Considering that half of all businesses lose money on shipping, the place where they stand to lose the most is on rushed shipments. Whether you are a wholesaler shipping out to clients around the world or an office that makes specialty products, you’ll surely encounter issues with deadlines. Even if you have the best scheduling routine on the planet, urgent shipments come up.
When you realize it’s time to make urgent shipments, your next worry will probably be about cost. An inexpensive courier company might offer a great deal but you’ll also have to ensure that they can reliably deliver on your customers’ deadline.
You need to organize your thoughts and your workflow when you’ve got urgent shipments to make. Follow these 5 steps to ensure that your next rush orders arrive without the slightest hiccup.
1. Streamline Your Workflow
Before you get hit with a bunch of rush orders, you need to take a sober look at your shipping workflow. Every step of your ordering, picking, packing, and shipping process could probably use room for improvement. See which steps could be helped by automation and which might be hurt by it.
Measure efficiency not only in how many orders go out the door but also by how many orders are processed incorrectly. A slower process might be what works for you or it could disrupt your staff.
If you’re paying big money for rush shipping but also spending money to replace inaccurate orders, balance your sheets to see where you could make adjustments.
Ultimately, you want to make life easier for your team so that you can fulfill orders efficiently without mistakes. Urgent shipments that are also inaccurate will cost more than a shipment that arrives a day late with everything your customers expect to receive.
2. Make A Hierarchy of Urgency
If you’re inundated with 10 big shipments that need to go out 10 minutes ago, you need a way to measure which one gets top priority. A quick assessment of each customer’s profit potential, your history with them, and how much you’ve spent on that lead is very important.
While you might think you should prioritize a large order by a new customer than a small order from another customer, think again. A small order from a customer that cost you thousands to close with needs to be treated seriously. At the very least, you need to recoup the expenses you paid for getting that client.
There should also be products and promotions that take precedence over others. If you’ve just given a deep discount to 20 customers who need urgent shipments and a few that paid full price, put your full price customers first. When you get a big discount on an item, you’re more likely to chalk up a slower shipment as the price you pay for a great deal.
3. Understand The Services and Fees
Before you send out a bunch of heavy orders in a rush, take a look at the schedule of fees your delivery company charges. You might need to talk to someone from the accounting department to make sense of it, but it’s important to dissect everything.
You don’t want your shipper to be sneaking in some extra charges with your urgent shipments. If you have a tight budget, this can be a killer for your company. Make sure you also keep good records to compare.
You need to go with a shipping company that is clear about extra charges. Failing to account for them can destroy your bottom line. Get your shipping provider on the phone to see what they can offer and have them go through each fee line by line.
Working with a great courier means that you’ll know exactly what you’re getting with each itemized fee.
4. Pack Properly
While this might be a no-brainer, the way that you pack your shipments can have a big effect on cost for your company.
If you’re using expensive packing materials, see where you could be cutting corners. If you have a standard size of your products, you could get boxes that fit your products tightly, requiring fewer packing materials from you. If you’re using expensive packing peanuts or cushion materials, look into alternatives.
Don’t risk your products to save money, however. This will come back to bite you for sure. Poorly packed shipments will result in damaged items and returns.
You could end up losing thousands of dollars from returns per month, much more than an extra hundred in packing materials would cost. Run some tests so you know how much you can get away with.
5. Look At Your Own Quotes
Are you charging your customers enough for shipping? Shipping prices can be a huge turnoff for customers. Including shipping in the price of your product could be the way to offer free shipping and attract customers.
When it comes to urgent shipments, you can’t always include shipping or you might take a huge bite out of your profit margin. However, if you’ve already lowered standard shipping fees to zero, the difference in price might be acceptable to your clients. Run a few promotions to see what kind of effect free standard shipping has on your sales.
You might be surprised at how much of an edge free shipping can give you, even if the price of your products goes up.
Urgent Shipments Done Right Bring In Returns
If you come through for your customers at the 11th hour, you’ll build serious brand loyalty from them. Customers who feel like they can rely on you even when they’re under stress will stick with your company through thick and thin. Offer a steady stream or promotions and discounts and you could see big returns.
If you’re looking for other ways to build your customer base with a strong shipping program, contact us today.