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Mis-shipment: How can companies avoid the pitfalls of delivery failures?

For maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring stable profitability, it’s crucial for online businesses to accurately ship products and deliver them to customers in a timely manner. However, despite all efforts, delivery mishaps do occur at times. These incidents lead to unnecessary stress and inconvenience for both the buyer and the company.

Anyone who has encountered a mis-shipment understands well how it can impact a business. The expenses incurred to compensate for incorrectly shipped goods or to resend the correct items fall on the shoulders of the company. Furthermore, when it comes to delivery quality, online consumers are not willing to tolerate mistakes. Around 85% of customers are unwilling to return to a retailer after one bad experience.

The best way to retain a customer is to minimize mis-shipments. We will discuss how to achieve this and what to do in case a mis-ship has already occurred in the following.

1. What Mistakes Do Companies Most Commonly Make during the Process of Shipping Goods?

Let’s start by explaining what the process of shipping goods from a warehouse entails. It involves preparing and sending products from their storage location to the final recipient. Typically, shipping includes several stages:

  • Selecting items from their storage locations in the warehouse according to the order;
  • Packing into containers according to safety and transportation requirements;
  • Labeling each packaged item;
  • Transfer to the loading area;
  • Loading the transport for subsequent transportation of goods to the final recipient;
  • Shipment tracking.

Errors at any of these stages can lead to delivery delays, damage to goods in transit, or even failure to deliver the product to the customer. They can occur as early as the order picking stage. The picker may select the wrong item, partially fulfill the order, or fail to find the required item in the warehouse. This happens when employees are not properly trained or when there is a lack of organization in the warehouse.

Another common mistake that companies often make is poor packaging. Inadequate packaging materials or insufficient protection for fragile items can lead to damage during transportation. Delivering damaged goods not only affects customer satisfaction but also increases your expenses associated with returns or replacements.

Incorrect or missing shipping labels can also lead to confusion and delays in delivery. The cargo may be sent to the wrong address or even get lost in transit. This is especially problematic for ecommerce companies that heavily rely on timely and accurate delivery.

Furthermore, companies may underestimate the importance of accompanying documentation. Its absence can lead to delays, as well as additional fees and penalties, especially in the case of international shipping.

To avoid mis-shipments, it’s crucial for companies to carefully plan, strictly control, and effectively manage each stage of the shipping process.

2. Mis-shipment: What Does it Mean for the Customer?

When a customer places an order, they have certain expectations regarding the delivery. They expect their package to be delivered on time and in good condition. And when these expectations are not met, it leaves a lasting negative impression on the customer. This emotional setback can linger long after the immediate inconvenience has been resolved.

For the customer, a mis-shipment is not just a feeling of disappointment. For some, it’s also a disruption of plans. Perhaps the customer was counting on the timely arrival of the order for a special occasion or event. It could have been a gift for a loved one or an essential item that they urgently needed. And when there’s a problem with the delivery, all plans go awry. They have to look for alternative options or go without the expected item.

Moreover, for the customer, a mis-shipment can also be a source of additional inconvenience and expenses. If they have to return the wrong item or pay for the reshipment of the correct order, it will require time, effort, and additional expenses.

3. Mis-shipment: What Does it Mean for the Business?

Customer dissatisfaction will primarily impact your business. A failed delivery experience can significantly undermine trust in your brand, affecting both customer loyalty and your revenue. Dissatisfied customers may express their negativity through reviews of their purchase experience with your company. Considering that 99.9% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, this could deter potential buyers. Just one negative experience can cost your business 30 customers.

Mis-shipment also entails financial costs for the company. Additional expenses may arise from returning or replacing incorrectly shipped items, as well as compensating customers for the inconvenience caused. Additionally, processing returns and exchanges requires additional resources and time. Systematic mis-shipments can significantly impact the company’s overall financial position.

In addition to the financial and reputational consequences, mis-shipment can lead to legal problems. Depending on the nature of the shipped goods and the regulations governing their transportation, there may be legal requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines or even lawsuits against the company.

