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When do I go to automated/integrated shipping?

Considering an automated shipping tool that is fully integrated with your CRM?   Take a look at what a small distribution company did to drive growth.

Warehouse

The problem

This small business found itself spending a significant amount of time and effort around order fulfillment and processing shipments – time they agreed would be better spent driving new business.  The question was, “What is the correct stage (in our business growth) to transition into a fully integrated shipping solution that we can afford?”

The analysis

Beyond the intuitive senses small business owners and senior management possess, it did not take much to quantify the need and qualify the solution.  What is the current workflow and what areas are ripe for improvement/overhaul?  How much administrative time/cost is required after the sale, to process order fulfillment and related customer services/inquiries?  What are the corrections being made after processing?  The toughest question was, “What is the cost of not moving to a fully integrated shipping solution and workflow?”  That answer included lost revenue from lost sales, increasing administrative costs of order management and communications with customers for order status and corrections, and ultimately, a growing loss of controls over inventory.

The solution

Working directly with the client to identify and document requirements and workflow; together we were able to identify the “best fit” 3rd party shipping integration solutions designed to work with their ERP system.  The fully integrated shipping solution allowed entered orders to be  released to the warehouses for fulfillment, pick/pack documents (which have been redesigned to print bar codes for easy scanning), existing scanners which are used for discrete order pick/pack at one warehouse (including box-specific content management), and for wave picking at the other warehouse (for bulk orders).  Recognized benefits included:

  • Real-time item selection and validation
  • Inventory transactions loaded into the system real-time and without any additional effort on the users’ behalf
  • Customized  package labels for professional presentation, including customer-specific information as needed 
  • ASNs (advanced shipment notifications) with complete packaging detail sent immediately to the customers the moment the shipment is completed (posted)
  • Freight costs and tracking information automatically loaded into the ERP system
  • Invoices are instantaneously generated in the ERP system for Accounting to review, post, and deliver to clients electronically. 

The result

With the right solution in place, the client has entered into and completed peak season with a record 3-fold increase in sales!  They also have found that order fulfillment corrections (which had averaged 2-3 per day) were reduced to zero.  Customer inquiries regarding order status have reduced by 75% (now just inquiries re backorders), and administrative time has been largely redirected to sales support.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about integrating shipping with your Sage business solution.

Sharon Burgos

Written by Sharon Burgos

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