If you’re like many other business owners, shipping is a critical component of the operational side of your venture and something that can cause many headaches and worries throughout the year, not to mention costs.
Such issues can increase exponentially if you make some rookie errors with your shipping choices. As such, it pays to understand the common mistakes entrepreneurs make with their logistics, so you can avoid going down the same path.
Not Packaging Items Correctly
One of the most vital parts of shipping goods safely and cost-effectively is packing them correctly, so they stay intact during transit. Unfortunately, though, this is something that many businesses don’t invest enough into. You may be trying to save time and money by getting goods packed and sent off ASAP, but in the long run, it will cost you more if you don’t ensure every item is adequately packaged. The last thing you want is products being damaged in transit or spoiling or looking unappealing upon arrival.
You should use boxes, satchels, and other packaging materials that are the right size for what’s being transported and protection-suitable, too. Depending on what you’re moving, you may need to outlay extra for more extensive packaging options, such as a temperature indicator to alert shippers and other handlers to items getting above or below the ideal temperature.
Incorrect or Incomplete Paperwork
Sending parcels off with incorrect or incomplete paperwork is another common mistake to avoid. In particular, pay attention to delivery address information. It’s vital to note the correct address so items don’t get lost in transit or kept by people they weren’t meant to be sent to.
Plus, you don’t want to annoy customers by failing to deliver on time due to clerical errors or have to pay to get another product sent off to them. Also, even if the address is correct, you could run into problems if it isn’t legible. As such, it’s wise to use printed labels of some kind to reduce the risk of addresses being misread.
Another piece of paperwork to concentrate on correctly completing is the bill of lading (BOL). This document acts as the receipt for a parcel during shipments. It features information about the goods, such as the shipment date, the name and address of both the shipper and receiver, the number of packages, the carrier’s name, and tracking numbers.
Other items included are a list of what’s being transported, the value of the cargo, any specific handling requirements for the pieces, the origin and destination of the freight, its weight and volume, plus the cargo’s freight class. If inaccuracies show up in this paperwork or if it’s not completed correctly, there could be significant issues.
Zero or Not Enough Insurance
We all cross our fingers and hope that none of our parcels go missing or get damaged in transit, but this is bound to happen sometime when you ship a lot of goods. As such, don’t make the mistake of not taking out any or enough insurance to cover the value of items if something happens to them during shipment.
Don’t assume that the cost you pay to send goods, even a full truckload or container of them will include insurance. Sometimes it can, but generally, you need to take out additional coverage, particularly if you want the total value of products to be factored in. Be careful not to underinsure, too.
Failing to Provide Customers with Shipping Options
If you want to keep consumers happy, steer clear of the error of not providing them with enough shipping options. You may want to make life easier for yourself and cut costs, but you’ll do your company a disservice if you don’t make more than one freight selection possible for clients.
The most vital option to make available is expedited shipping. People often want goods to arrive the day after they order them or even on the same day or within an hour or two if goods are coming from somewhere in the same city. If you’re not making an express shipping process something people can pay extra for, you’re not operating in the most strategic way possible. You may also want to offer refrigerated shipping or logistics to handle oversized or dangerous items.
Other errors in judgment regarding shipping include not following state or national regulations, relying only on a single logistics firm, and estimating costs rather than obtaining accurate pricing. Some people also fail to do enough research on shippers and don’t renegotiate terms with transporters occasionally.
There are plenty of excellent tech tools that can help automate and streamline shipping processes and reduce errors, too, so you’re making a further mistake if you don’t utilize such programs.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about and handle relating to shipping. Avoid the issues mentioned above, and save yourself time, money, and stress.