What is Automated Shipping? How shipping automation works? What are its benefits?
By Komal Puri | June 6, 2023
Today’s consumers have put considerable pressure on companies to deliver packages quickly, efficiently and on-time. How can companies achieve these goals? Technology and automation are key.
Automated shipping is part of the solution in solving for efficient and effective last-mile logistics operations, a need that has never been greater than it is today. Consumers demand fast and accurate shipping and businesses that cannot provide it are at a serious disadvantage. With shipping automation businesses can streamline order shipping process, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
Automation technology can significantly improve operational efficiency by eliminating manual tasks, reducing human errors, and providing real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments. Businesses that adopt shipping automation can gain a significant competitive advantage by fulfilling orders faster, more accurately, and at lower costs.
It’s important for businesses to understand the benefits shipping automation can bring and invest in the right technology to meet the growing demands of their customers.
What is Automated Shipping?
Automated shipping is the use of technology to automate and optimize various aspects of the shipping process. By combining hardware and software, shipping operations are optimized and human errors are minimized.
Automated shipping systems can perform tasks such as generating shipping labels, picking lists, packing slips, and real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, all without the need for human intervention.
These systems can also optimize delivery routes and driver schedules to shorten delivery times, reduce transportation costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
By automating the shipping process, businesses can achieve greater operational efficiency, reduce costs, while providing superior customer experience which all will enhance their competitive edge in the market.
Benefits of Shipping Automation
Automated shipping has several benefits, including:
1. Increased efficiency: Automated shipping systems are designed to work more efficiently than human-operated systems. They improve order processing speed and accuracy, reducing resource requirements. Automated systems can also handle larger volumes of goods, which can help businesses scale up their operations to meet demand without having to hire more staff.
2. Reduced human error: One of the biggest advantages of automated shipping is that it can reduce the likelihood of human errors. Through the automation of order processing, inventory management, and shipping, businesses can eradicate the potential errors associated with manual handling. Automation enhances shipping accuracy, minimizing the likelihood of costly mistakes.
3. Real-time tracking and monitoring: By implementing automated shipping systems, businesses can ensure real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, safeguarding against loss or damage. This enhanced visibility empowers businesses to continuously track their shipments and promptly address any issues or exceptions that may arise. Customers also reap the benefits of real-time visibility, gaining precise information about the expected arrival of their packages.
4. Faster order processing and delivery: Automated shipping systems can process orders more quickly and accurately than manual systems, which means that customers can receive their orders more quickly, which helps to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers are more likely to return to a business that provides fast and reliable shipping.
5. Cost Reduction: By implementing automated shipping processes, organizations can decrease expenses associated with labor, mitigate the possibility of human mistakes, and enhance the efficiency of supply chain management. This, in turn, can result in substantial time and cost savings.
6. Improved Customer Satisfaction: Automated shipping enables customers to benefit from precise delivery predictions, real-time tracking updates, and expedited delivery times. These advantages contribute to heightened customer contentment and foster long-term loyalty.
7. Scalability: Automated shipping systems possess the flexibility to seamlessly adjust to varying demands, making them particularly well-suited for businesses that undergo seasonal sales fluctuations. This adaptability ensures optimal operational efficiency regardless of market dynamics.
8. Sustainability: Automated shipping can help reduce the carbon footprint of shipping by optimizing delivery routes, reducing transportation costs, and minimizing packaging waste.
How Automatic Shipping Works
Automatic shipping systems typically involve a combination of hardware and software that work together to streamline the shipping process. Here’s an overview of how automated shipping works:
Order processing: Automated shipping systems can integrate with e-commerce platforms to automatically import orders. Upon receiving the order details, the software processes the information and generates a shipping label along with a tracking number.
Inventory management: Automated shipping systems can also integrate with inventory management systems to track stock levels and ensure that products are available for shipping.
Package preparation: Automated shipping systems can use machines to package products, print shipping labels, and apply any necessary barcodes or RFID tags.
Transportation: Automated shipping systems can use various modes of transportation, such as trucks, drones, or even autonomous vehicles, to transport packages to their destinations.
Tracking and delivery: With automated shipping systems, customers gain access to real-time tracking information, enabling them to monitor their shipments' progress and receive timely delivery notifications.
