Shipping and best practices

Shipping: Best Practices to Always Consider

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Adaora Nnene

Regardless of the size, most businesses around the world have shipping needs. There will always be the need to move finished products from the manufacturing centre to the warehouses and from warehouses to distributors or retailers across the globe.

However, the complex nature of the ever-changing shipping processes makes it difficult for shippers, especially new entrants, to understand, and as a result, errors and lack of adherence to shipping standards become everyday occurrences.

Irrespective of the size of the business, small and startup, medium scale or large and established, shipping can be a determinant factor to the growth and success of that business.

Most business owners concentrate primarily on marketing and creating brand awareness as the only way of growing the business, thereby neglecting the role that shipping plays in the growth, financial stability, and overall survival of a business.

As another business year begins, adherence to shipping standards and best practices is an excellent way to ensure your business survives and remains afloat in our world's rigorous and dynamic economic ecosystem.

Whether involved in ocean freight, air freight, rail freight, expedited shipping, flat-rate shipping, full truckload, or less than truckload, consider these best practices for profitable and successful shipping:

1. Plan And Strategize:

Nothing works without adequate planning and practical strategies to bring those plans to fruition. For a successful and profitable shipping experience, it is essential to plan and come up with shipping strategies in line with the shipping regulations of the countries of origin and destination and simultaneously align with the goal of your business. In planning, consider shipping rates, shipping options, packaging options, delivery time, customer needs, and overall business growth.

2. Partner With Experienced Shipping Partners:

Working with experienced shipping partners that offer quality services takes away loads of stress from shippers, as the company will be responsible for the documentation and all the rigorous processes involved in shipping.

However, it is necessary to understand the different types of services offered by the provider to ensure that they align with the goals of your business.

3. Use Of Sturdy Bases For Shipping:

Ensure your partners know the importance of a sturdy and even base for safe shipping. Using timber bases or timber pallets is advisable to promote safe freight transportation. A sturdy base provides a stable and even surface for stacking and securing cargo; this way, the weight will be distributed, and the risk of product damage while in transit will be reduced immensely, especially for fragile and heavy goods.

Also, using sturdy bases acts as a barrier between the cargo and the floor, thereby protecting the cargo against moisture, dirt, contamination, and, ultimately, damage. It also makes loading, stacking, and unloading goods easier, especially when loading or unloading with a forklift.

However, it is important to consult experts and your manufacturer to know the most suitable material for your goods, as shipping base regulations differ between industries.

4. Proper Packaging:

The possibility of cargo shifting or crashing against each other during shipping is very likely, which is a significant cause of damage to goods. Therefore, partner with your supplier to ensure that your goods are correctly packaged with the right sized and good quality packaging material for the safety of your goods.

To this effect, the standard best practices include:
  • Choosing the correct packaging box: consider the box's size, material, strength, and nature before choosing it.
  • Wrapping items individually: fragile or hazardous goods should be wrapped separately to avoid breakage or chemical reactions that may occur when items clash while in transit.
  • Ensure that boxes are securely sealed with durable packaging tape and adhesive materials. If need be, it should be sealed twice for safety.
  • Utilise void-fill materials like air pillows, packaging peanuts, foam, or soft paper to fill the empty spaces inside the box to secure the product and keep it from shifting or moving while in transit.
  • Place extra padding to secure the corners and edges.

5. Proper Labelling:

Goods can be mishandled, damaged, or even shipped to the wrong destination due to improper labelling. Improper labelling considerably slows the shipping process due to inadequate shipping information, which is part and parcel of a shipping label.

Therefore, every box with names, company information, handling instructions, and contact details should be boldly marked. 

To ensure that best practices are followed:
  • Utilise durable shipping labels.
  • All information on the label should be clear and include the origin and destination address, just for possible returns, contact information of the receiver, and handling instructions for the benefit of those who will handle the cargo.
  • Attach the labels securely on all sides of the package.
  • When shipping hazardous goods, comply with the appropriate regulations and include necessary labels as required by the shipping carrier and local authorities.
  • Include barcodes and tracking numbers on the label to ensure efficient tracking and monitoring of goods in transit.

6. Effective Communication:

Effective communication is necessary for smooth and efficient shipping operations, timely shipping, and customer satisfaction. With adequate communication, every party involved with the shipping process, like suppliers, shippers, carriers, and handlers, is appropriately informed and knows what to do at every stage.

With effective communication, problems are quickly identified and resolved, and expectations are appropriately managed, reducing disruption to the supply chain. In addition, effective communication facilitates quick problem identification and resolution. 

For effective communication to be possible, certain best practices should be followed:
  • There should be an established communication channel accessible by every party to the shipping process, like email, phone, social media groups, etc.
  • Information should be shared clearly and concisely so everyone will understand the message.
  • Effective communication is a two-way process. Therefore, there should be a timeline for responses or feedback for every information passed to avoid delay.
  • There should be timely sharing of shipping documents like bills of lading, receipts, and customs documents.
  • Shipping labels should contain all the information that needs to be there.
With the movement of goods from the manufacturing plants to the warehouses or from the warehouses to the distributors, retailers, or final consumers, the supply chain process will be complete, and that is a role that freight shipping plays in the supply chain process.

While performing this function of the supply chain process, it is essential to observe the best practices to avoid disruption, delay, or loss of goods, and a good way to ensure this is by partnering with an experienced shipping partner like SARA PROCUREMENT SERVICES LIMITED. 

Visit our physical office space at 3 Fatai Irawo Street, Ajao Estate, Airport Road, Lagos, Nigeria, or any of our warehouse touch point locations worldwide to learn more about us and utilise our services. 

Our 247-email correspondence is hello@chinatolagos.com. Contact us today.

We are equally social, and you can find us @SaraProcure on your favourite channels: Twitter, Threads, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Adaora Nnene


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