Striving for maximum accuracy and efficiency in the process of shipping goods is crucial. This will ensure a positive experience for every customer and maintain the reputation of your business.

4. How Can a Business Rectify a Mis-shipment if It Has Already Occurred?

If a mis-shipment has occurred, it’s important to handle the situation correctly to minimize negative consequences. Let the customer know they are valued. Swiftly resolving the issue can turn their negative experience into a positive interaction with your company. What steps should be taken first?

  • Promptly contact the customer and apologize for the inconvenience caused to them.
  • Offer a solution to the mis-shipment issue. This could involve either replacing the item or providing a refund. The specific solution will depend on the nature of the error and the preferences of the customer.
  • Take action to rectify the error as quickly as possible. If feasible, send the correct item or any missing items to the customer immediately. This will help minimize delays and inconvenience.
  • Keep the customer informed about the process of rectifying the mis-shipment. Provide accurate information about what is being done to resolve the issue and when they can expect to receive the correct item or compensation.
  • After resolving the issue, continue communicating with the customer. Ensure they are satisfied with the received item and thank them for their understanding.
  • Analyze the reasons for the mis-shipment to identify weaknesses within the company. This will enable you to prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Make necessary adjustments to the logistics management procedures and systems.

By promptly resolving the issue, you can maintain customers’ trust and safeguard the reputation of your business.

5. How to Prevent Errors in the Shipping and Delivery Process in the Future?

Mis-shipment can be a frustrating occurrence for a company. However, with careful planning and implementation of effective strategies, these errors can be minimized. Here are several strategies that can help with this:

5.1 Maintain regular inventory control

Without regular inventory checks, it’s impossible to control stock turnover and avoid unforeseen circumstances. Discrepancies between actual and recorded inventory levels can leave a company unable to fulfill orders. This can lead to delays or cancellations, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and damage to your brand’s reputation.

To mitigate these risks, it’s important to implement effective inventory management systems that allow for accurate tracking and forecasting of demand. By tracking every movement of goods, you minimize the number of errors during order processing.

5.2 Utilize barcode scanners

Barcode scanners allow you to quickly and accurately identify products, making them invaluable tools for preventing mis-shipments. By scanning barcodes on packaging and products, you minimize the risk of human error when selecting items for shipment. This is especially important for companies that process large volumes of shipments daily. Moreover, with an automated process, order processing efficiency is enhanced. You can promptly deliver goods to customers and improve overall service quality.

5.3 Ensure secure packaging of goods

Another strategy to prevent mis-shipments is reliable packaging. Your company will be held responsible for any damage to the goods due to inadequate packaging. Use appropriate packaging materials that will protect the shipment from damage during transportation. It’s important to use sturdy packaging that matches the size of the item. Take the extra step to protect the products with bubble wrap, foam inserts, or other protective materials.

It’s also important to seal and label the packaging using strong packaging tape to prevent accidental opening or unauthorized tampering during transportation. By following these precautions, you’ll reduce the likelihood of mis-shipments and ensure that the products are delivered intact and secure to their destination.

5.4 Apply labeling correctly

Accurate labeling is crucial during shipping. It helps ensure that the right item reaches the correct recipient. Properly labeled items reduce the likelihood of confusion and errors during delivery.

It’s important to use clear and legible labels containing all necessary information, such as the recipient’s name and address, as well as any special instructions or handling requirements. This helps carriers and warehouse staff handle the items appropriately, minimizing the risk of damage or loss during transportation.

5.5 Implement a control system

Before the goods leave the warehouse, it’s important to verify the accuracy of the shipment. This requires conducting a final check. Ensure that all items in the package match the details of the order. It’s also important to double-check the accuracy and completeness of the shipping labels and documentation. Implementing a control system will allow you to ensure accurate processing of all orders and identify and rectify any potential errors or discrepancies before shipping the goods.

