What is Shipping Process? The Ultimate Guide on Shipping Process
By Komal Puri | June 6, 2023
Logistics forms the core of any business and hence the shipping process serves as key to fulfill it. Building a robust shipping process henceforth is essential for timely delivery of packages which leads to a stronger customer base.
The shipping process journey encompasses a series of steps such as packaging, labeling, loading and transportation of the goods to the final destination. With the growing technological landscape and rising customer expectations, the logistics industry needs to constantly upgrade to maintain efficiency.
Efficiency is the driving force for any business as it is not only important for meeting customer expectations, but also for the businesses to improve their bottom line financials.
What is the Shipping Process?
Shipping process refers to a timeline of events which involves movement of goods from one location to another location. In this journey, a lot of activities are involved starting from packaging to the return/exchange of goods.
What are the stages of the Shipping Process?
The shipping process is typically segregated into 3 major portions:
Pre-shipping process: It involves accumulating shipping information, packaging and labeling of products, selecting shipping method and finally preparation of the necessary documents such as invoices, customer declarations etc.
Shipping process: This involves giving the parcel to the shipping carrier and tracking of the parcel as it is moving towards the destination and constant communication with the carrier.
Post-shipping process: It involves confirmation of the delivery of consignment with the customer, effectively handling returns and exchanges, managing lost or damaged packages and responding to customer complaints in the prescribed SLA.
Let’s take a step further and deep dive into each area:
The pre-shipping process is the stepping stone of the shipping process and consists of preparing the packages for shipment. This step involves various activities which ensures that the package is ready for shipment and reaches its final destination in perfect condition.
Gathering Shipping Information: This involves collation of all the vital information for shipping the goods such as recipient’s contact information, address details etc. It is henceforth critical to ensure the accuracy of the shipping information to minimize delayed or lost packages.
Packaging and Labeling: This involves selection of appropriate packaging content such as bubble wrap, cartons etc to safeguard the products inside the package. Also, the package should be labeled appropriately with information such as the recipient's address, and any special instructions such as “Fragile Item” or “Handle with care”.
Selecting Shipping Method: This involves selecting the most feasible shipping method based on factors such as the package size and weight, destination and the delivery time slot. Shipping options broadly consists of 3 categories, namely ground shipping, express shipping and international shipping.
Preparation of documents: This involves preparing the necessary documents such as custom declarations, bill of lading and invoices etc. Appropriate documentation is essential as it helps to clear customs and avoid any legal battles, in case of international shipments.
By following the above steps in order, businesses can go through a very smooth shipping journey and avoid and obstacles that may take a toll on the customer satisfaction.
After the consignment is prepared for shipping, it consists of a no. of steps when it is handed over to the shipping carrier for delivery purpose.
Handing over packages to the shipping carrier: It involves delivering the package physically to the carrier such as UPS, USPS or FedEx. Package is scanned and then entered into the carrier’s system for tracking purposes.
Tracking Package: It involves monitoring the movement of the package as it is heading towards its destination. Shipping carrier helps in providing the tracking information like the package's current location, delivery status and estimated date of delivery which is further shared to the end customer.
Communication with shipping carrier: It involves building constant communication with the carrier to clear any obstacles that comes by.This comes handy when in case the package is missing, delayed or damaged.
Estimated Delivery Time: It involves providing an estimated time of delivery to the end customer basis the chosen shipping method and carrier. The estimated time of delivery can in turn be shared with the customer via email, text message or via a tracking link.
By navigating the shipping process in a time bound and effective manner, businesses can be rest assured that packages are delivered on time and in a good condition so that customer satisfaction is on an upward trajectory.
Once the consignment is delivered to the end customer, the post-shipping journey comes into picture. It also involves several activities that ensures customer satisfaction is intact and address any obstacles that may arise.
Confirming Delivery: It ensures that the package is delivered at the appropriate location to the right customer. The delivery confirmation of the package can be checked by navigating on to the shipping carrier’s tracking system.
Handling Returns and Exchanges: It is the case of reverse shipment which involves managing the returns or exchanges of the goods as requested by the customer. The businesses should have a clear and concise return policy in place which details out the instructions for returning the products.
Dealing with Lost or Damaged Packages: It involves addressing any query that may come by during shipment such as damaged or missing items. The business entity should work with the carrier to locate the missing packages and file a complaint in case of damaged packages.
Addressing Customer Concerns and Complaints: It involves handling customer queries and complaints in line with the shipping process. The business should proactively respond to customer queries and provide solutions in a timely manner for all the concerns raised.
By managing the post-shipping process efficiently, businesses can thus ensure customer satisfaction is achieved which leads to a positive outlook for their brand. This leads to customer stickiness which in turn enables new repeat business.
What does the shipping process in the warehouse involve?
In a warehouse, the shipping process leads to the final steps for the preparation of consignment for shipment to the customers. Following are the key stages in the shipping process in the warehouse:
Order Picking: Workers in warehouses locate and pick parcels that have been ordered by the customers. The process of order picking would involve using handheld scanners, conveyor belt system or some other system ensuring efficiency and accuracy.
Packing: After order picking, products are packed into boxes to ensure safety of products during transportation.Various materials are utilized such as bubble wrap and other suitable packaging materials so that the package is received by customer in a safe manner.
Labeling: Every package is labeled along with the customer’s information such as address, order number, tracking number and method of shipping.
Shipping: Packages are handed over to the carrier such as delivery service or courier. The carrier will transport the packages to the end customer’s location.
Tracking: By having the tracking no. in place, end customers can gauge the movement of their shipments across its journey. This feature increases confidence to the end customer on the estimated arrival of their consignment and gives a sense of reassurance throughout the delivery process.
Optimization of Shipping Process with FarEye
FarEye is a software in the field of logistics management that helps businesses in optimizing their shipping process by implementing efficient processes, automating the shipping process and garnering end customer feedback.
Implementing efficient processes: FarEye can analyze the shipping journey of various parcels and can delve into areas of improvements such as reducing shipping times, optimizing the process of shipping carrier selection and streamlining the packaging process. Thus, the software can provide recommendations for enhancing efficiency and reducing the costs.
Automation of shipping processes: FarEye can automate the shipping process which includes shipping notifications, tracking of package and label printing. Thus, this can reduce manual errors, improve accuracy and speed and henceforth free time for employees to focus on other tasks.
Customer Feedback and Satisfaction: FarEye garners feedback from the end customers about their shipping experience and use that as a mechanism to improve the shipping experience. With the help of the software, businesses can actively collate customer feedback by requesting them to post reviews, sending survey forms. This valuable information enables the business entity to dig out areas of improvement and address issues in a time bound manner.
To summarize it, using FarEye’s software,businesses can reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction score. This results in an upward trajectory of sales, increasing stickiness with the company which delivers repeat business.
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.