Automation is becoming a necessary tool in countless industries, including shipping and packaging. However, implementing new technology is always easier said than done. Investing in the wrong resources or mishandling the transition can lead to costly mistakes, frustrated employees, and unsatisfied clients.
When it’s time to adopt automated shipping operations in your business, make sure you do it right. Handling the change responsibly helps you make the most of your investment and set yourself up for a successful future. Learn more with these expert tips for transitioning to automated shipping operations.
What Is Automated Shipping?
If you’re going to implement automation in your shipping processes, you need to first understand what automated shipping is and how it affects your business. Automated shipping refers to countless tools and resources that can help you streamline order fulfillment, packaging, transportation, and more. By handing certain tasks over to an automated system, you can streamline processes and create a more efficient, accurate, and successful operation.
Automated shipping can refer to both all-encompassing networks and individual tools. The types of automated solutions you choose will depend on what your business needs. The following are just a few examples of popular automated shipping tools and what they can do for your business:
Organize Priority Orders
Using color coding or other organizational systems to keep track of priority orders can be extremely helpful in delivering orders on time and improving customer satisfaction. Automated shipping tools that immediately organize tasks to prioritize expedited shipping or other high-priority orders help your team stay on top of an ever-changing to-do list. This makes it easier to comply with expected delivery times. Moreover, an accurate, automatically updated priority list helps you avoid missing, late, or unfulfilled orders that can lead to a loss in sales and poor customer reviews.
Assign Orders to Specific Users
The larger your warehouse network is, the easier it is to lose orders somewhere along the way. One invaluable automated shipping tool is order assignment, which automatically gives specific orders to a user. This helps send orders to the closest warehouse for quicker shipping times. You can also use this tool to evenly distribute work and resources so all of your warehouses can continue to operate smoothly and without delay.
Easily Implement Seasonal-Specific Processes
Automated shipping processes are also a boon during holidays and other busy seasons. Tools like automatically generated shipment notifications that promote seasonal deals or unique packing slips that hide pricing and other information on gift orders let you easily adjust your processes for the holidays. While these processes might seem small, they have a meaningful impact on your customers.
Start By Identifying Growth Goals
There are several tools you can use to implement automated shipping procedures in your warehouse. How do you decide which programs and equipment are worth the investment? The first step is to identify both short- and long-term goals for the future of your business. How do you want to grow in the coming years? What do you need to accomplish to achieve that growth?
Your short-term goals should revolve around the growth you’re seeing now. This is the chance to adjust to increasing demands, company restructures, and other current obstacles. However, you also need to think about long-term changes. Which tools do you need to maintain your bottom line as you continue to expand? How can your investments help scale your business so you continue to benefit from your automated solutions in the years to come? Short- and long-term goals will help give you an idea of which processes you need to change, how much you can invest, and what you want the future to look like for your business.
Understand Your Unique Business Needs
Every business is different, which means every business needs different automated solutions to make the most of its workflow. Once you have specific goals for growth in place, you must analyze your current operations to look for specific opportunities for automation.
Think about the types of products you produce. How fast are your production times? How do you package products and prepare them for shipment? How quickly do your orders need to ship? Questions like these help you identify specific areas for improvement. With this information, you can start to look for automated solutions that address your unique business needs.
Identify Your Biggest Areas of Opportunity
When choosing where to start implementing automation, it’s important to opt for solutions that will generate the greatest return. One major area of opportunity is manual processes. Swapping out manual-intensive processes for automated solutions is a great way to save time, labor, and material costs. The significant increase in efficiency, accuracy, safety, and cost-effectiveness helps you start your transition with the most effective and profitable solutions possible.
A few manual processes to look for are packing, palletizing, and pallet wrapping. For example, a case packer machine can pack products into boxes or trays faster and more accurately than employees can with manual labor. Similarly, manually stacking products on a pallet is repetitive, physically strenuous work you can streamline with an automatic palletizer machine. Finally, an automatic or semi-automatic stretch wrapper machine wraps pallets more securely and in less time than even the best employees can achieve. By targeting these manual labor tasks and replacing them with stronger, faster, and more accurate equipment, you can start your successful shift toward automatic solutions.
Keep Employees in the Loop
Automation reduces labor costs, which can be great for combatting labor shortages in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the employees you do have. Switching to automation is a major change for everyone in the company, and it’s important to ensure everyone has the information and support they need to make the most of the transition.
One of the biggest tips for transitioning to automated shipping operations is to stay connected with your employees throughout the process. Keeping them up to date on decisions and upcoming changes helps ease the transition. This also preserves employee morale and keeps your team motivated and productive during this period of change.
Choose Cutting-Edge Solutions From Reliable Suppliers
Making sure you have the right equipment, software, and resources helps ensure a smooth transition as you start to adopt more automated solutions in your warehouse. That’s why it’s important to work with trusted suppliers who can guide you to the ideal equipment choices for your business.
At Robopac USA, our expert team is here to help you find optimized solutions that effectively address your unique business needs. Visit us today to learn more about our automatic secondary packaging equipment and see how the right innovations can transform your business.