5.6 Include accompanying documentation

Another important strategy to prevent mis-shipments is to include accompanying documentation. This means providing detailed and accurate information about the contents of the shipment – product descriptions, quantities, and specifications. Including such documentation helps ensure that the correct items are shipped and reduces the likelihood of errors or discrepancies. For example, a packing list or invoice can serve as a reference for both the shipper and the recipient, facilitating the verification of shipment accuracy.

Moreover, accompanying documentation can be useful in resolving any disputes or issues that may arise during delivery. It provides a clear record of what should have been included in the shipment.

5.7 Maintain communication with the carrier

Establishing strong relationships with carriers significantly reduces the likelihood of mis-ships. By maintaining open lines of communication, you’ll always stay informed of any changes or delays in the delivery schedule. This allows you to take proactive measures to prevent errors or mitigate their consequences. For example, if the carrier informs you of a delivery delay, you can relay this information to the recipient and take alternative measures if necessary.

Additionally, regular communication with the carrier allows you to more effectively track your shipments. You’ll be able to identify if the cargo is moving in the wrong direction and take appropriate action promptly.

5.8 Simplify the return system

Establishing a clear and customer-friendly process for requesting returns or exchanges is crucial. This may involve providing prepaid return labels or simplifying the online return procedure. A quick and straightforward process will help you turn any accumulated negativity from the customer’s long wait for their order into positive experiences.

6. How Will a 3PL Operator Help Eliminate the Likelihood of Mis-shipment?

When mis-shipments become systematic, it indicates deeper issues in the company’s logistics operations. Such errors may result from ineffective inventory management, lack of proper tracking systems, or inadequate control measures. Collaborating with a 3PL operator provides you access to their expertise and resources, which aid in promptly identifying and addressing such issues. What capabilities of a 3PL operator will help combat mis-shipments?

  • Automated order fulfillment. 3PL providers utilize modern warehouse and order management systems. Automation allows them to accurately track each stage of order fulfillment, minimizing the likelihood of mis-shipments.
  • Extensive warehouse network. 3PL companies typically have multiple warehouses strategically located in different regions. This allows them to store and manage inventory closer to end customers, avoiding potential delays or errors. The provider can ensure the availability of the required goods in the right place and at the right time, reducing the likelihood of mis-shipments.
  • Stringent control. 3PL providers rigorously monitor the condition and availability of goods at every stage of order fulfillment. This level of control enables them to identify and rectify errors or discrepancies before they lead to mis-shipments.
  • Flexibility. 3PL operators are capable of adapting to changing market demands and fluctuations in order volumes. They can scale resources up or down based on the needs of your business, which is especially crucial during peak seasons or unexpected spikes in demand. This flexibility helps you avoid costly errors caused by excess or insufficient capacities in your own logistics operations.
  • Integration with carriers. 3PL operators already have established relationships with reliable transportation companies, ensuring seamless integration and communication for you. This integration enables real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, ensuring they follow the correct route and arrive on time. By closely collaborating with carriers, a 3PL provider can promptly address any issues or concerns during transportation, minimizing the risk of mis-shipments.

The company Fulfillment-Box is ready to handle all your logistics needs and shield you from mis-shipments. We offer a comprehensive solution that allows you to fully focus on your core business activities. You won’t have to worry about hiring couriers, warehouse staff, or organizing a warehouse. Fulfillment-Box will ensure accurate and timely shipment and delivery of orders to your customers.

The process of order processing and shipping goods from our warehouses is fully automated and monitored by cutting-edge software. The risk of mis-shipment is eliminated. The system simply won’t allow adding extra items to an order, under-fulfilling it, or substituting it with another item.

Entrust order fulfillment to Fulfillment-Box and rest assured that your shipments are processed with utmost accuracy and efficiency. You’ll save time, money, and rid yourself of unnecessary headaches in the long run.

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Julia Gordon

AuthorJulia Gordon

Head of the Fulfillment-Box Prep Centers network

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