box on assembly line

 

The shipping department, no matter how vital it is to warehouse operations, tends to be thought of as a more ‘internal’ area.

It makes sense—the shipping department tends to only deal in items on their way out of the warehouse without having to make contact with the customer or verify the order, as these steps should’ve been completed by the time it is the shipping area.

However, there are a few extra steps that any shipping department can take to ensure that the customer experience is well-thought-out, comprehensive, and leaves the customer wanting to come back for their next order. Sometimes it’s even the little things that can make all the difference when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention, and the shipping department can be a great place for those finishing touches before an order goes out:

 

Quality checking

Even if the order has already been picked, the shipping department is the last chance the items have to be packed correctly and safely. In the shipping department, make sure your staff is keeping an eye on quality and consistency to prevent damage during transit or mishandling on the way. Use the same packing material for every shipment and keep boxes a uniform size except where really needed.

 

Quantity checking

Similarly, you need to use this final step to ensure every item is included. Check the physical on-hand items against the order receipts or printed slip (as most warehouses still use printed order forms to include with the shipments, no matter how digitized the rest of your process is). Are your orders correct before they go out? Are there nearby pallet racks or warehouse shelves that can keep extra items nearby in case something still needs to be picked or replaced? Can your shipping department easily communicate with your item pickers to ensure everything is there as needed?

 

Uniform packing to reduce damage

We know items arriving safely on time is the goal of any mail-order warehouse, but the shipping department can still go a long way to help reach these goals. Make sure all packing procedures are outlined at a company-wide level and followed to the letter to ensure consistency and product safety no matter how big or small the order may be.

 

Personal touches

Finally, a great way to gain and maintain mindshare among customers is to throw in small, personal touches to every order. From small, handwritten thank-you notes from the people at the shipping department to a mass-printed thank you letter, or even a printed catalog, including these small touches with each order is a great way to keep your customer base happy and help them remember you for next time.

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