How To Streamline Your Shipping


Streamlining can be a useful action across all areas of your business, from marketing to operations. Make sure you organize your streamlining efforts so processes and workflows experience as little interruption as possible. Here’s how to streamline your shipping.

Leverage Technology

There are many technological tools you can use to your advantage when you plan to streamline your business. You can use application programming interfaces (APIs) to build or integrate various software applications. If you’re planning to use APIs as part of an attempt to streamline shipping, you might use a shipping API, a tracking API and an address verification API, among others. Another popular set of streamlining tools at your disposal is automation technology. This technology includes robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and project management software.

Find Ways To Integrate Your Shipping Processes

One of the most important aspects of a streamlined shipping department is how well it is integrated with the rest of your business. If your supply chain is cut off from your ERP, finance department, CRM, manufacturing processes and daily operations workflows, then it isn’t going to be running in sync with any of them. This can reduce the efficiency of all your departments. You should make sure your company has one centralized location to integrate data and software.

Review Your Existing Shipping Infrastructure And Make Improvements

The first thing you need to do when you want to streamline your shipping is to review your existing strategies and infrastructure. Pay attention to how efficient your current systems are and where they can be improved. You should review the overall system and talk to employees who work closely with your shipping workflows to gain information on what to optimize. Once you do the initial review and adjust your procedures, you can do periodic follow-up reviews to check whether anything else needs to be changed, reworked or further refined.

Increase Operational Efficiency

To successfully streamline almost any part of your business, you first need to determine how to increase operational efficiency. This means you need to find the most effective ways to reduce costs without sacrificing accuracy and quality throughout your business. One of the easiest ways to do that is by providing tools that allow employees to automate the more repetitive parts of their jobs so they can focus on more creative and goal-oriented tasks. You should also seek ways to reduce duplicate data and data errors, such as automated data entry and storage processes.

Prioritize Organization And Communication

Organization and communication form the bedrock of successful streamlining. Make sure your warehouses and other supply chain centers are well-organized and stable. Employees should have easy access to schedules, procedure instructions and data centers. You should invest in tools such as warehouse management systems and inventory management software. These tools ensure you can keep accurate records of your stock and information on what is being shipped and where. You also need to make sure every employee involved in shipping is able to easily communicate with each other and with other departments.

Know What To Outsource And What To Keep In-house

In some cases, outsourcing your shipping may be the best option to streamline your supply chain. You can work with a vendor or business partner to ensure efficiency. Outsourcing can help your business save money. It can also allow you to free various resources you want to put toward other parts of your business. On the other hand, keeping existing workflows in-house or transitioning from outsourcing to in-house may make more sense for your business. For example, if you want to monitor all aspects of your shopping procedures, you should move them in-house.

Streamlining efforts will vary according to your business’s type and specific needs. Some streamlining tools, such as AI and automation, can be applied in some capacity almost universally. Others may only apply in very specific circumstances. It’s important to review your existing processes and workflows periodically to ensure your streamlining efforts progress as expected and are providing appropriate benefits.