Warehouse Shipping Operations 101

Shipping is one of the most important processes handled by a warehouse because it moves a product from a client to a customer. While it might seem like a straightforward process, shipping is actually a complex series of steps that need to be performed perfectly to ensure orders get to where they need to be on time, in good condition and according to the client’s wants and needs.

This guide offers an understanding of the shipping process steps and some common issues that warehouses must consider in shipping operations.

LeHigh Valley West

Preparing Warehouse Shipments

Before a product can be shipped, several things need to be addressed. Most important is determining the type of shipping materials best suited for the shipment. Knowing what you will ship in advance is crucial in order to have the appropriate shipping materials on hand.

When it comes to preparing a shipment, there’s a big difference between shipping something in a box, in an envelope or on a pallet. 

Warehouse Shipping Steps

There are three basic shipping process steps used in a warehouse or distribution center:

  • Aggregate and manage order information
  • Pick, pack, weigh, choose carrier and label
  • Ship the order

Aggregate and manage order information: This step involves getting the order information, validating addresses, confirming inventory availability, combining orders going to the same address (or separating orders going to different addresses) and preparing the order for shipment.

Pick, pack, weigh, choose carrier and label: This is the process of picking and packing the products ordered, weighing the shipment, choosing the right carrier and labeling the package for delivery to the end customer’s address.

Ship the order: Shipping involves transferring the package to the selected carrier and updating the shipping information to all parties.

Common Shipping Issues

In the process of shipping orders, several potential issues can arise and derail a warehouse’s efficiency:

  • Inventory shortages
  • Storage and retrieval inefficiencies
  • Cost-related problems
  • Human errors
  • Health and safety hazards
  • Warehouse layout issues

Each issue has a solution. For example, to avoid inventory shortages, a warehouse needs to have a system that promotes constant checking and updating of inventory in real time.

If storage and retrieval inefficiencies are a problem, a warehouse may need additional workers or more reliable equipment. Using robotics and automation can also help improve accuracy, reduce human error and eliminate labor shortages.

To solve cost-related problems, shippers need to research all possible shipping methods and the associated costs. Transportation costs are always in flux, so it’s important to stay up to date to ensure you get the best value.

Warehouse layout issues and health and safety hazards go hand in hand. If your warehouse space isn’t allocated properly, it will have a negative impact on the fluidity of your shipping process. Keeping things clean, organized and clearly labeled also goes a long way to making a warehouse a safer place to work.

With warehousing best practices in mind, implementation and routine review, you can improve the performance of your warehouse shipping operations dramatically.