Your supply chain has many moving parts. If something goes wrong, even in the smallest stages, it can have a big impact on your overall efficiency and success. That’s why business owners must pay close attention to their shipping practices and stay on top of any mistakes, inefficiencies, or other obstacles that are holding back workflow.

Knowing your way around the common commercial shipping mistakes to avoid gives you a great place to start when improving your system. Keep an eye out for these common problems and find ways to eliminate them, so you can deliver products with better speed, safety, and accuracy.

Improper Labeling

Some of the biggest supply chain holdups stem from seemingly simple mistakes. This is why you must be careful even with the basic stages of your shipping process. Following proper labeling practices might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s the key to ensuring you always send freight where it’s meant to go.

Some best practices for proper labeling include using automation to eliminate human errors and double-checking information before the load leaves your facility. Be sure to pay special attention to special shipments—such as hazardous materials—that need additional shipping information.

Don’t neglect your Bill of Lading (BOL) either. This legal document provides necessary information for carriers, drivers, and anyone else who helps deliver your shipment to its destination. Your BOL should include details about the contents, weight, value, and packaging of the shipment. It should also include the shipping date and carrier instructions to ensure smooth delivery, along with other relevant information about the shipment.

Being careful with the BOL and other shipping labels and information will help you avoid shipping mistakes, delays, and costly fees that stem from improper labeling.

Cutting Corners on Packaging

Packaging serves as a line of defense between your products and the hazards they face throughout the supply chain. Whether you’re keeping fragile products safe and secure or preventing dust, wind, and other elements from harming your goods, you must implement packaging processes you can rely on.

When evaluating your current packaging processes, pay attention to case size and shape. Oversized packaging gives products room to shift around as they move, increasing the risk of broken products. Also, excess packaging wastes materials and leads to heavier freight that costs more to ship. On the other hand, packaging that is too small or too thin doesn’t offer the protection your products need as they move through the supply chain.

By choosing cases and other solutions that accommodate the unique size and shape of your product, you invest in high-quality packaging that cushions and stabilizes your goods. This minimizes product damage, improves safety for carriers and other employees in the supply chain, and ensures customers receive their products in pristine condition.

Incorrect Weight Listing

Your freight’s weight class determines the cost of shipping. It can be tempting to list your shipment at a lower weight to save money, but this is one of the more common commercial shipping mistakes to avoid. If a shipment weighs more than you’ve listed it as, carriers must reclassify it as the correct weight class to ship it properly. In addition to slowing down the shipping process, you will have to pay reclassification fees. These fees will cost your company more money than it would have been to ship it correctly in the first place.

So don’t skimp on freight shipments. Invest in a turntable stretch wrapper that allows you to wrap and weigh the pallet at the same time. This saves valuable floor space and ensures your pallets are weighed accurately. This will also help you correctly classify shipments and avoid hassle throughout the supply chain. Additionally, weighing pallets yourself helps you identify discrepancies in weight and costs down the line.

Declining Freight Insurance

Not insuring your shipments saves you money up front, but it can cost you way more in the long run. Even with a great team, cutting-edge technology, and a successful shipping workflow, you’re still going to run into problems occasionally. When accidents like product damage or lost shipments occur, freight insurance helps you correct the issue without losing a lot of money.

Insurance becomes even more valuable when you handle a large volume of orders or ship products over long distances. The more your business grows and the more products you ship, the more important it is to cover your freight with a good insurance plan.

Inefficient Warehouse Layouts

Whether you’re short on storage space or dealing with crammed workplaces, a cramped warehouse will never allow your business to reach its full potential. Using your space efficiently makes it easier to organize your inventory, access products as necessary, and handle materials and goods without accidents or mix-ups.

Are you unsure how to start improving your layout? There are several tips you can use, including the following:

  • Take advantage of vertical space.
  • Use portable equipment solutions like robot pallet wrappers or automated guided vehicles.
  • Consolidate certain steps—such as weighing and wrapping—into a singular stage.

Using Manual Palletizing

Manual labor is inconsistent compared to automated solutions. Even small mistakes like misaligned layers or unbalanced loads can lead to products shifting on the pallet. Instead of relying on manual labor and the inconsistencies it comes with, use an automatic palletizing system to properly and consistently palletize your products.

In addition to eliminating human error, automatic palletizers streamline your process and create more secure loads with machine precision. You can even invest in a model with concurrent stretch wrapping to stack and stretch wrap loads at the same time. This consolidates two crucial packaging stages and creates loads with greater efficiency, accuracy, and stability.

Furthermore, automatic palletizers free up your employees to focus on more skilled work. This gives you more flexibility with your team and increases employee satisfaction by reducing repetitive and physically strenuous tasks.

Robopac USA can help you avoid common shipping mistakes and find greater success for your supply chain. Learn more about our secondary packaging equipment options and find optimized solutions that help speed up your processes while reducing costly errors. Not sure where to start? Visit Robopac USA today and let our expert team guide you in finding the ideal packaging solution for your business.

Common Commercial Shipping Mistakes To Avoid