Shipping accuracy is an important aspect of any business that relies on delivering products to customers. Your ability to ship accurate orders to the right destination directly impacts profitability.
In a perfect world, every shipment would be perfect. Instead, most companies must deal with the reality of misshipments.
Misships, or incorrectly shipped items, can lead to customer dissatisfaction, increased costs, and damage to your brand.
To minimize misships, businesses must implement best practices that focus on optimization, technology, and employee training, ensuring accurate shipments every time.
The Importance of Accurate Shipping
Accurate shipping is crucial if you want to keep doing business. Since order accuracy directly impacts customer satisfaction, too many misshipments can lead to complaints, returns, and lost sales—all of which are costly. Not only does the bottom line suffer, but your warehouse teams must devote considerable time to processing returns and fixing wrong orders.
On the other hand, when customers receive the correct items on time, they are more likely to have a positive experience and become repeat customers.
The cost implications of misships are many. Overhead swells in direct proportion to misships, adding greater expense for return shipping fees, overnight and same-day ordering, wasted inventory, chargebacks, wages, and loss of customers.
A company’s brand reputation is bound to suffer when misships occur frequently. Ensuring accurate shipments helps maintain a positive brand image, promoting customer trust and loyalty.
Therefore, investing in a strategy to prevent misships pays for itself—and more.
Unraveling the Mystery of Mispicks: How to Craft Foolproof SolutionsREAD NOW »
Best Practices for Misship Prevention
Misships may seem inevitable. While mistakes are understandable, there are best practices you can implement to help your operation “outsmart” misshipments. Prevention can be a powerful tool in your supply chain toolbelt.
Use Technology Solutions to Ensure Accuracy
Technology to boost order accuracy is a common first line of defense against misships.
Barcode scanning systems equip warehouse teams with the ability to pick the correct items and validate order accuracy during pick-pack-ship. Mobile inventory solutions add greater efficiency and functionality, leveraging mobile apps and real-time data exchange with ERP platforms and other critical software systems.
Larger enterprise organizations may elect to implement a warehouse management system (WMS). A WMS is a software solution that helps manage and optimize warehouse operations, including inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and shipping processes.
Unlike barcoding, which any warehouse can integrate, WMS platforms can be burdensome to get live and functional.
Another helpful technology comes as a pair: shipping software and label printers. Both help assure that packages are correctly labeled and addressed. This type of solution can prevent misships by lowering the risk of lost or misdelivered packages.
Advanced mobile solutions like those provided by RFgen can combine the most-needed functionality of all these technologies into one robust but flexible package.
Train Employees on Best Practices
Technology can only do so much to prevent misships. Workers also need training or the occasional refresher to keep misships to a minimum.
Consider the following training tips:
- Provide comprehensive training on shipping processes and technology tools used during outbound processes.
- Train workers on proper picking, packing, and labeling procedures to ensure that they can accurately fulfill orders.
- Schedule regular refresher courses or workshops to reinforce best practices and keep staff up to date.
- Give new team members intuitive mobile apps to shorten training time by as much as 80%.
Even in a warehouse full of veteran staff, ongoing training and development will be essential to maintaining a knowledgeable, competent workforce focused on preventing misships.
Picking Your Way to Success: Best Practices for Improving Picking Speed & AccuracyREAD NOW »
Optimize Warehouse Layout
It may seem obvious, but your warehouse’s organization may be indirectly contributing to misships. An efficient layout for materials reduces opportunities for misships by assisting fast-moving workers.
When analyzing your warehouse floor plan, examine the following:
- Separating or grouping similar items
- Arranging location by item popularity or replenishment rules
- Labeling of products and shelves
- Accuracy of digital records
Although each of these points is important, warehouse technology adds considerable value over and above these tweaks. For instance, mobile picking software further alleviates picking and shipping pains by directing workers to the exact location of each item.
Refining Shipping Processes with Quality Checks
As part of unlocking the perfect shipment, the shipping process itself shouldn’t be exempt from scrutiny.
Standardization is the best first step. If you haven’t standardized your shipping procedures, then your misship problem is unlikely to improve. A standard process ensures all team members follow the same steps and best practices, reducing the likelihood of error. It’s a good idea to have all processes documented and communicated to warehouse staff. Assign a supervisor to monitor compliance and KPI metrics.
Another warehouse best practice is implementing quality control checks at various stages of the shipping process. QC checkpoints catch mistakes before the package leaves the warehouse.
At minimum, quality checks should include:
- Verifying picked items
- Inspecting packed boxes for accuracy
- Confirming shipping labels and addresses
Implementing mobile software that contains built-in validation steps and best practices for workers is a surefire way to ensure maximum quality for pick/pack/ship. Software can maintain standardization while automating tedious time-consuming tasks.
Monitoring and Continuous Improvement
Once you have implemented changes to your shipping processes, establish a system for performance monitoring and improvement. Track metrics like inventory accuracy, order accuracy, mispicks, and misship rates. Look for trends. Strive for continuous improvement.
Armed with information, you can make well-informed, data-driven decisions on the most effective corrective actions for your misships.
Since warehouse workflows can be very complex, it’s easy to overlook areas where adjustments can be made. Tap into your frontline team’s hands-on experience with order shipping. Open communication and an honest willingness to listen and accept feedback do wonders to engage your workforce and get the best results—not just out of people, but the process as well.
Combined, metrics and employee feedback will help you adapt and refine your strategy to stay ahead of misships and boost accuracy.
Outsmarting Misshipments Once and For All
Misshipments can have a significant impact on your business and customers. Implementing best practices to prevent misships is essential. Look to improve processes through standardization, technology, and regular analysis. Proactively addressing accuracy issues at their root cause is the best way to reduce errors and elevate customer service in the pursuit of long-term success.
Supplied with this knowledge, we’re confident you can outsmart the troublesome misship and win customer loyalty with shipping perfection.