August 27 2013
In every company there are a number of processes that need to be re-evaluated frequently to make sure they are still the most cost effective and efficient way to complete the required tasks. This includes everything from making sure the IT infrastructure can handle the devices that are connecting to it to keeping every employee on the same page when it comes to information sharing.
One of the hardest systems to handle is shipping, at least that is the feeling of Alan Nicol - an executive member of Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine. In a recent column, Nicol wrote about the "one business process" that is too wasteful and difficult to fix.
"I'm sure each of us has ordered something from a manufacturer, supplier, or on-line retailer and been surprised either by the seemingly exorbitant shipping fee, or by the oddly oversized, over-packaged box in which our items arrived," Nicol wrote. "Have you ever gone a step further than shaking your head and shrugging your shoulders? Have you ever investigated the shipping fee?"
He went on to talk about some examples of times when he has looked into these questions and the reasons behind the expensive and inefficient shipping. The dock is not an easy problem to solve as there are several different factors that need to be considered when it comes to optimizing the packing and delivering of an order.
First off, there is a difference between bulk shipping and sending out individual orders. Companies are able to save on packing materials when it comes to sending out multiple pieces on one pallet, but without the right sized boxes, more materials are needed to fill the empty space that exists when a product in an individual order is shipped.
The next issue involves budgeting. In many instances, organizations have trouble managing all of the materials that are needed to handle the logistical challenges that come along with shipping multiple different products from a single warehouse.
Next up is getting things from point A to point B. There are many different ways for this to be done but not every package needs to be sent the same way. For example, if your company is located in Ohio, it may be easier to partner with a local delivery service that can pick up and deliver same day instead of relying on a larger company that may take longer to deliver the package.
The final problem is understanding that no problem is unsolvable. While it may seem impossible to re-evaluate a massive process like shipping, it is doable with the right attitude and some hard work.
"Don't accept that a process problem cannot be solved," Nicol wrote. "If it causes pain, it is a problem. Any problem can be mitigated or improved upon if we take the time and effort to really understand it and address what we can control. Sometimes, we just need to change the rules so that something we don't control becomes something we can."
Trying to manage the shipping process can clearly be complicated. However, by partnering with a local logistics and supply chain company, any organization can start answering the problems that are created by shipping.