How to Automate the Shipping Process
- Written by Ziggy Masterman
As e-commerce continues to grow, you need to find ways to optimize your shipping processes in order to scale and keep up with customer demands.
One solution is to automate the shipping process.
Automation can help you save time, reduce errors, and increase efficiency. In this post, we'll explore the six most effective ways you can automate the shipping process.
Table of Contents
Automated picking, packing and labeling
Automated inventory management
Shipping carrier integrations
The future of shipping automation
Automation can help businesses scale
1. Shipping software
Shipping software is a popular solution for automating the shipping process. There are many software solutions available, including Veeqo, ShipStation, ShipBob, and Shippo.
Further reading: How to Choose the Best Shipping Software for Your Business
These shipping software solutions can automate label printing, order tracking, and carrier selection.
They can also integrate with ecommerce platforms and marketplaces to simplify the shipping process, and some offer discounted shipping rates.
Veeqo is particularly handy if you sell on Amazon, as Veeqo is owned by Amazon, meaning you get benefits such as fully automated integration, Buy Shipping integration, 100% valid tracking on all labels you purchase, and negative feedback suppression related to late deliveries.
Veeqo also integrates with other popular marketplaces, such as Shopify, eBay, and Etsy, and provides both shipping and inventory management automation.
Here are four of the best ways to automate shipping using shipping software:
Shipping software can help you process a large number of orders quickly and efficiently through batch processing.
Batch processing allows you to process multiple orders at once, which can save time and reduce errors. For example, Veeqo allows you to batch process up to 100 orders at once.
Shipping carrier Integration
Shipping software can integrate with shipping carriers, such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
By integrating with carriers, you can access shipping carrier rates and shipping labels directly from the software, which can save time and reduce errors.
Shipping software can automatically validate your shipping addresses to ensure that the correct address is entered for each order.
Address validation can help reduce shipping errors and improve shipping efficiency.
Shipping software can provide real-time tracking information for each order. By providing tracking information to customers, you can improve customer satisfaction and reduce customer inquiries.
2. Automated picking, packing and labeling
Automated picking, packing and labeling machines, such as the Veeqo scanner and free mobile picking app, can help you save bags of time and reduce errors.
Getting your warehouse’s pack and pick process right can make or break your warehouse process, so these handy shipping software features and easy-to-use machines to help you pick, pack and label are worth their weight in gold.
They essentially allow you to pick, pack and label products automatically, ensuring that each order is packed and labeled correctly.
Automated packing and labeling can also help you optimize your warehouse space and reduce shipping costs.
Here are three ways to use automated picking, packing, and labeling systems:
Automated Picking & Packing
Automated picking & packing systems use robots or other automated equipment to pick items from shelves, and then pack the items into boxes or other shipping containers.
By using automated picking and packing systems, you can reduce the time and labor required to pick and pack items.
Automated picking & packing systems can also be more accurate than manual picking, reducing errors and improving order accuracy.
Automated labeling systems use machines to print and apply shipping labels to packages or pallets.
By using automated labeling systems, you can reduce the time and labor required to label packages for shipping.
Conveyor systems can be used to automate the process of moving items from picking and packing stations to shipping areas.
By using conveyor systems, you can reduce the time and labor required to move items through the shipping process.
Conveyor systems can also be used to optimize the flow of items through the shipping process, reducing transit times and improving efficiency.
3. Warehouse automation
As well as automating your picking & packing, full Warehouse automation can help speed up the process of picking and packing orders even more, as well as reduce errors and improve efficiency.
Here are the best ways to automate your warehouse operations:
Automated warehouse management systems
Automating your warehouse management systems with a warehouse management software like Veeqo, is a technology solution that can help with efficiencies and cost-saving.
Automated warehouse management software can help you optimize your inventory levels, reduce transit times, and increase efficiency across your business.
Further reading: Choosing the Right Warehouse Management Software
Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)
ASRS can help businesses automate the storage and retrieval of goods within the warehouse.
ASRS can be used to store and retrieve goods quickly and efficiently, which can save time and reduce errors.
Some warehouse management software, including Veeqo, offer digital picking via a mobile app (and ours is free - just like the entire software system!)
This helps you pick, pack and ship every order faster so you can meet tight carrier cut offs and organize your warehouse.
4. Automated inventory management
Automated inventory management is another important part of the shipping process. It can help businesses keep track of their inventory levels, reduce the risk of stockouts, and improve order fulfillment times.
If you’re with Veeqo, it automatically updates your stock across all your warehouses and storefronts. It’s the easiest, most efficient way to manage your inventory.
And just like our other features, our inventory management software is completely free.
Here are four ways to automate inventory management:
Barcoding scanning can help you track your inventory levels in real-time.
