Do you often have trouble finding your packing tape? Or maybe you keep running out of the medium sized boxes, noticing too late that you’ve used them all. If you have a product based business, then you probably package and ship a lot of parcels. The last thing you need is to waste time trying to find or restock your shipping supplies. That’s why you need a shipping station.
What is a Shipping Station?
When you hear the word shipping station, you may think of a drop shipping company with machines and conveyor belts. However… A small business shipping station is simply an organized system you use to efficiently package your orders and easily keep track of the supplies you need to stock up on.
How to Set Up Your Shipping Station
Step 1: Write down all the steps.
To make a shipping station efficient, you need to know every step you take from receiving an order through handing it over to your postal service. Do a practice run with your most frequent order type so you don’t skip a step. Your process may look something like this:
Gather the items from the order.
Prepare the right size box or mailer.
Add padding or wrapping to the item.
Write & insert a “thank you” note.
Add the order receipt and return/refund policies.
Seal the package.
Weigh the package.
Print the shipping label and add it to the package.
Drop it off or schedule a pick up with your postal service.
How it Saves You Time: When our to-do lists are full and time is short, it is easy to forget a step. The more we forget, the more time we waste going back to fix it. Avoid this by creating an order fulfillment workflow to keep you on track even when you're busy.
Step 2: Organize & stock up.
Find a place to keep and organize all your shipping supplies. This could be a desk, shelving unit, or stackable bins. If you need ideas, these are some of my favorites on Pinterest.
Work right to left, top to bottom, or counter clockwise.
Find a direction that works best for you and organize your supplies in the order you use them during the packaging process from step one. This will help you save time and make it easier to not skip an important step.
(Maybe if you work counter clockwise you can slow Time down. I’m not a time expert though, so you’d have to ask The Doctor.)
Stock your shipping station.
Once all your shipping supplies are organized take a moment to inventory. Are you running low on biodegradable tape? Do you need more branded notecards? What about ink for your printer? Make a list, & stock up on all the items you need.
How it Saves You Time: Running out of supplies or misplacing them puts a halt to packaging your customer orders. This made even worse during your busy season. With an organized station you can keep track of your supplies and purchase more before you run out.
Step 3: Get ahead of the rush.
Make not of your busy seasons and get ahead of the rush. Take a look at your order fulfillment list from step one figure out which steps you can complete now to save time later.
Can you pre-package popular orders?
If there is a popular order set, consider pre-packaging some. Leave them unsealed so you can add a handwritten note & the receipt or return instructions.
Can you write "thank you" notes now?
Thanking your customers with a handwritten note is a nice gesture that customers appreciate. However, it can take up a lot of time during a rush. Consider writing your "thank you" notes before the rush. Then, during the packaging process, write the customer’s name at the top of the note, and add it to their order.
How it Saves You Time: Packaging your orders and writing notes takes the same time to do now as it does when you are busy. However, when you are already pressed for time, having these things already done can be the difference of being on track, or getting behind.
Get a Custom Shipping System
Want to have an efficient shipping system that fits your small business and matches your brand goals? Book a Free Design Call to talk about your project.