, messages as simple as “your order is being prepared”; “Your order has gone out.” At an industrial level, this is achieved with a direct, real-time information flow between WMS and ERP systems.
2. In the consolidation stage
This consists of grouping the goods from picking to assign them different destinations and requires a lot of organization, efficiency and effectiveness. We have to keep in mind:
The consolidation area must be close to the dock or the packing area
Countless problems in this area are derived from a bad design of the warehouse layout. There are certain areas of the warehouse such as the consolidation and packaging area and the docks, which are condemned to be understood. The logistics management of each of them cannot be carried out without taking into account the operations to be carried out in the other two.
This area also needs adequate maintenance items
If we must consolidate heavy items we will need pallet trucks, if they are bulky we will need space and in some cases we may need to compact in height, for example, if we must consolidate pallets for the load, we may need to use live racks.
It has its own requirement for logistics management
This is clearly seen if we consolidate at the dock because the ideal is to have clearly delimited areas for different destinations, and specialized corridors separating the entry of merchandise to be consolidated from the exit for cargo. That or separate both operations in time.
Pick to wall
A system that allows us to reduce errors and improve labour efficiency. It requires an SGA system to control it and is ideal for ecommerce, where multiple orders of few small references are issued.
3. In the final conditioning stage of the order
We must take into account:
- Packaging matters a lot.
- Raise your hand if you meet a customer who wants to receive a product in perfect condition, but inside a filthy box.
- In a company EVERYTHING communicates and the first thing a client receives, touches and sees from us is our conditioning work. Let’s think as clients, who seems to us the most reliable and professional? The supplier who sends us the pallets with the boxes wet and poorly stacked, the pallet overflowing and on the point of falling apart, or the one who sends us perfect pallets always of the same dimensions, well labelled and strapped by machine?
- Crucial Labelling . A crossed label, transferred, over or under, leaves a package on the dock, lost in a logistics operator, or in Seville when it should be in Navarra.
- Padding and protection material
Let’s use the right one, without waste, but not without scarcity either. Let’s calculate the cost difference between generating it and portioning it manually, and buying machinery that produces it in situ in the right measure.
4. In the verification stage
A good way, as simple as it is unusual in our warehouses, to increase control over our shipments and solve a multitude of complaints and problems is: weighing.
An SGA system can make a simple comparison between the theoretical and the real weight of each one of our shipments and stop shipments with potential problems before even conditioning them.
5. At the documentation stage
Documentary traceability. It is not only about keeping a good control of the documents that the transport is going to take, such as the consignment note. It is about keeping a complete traceability from the receipt of the customer’s order, the creation of the picking list and the generated delivery note or the waybill when it is necessary .
The objective is that our EMS system generates, controls and links the information necessary for the beginning and end of each process, keeps all the links in the chain informed, including the client, and allows us to access that information at any time from any point.
6. In the stage of loading in the transport
It is very important that we can keep a control, even if it is minimal, of the packages that we leave in the hands of the transport. When the quantities are accessible, a simple count and a signature (legible), registration number or stamp of the company that loads our packages would be sufficient.
When the quantities to load are considerable we must resort to technology. We can establish areas where the SGA system orders the deposit of each package belonging to a company, a route or a specific carrier. In this way, as long as we guarantee reliability in the process, the system is the one that controls the quantity of packages to be loaded. Another somewhat slower, but more reliable way is the scanning of each and every one of them or the use of a sorter (A sorter is a system that performs a classification of products, ordering load units to organize them through conveyors depending on their destinations).
A good approach when dealing with the problems that may arise in this dispatch phase would be to realise that, from picking, we work with merchandise that does not belong to us but to the customer .
It may not seem relevant, but when it comes to dealing with logistics management problems and especially when it comes to mentalizing the team, changing the point of view regarding the ownership of the merchandise makes things much easier. It is not the solution to all ills, but it helps a lot.
Then we must analyze each and every one of the phases involved in our expedition process . This is something very particular to each warehouse and within the same warehouse there may be distinctions at many levels, such as between customers.
Assigning resources and technological means to improve the logistics management of each stage can support obtaining a great competitive advantage, in addition to providing improvements to the level of service avoiding errors and mishandling.
Let’s think that this process consumes a lot of labour and that each error is tremendously visible because it affects the client very easily. For this reason, technology and a good EMS system are so important in logistics management . On the one hand, it manages resources much more efficiently and on the other, thanks to its control systems it avoids human error before it occurs, preventing it from having a negative impact on the level of customer service.
Also Read: The Role Of Logistics In eCommerce