By having a barcode inventory system in place and scanning barcodes, you can easily update your inventory records and identify items that need to be restocked.
Barcoding scanning can be used in conjunction with other automation technologies, such as conveyor systems and robots.
RFID tags are another way to track inventory in real-time. RFID tags can be attached to individual products or shipping containers, and can be read by RFID readers.
RFID technology can help you reduce the time and labor required for inventory management, as well as improve inventory accuracy.
Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software like Veeqo can help with automating the inventory management process.
These software solutions can track inventory levels, generate purchase orders, and provide real-time inventory reports.
Inventory management software can also integrate with other automation technologies, such as shipping software and warehouse automation.
Further reading: How to Choose an Inventory Management Software
Demand forecasting can predict future inventory needs based on past sales data and other factors.
By automating the demand forecasting process, you can reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocking.
Demand forecasting can also be used in conjunction with other inventory management technologies, such as barcode scanning and inventory management software.
5. Shipping carrier integrations
Many of the shipping and inventory management softwares have integrations with shipping ncarriers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS.
These integrations can help automate the shipping process by automatically retrieving shipping rates, creating shipping labels, and updating tracking information.
With Veeqo, you also get discounted shipping labels with certain carriers.
Shipping integrations can also help you reduce shipping costs through these discounted labels, and improve customer satisfaction.
Further reading: Benefits of Using Veeqo for USPS Shipping
Here are some ways to automate carrier-related operations using carrier integration:
Carrier integration software can generate shipping labels automatically based on the order information.
This can save time and reduce errors by eliminating the need to manually enter shipping label information.
The software can also provide real-time tracking information for each order. This allows you to monitor your shipments in real-time and make adjustments as needed.
In addition, you can access carrier rates automatically and calculate the cost of shipping for each order. This can help you save money by selecting the most cost-effective shipping method.
A really cool feature of using one of these software companies is that you can even select the best carrier based on factors such as shipping speed, cost, and reliability.
This can help you make informed decisions about which carrier to use for each order.
6. IoT devices
To reduce the risk of errors and get more accurate data, Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors and RFID tags can be used to track inventory and shipments in real-time.
IoT devices can also help you optimize your inventory management and reduce the risk of stockouts.
Further reading: 6 Technologies About to Seriously Shake Up Ecommerce Delivery
Here are five ways to use IoT devices to automate the shipping process:
IoT devices can be used to track shipments in real-time. By attaching a small IoT device to each package or pallet, you can monitor the location and status of each shipment in real-time.
This can help you optimize shipping routes, reduce shipping times, and improve customer satisfaction.
Temperature and Humidity Monitoring
Some products, such as perishable food or medical supplies, require specific temperature and humidity conditions during shipping.
IoT devices can also be used to monitor temperature and humidity levels in real-time and alert businesses if conditions fall outside of acceptable ranges.
This can help you prevent product spoilage and ensure that products arrive at their destination in good condition.
By attaching an IoT device to each item in inventory, businesses can track the location and quantity of each item in real-time.
This can help you optimize inventory levels, reduce waste, and prevent further stockouts.
In addition, IoT devices can be used to monitor the condition of shipping vehicles and equipment in real-time.
By analyzing data from sensors and other sources, you can predict when maintenance will be required and schedule maintenance proactively, helping to reduce downtime and improve the reliability of shipping operations.
Supply Chain Optimization
IoT devices can also be used to optimize the supply chain. By collecting data from multiple sources, including shipping vehicles, warehouses, and suppliers, you can then optimize shipping routes, reduce transit times, and improve overall supply chain efficiency.
This can help you reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive advantage.
7. The future of shipping automation: Autonomous vehicles
When it comes to the future of shipping automation, autonomous vehicles are what’s on most people’s minds.
Amazon, Google, and FedEx have all been testing various automated vehicles over the past few years, from drones to last-mile delivery robots, and of course autonomous trains, trucks and cars.
In some cases, autonomous vehicles could be used to automate the delivery process, with the aim of them being to help you reduce the cost of last-mile delivery and improve delivery times. They could also help shipping become more sustainable by helping to cut carbon emissions.
However, with this technology still pretty new, we’re a good few years away from this becoming a popular part of the automated shipping process.
Automation can help businesses scale
Automation can help you optimize your shipping processes and improve customer satisfaction, which can lead to faster growth.
Whilst there are many ways to automate the shipping process, you should consider your specific needs and the available technologies when choosing the best shipping automation solution for your needs.
Veeqo offers a fully automated all-in-one software solution, which allows you to manage your shipping, inventory, and warehouse in one place. It’s also free, and being owned by Amazon means it’s ideal for sellers who sell through Amazon and other marketplaces.
Sign-up today and try us out, or book a demo with one of our ecommerce experts to see if Veeqo is right for your business.