Behind the Scenes: A Look at Same-Day Shipping Operations
Businesses who offer same-day shipping and express deliveries are keeping up with customer demands and gaining a competitive edge in the market. Although the operations behind express deliveries may seem difficult, same-day shipping improves business and productivity in warehouses. Express deliveries are also streamlined with accurate and efficient courier tracking. Professional couriers who use reliable shipment tracking can ensure that customers receive their orders on time and with added visibility.
The Pros and Cons of Same-Day Shipping
Express delivery orders boost productivity in the warehouse. Staff will work harder and faster to meet same-day delivery demands and deadlines. And if orders are shipped on the same day, they won’t be left in the warehouse as backlog orders. This reduces the need for backlog management.
Warehouses must have enough order processing capacity to meet daily volumes. This means enough workers, space, systems, and equipment to handle peak order times. But offering same-day shipping also means less orders might be filled in a day so grouping orders for efficient shipping is less likely.
With same-day deliveries, warehouses may not have the most efficient order size and grouping, but the productivity boost in the warehouse makes up for this. Overall efficiency in the warehouse is necessary to fulfill same-day shipping orders. And, although larger order processing capacity is required to meet the demands of same-day shipping, there is less need to manage backlogged orders.
Processing Express Deliveries
Same-day shipping requires a well-organized warehouse with skilled staff who are motivated to get the job done on time.
Same-day shipping and express deliveries often use fulfillment centres (warehouses) located near a large customer base to make sure that same-day shipping is possible. To keep operations running smoothly, especially during peak shipping times with large volumes of same-day orders, warehouses must have processing areas that are large enough to handle the volume of shipments.
Order pickers must quickly pick items in the warehouse for shipping. To ensure the fastest and most efficient order picking, the warehouse must be kept clean and organized, and stock must be replenished and ready for orders. Warehouse workers will often replenish the shelves and other product holding areas prior to peak order-picking times to avoid getting in the way of order pickers and slowing down the shipping process.
An efficient inventory system is necessary to save time and fulfill orders properly. If a warehouse receives a same-day order for a product that is not in stock, this could potentially waste order picker time looking for the out-of-stock item, and it can mislead and disappoint the customer who is expecting the order.
Flexible Order Fulfillment
Warehouses who fulfill same-day shipping orders need to have fast and efficient order-filling systems in place, such as:
- For small orders, have order pickers fill multiple small orders at one time;
- For medium orders, fill one medium order at a time;
- For large orders, split the order amongst multiple order pickers to speed up the process.
Warehouse staff must also be flexible with completing different tasks depending on demands. If it is peak shipping time for same-day orders and there is a short window of time to prepare the orders, more staff will be required to pick and package orders instead of completing other tasks.
Skilled Staff Required
A well-run warehouse that can keep up with same-day shipping demands must have skilled workers who are motivated to work quickly, efficiently, and safely. These warehouse workers must be flexible and skilled to complete the following jobs in a day:
- Operate lift trucks;
- Pick orders;
- Check orders;
- Pack orders; and
- Ship orders.
Exceptions are any issues in the order process, such as picking errors, unavailable items, and damaged items. To save time and reduce delays, exceptions should be handled by a specialist or trouble-shooter instead of an order picker. This way the issue can be resolved quickly by the specialist instead of slowing down the order picker.
Fulfillment centres can negotiate pickup times with professional couriers, often opting for later times in the day to allow for more time to pick and pack orders. However, there are time constraints for couriers depending on the distance from the fulfillment centre to the courier sorting hub and final delivery addresses. To ensure same-day express deliveries, orders must be shipped within a specified timeframe to avoid any risks of shipping delays.
Plan for Delays
Same-day shipping warehouses must have plans in place to handle any delays in the shipping process. Possible causes of delays include: power outages, computer problems, equipment breakdowns, and any communications or technology-related issues. Having an equipment or tech specialist available is one way to ensure that repairs can be done quickly to prevent orders from missing the same-day shipping cut-off times.
Once orders are shipped, professional couriers can use shipment tracking software to make deliveries on time with route optimization while giving customers peace of mind with estimated delivery times and courier tracking.