Some automatic shipping systems may also incorporate advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or predictive analytics, to optimize the shipping process and identify areas for improvement.
What difficulties arise in the e-commerce shipping process?
There are several challenges associated with e-commerce shipping processes, including:
Shipping costs: E-commerce businesses must consider shipping costs when setting prices and may need to balance the cost of shipping with the desire to offer free or low-cost shipping to customers.
Shipping times: Customers expect fast shipping times and may choose to shop elsewhere if they feel that shipping times are too long. E-commerce businesses must balance the desire to offer fast shipping with the need to keep shipping costs low.
Packaging and logistics: E-commerce enterprises face the task of securing products with proper packaging to avoid shipping damages. Additionally, they must handle logistics effectively, ensuring timely delivery and accurate shipments to designated addresses.
Returns and exchanges: A clear policy for returns and exchanges is essential as they can be time-consuming and costly to manage.
International shipping: E-commerce businesses that sell products internationally must navigate complex customs regulations and may face higher shipping costs and longer shipping times.
Overall, e-commerce businesses must navigate a complex and constantly evolving landscape of shipping challenges to provide fast, affordable, and reliable shipping to their customers.
How can FarEye help in Shipping Automation?
FarEye is a last-mile delivery platform that can help businesses automate their shipping processes in several ways:
Order processing: FarEye can integrate with e-commerce platforms to automatically import orders and process order details, helping to streamline the order fulfillment process and eliminate the need for manual data entry.
- Real-time tracking and monitoring: FarEye provides real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, allowing businesses to stay up-to-date on the status of their shipments and quickly address any issues that arise.
- Carrier selection and management: Using FarEye, businesses can leverage its capabilities to identify the optimal carriers for their shipments, considering factors like cost, delivery time, and service level.
- Route optimization: FarEye harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to optimize delivery routes, resulting in reduced delivery times, lower costs, and enhanced operational efficiency.
- Customer communication: FarEye can automate customer communication throughout the shipping process, providing customers with real-time visibility and tracking information and provides delivery updates.
The Evolving Landscape of Automated Shipping: A Glimpse into the Future
In the future, automated shipping is set to assume a pivotal role in the transportation industry, growing in significance and impact. With the development of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and drones, shipping companies are exploring ways to automate their operations to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve safety.
Automated shipping offers the significant advantage of uninterrupted operations, eliminating the necessity for breaks or rest periods, thus enabling round-the-clock functionality. Delivery times can be greatly reduced and shipping companies can increase the number of deliveries they can make in a day.
Types of Automatic Shipping Solutions
Automatic shipping solutions are technologies designed to streamline and optimize the shipping process. These solutions can include automated packaging systems, automated labeling systems, and automated sorting systems. By automating these processes, shipping companies can improve efficiency, reduce labor costs, and improve accuracy and speed in their operations.
1. Automated packaging systems: Automated packaging systems are designed to streamline the process of packaging products for shipment. These systems can automate the process of filling, sealing, labeling, and palletizing packages, which can reduce labor costs and improve efficiency. Some automated packaging systems also incorporate features such as weight and dimension measurement, which can help optimize shipping costs.
2. Automated labeling systems: Utilizing automated labeling systems, packages can have shipping labels printed and applied swiftly and accurately. This becomes especially vital in high-volume shipping operations. Additionally, certain automated labeling systems integrate additional functionalities like barcode scanning and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, contributing to efficient inventory tracking and management.
3. Automated sorting systems: Automated sorting systems are used to sort packages by destination or other criteria. These systems can use a variety of technologies, including conveyor belts, robotics, and sensors, to identify and sort packages. Automated sorting systems can help improve accuracy and efficiency, particularly in large-scale shipping operations. Some systems can also incorporate features such as quality control checks and package tracking to further improve the shipping process.
The shipping industry has witnessed substantial transformations due to the advancements in automation technology. The use of autonomous vehicles, drones, and advanced robotics has created significant efficiency gains and cost savings for shipping companies.
The implementation of automated packaging, labeling, and sorting systems has also improved the accuracy and speed of the shipping process.
It is clear that automated shipping solutions will continue to be essential in the transportation industry. As shipping companies continue to adopt these technologies, we can expect to see even greater efficiency, reduced delivery times, and an overall improvement in the shipping experience for both businesses and consumers.
Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.