Shipshape

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 By kbormann Share:

Automating delivery processes makes international shipping easy for e-commerce suppliers.

E-commerce isn’t going away and neither are the businesses profiting from it. Customers can purchase any product from anywhere in the world with just a click, but for those in the delivery industry, tackling international shipping is not as simple. Although being able to ship products globally is part of a business’s success, it also presents a new set of challenges. Companies such as online retailer TigerDirect have seen the e-commerce industry evolve for more than 20 years and have had to adapt to meet new demands.

“ProShip has made my life very easy.”

- Greg Wiltse, Director of Warehouse IT at TigerDirect

TigerDirect invites consumers to look to it for any computer product needs, offering more than 100,000 items ready to ship at a moment’s notice. As a company that prides itself on customer service, it is essential for its warehouses to function optimally to meet the needs of its customers. And in this day and age, customer needs are becoming increasingly more demanding – they no longer have the patience to wait for a package to arrive and they expect items to be sent at a competitive price. This is why warehouse managers are continually challenged to find new solutions to increase the efficiency of their processes to save time, reduce risk of error, and ultimately satisfy the customer.

Reducing manual labor

When Greg Wiltse became TigerDirect’s director of warehouse IT over 10 years ago, he quickly realized the need for an improved shipping process. Shipping internationally with the United States Postal Service (USPS), TigerDirect sought to simplify and reduce the manual labor that had once been required in order to ensure international shipping and USPS requirements were met. That is when the decision was made to implement ProShip multi-carrier shipping software.

Scanned package“Our operations were all having to be done by hand,” explains Wiltse. “We brought ProShip in to automate that process.” Prior to partnering with ProShip, TigerDirect employees manually prepared between 12,000 and 14,000 packages on a daily basis. Now, the company uses nearly all facets of the ProShip Product Suite, which interfaces with its existing host systems and other processes. By having the capability to work in conjunction with the systems that TigerDirect already uses, ProShip ensures the company’s shipping department is always running optimally.

“Since ProShip was introduced to the TigerDirect warehouse, 90% of our shipments have become completely automated,” comments Wiltse. What once took dozens of employees to accomplish is now performed automatically with an increase in accuracy. Shipping has now transitioned into a simple five-step process:

  • First, an employee places the package on a weighing scale;
  • The employee then scans the ID barcode on the package;
  • ProShip gathers information from the company’s host system to retrieve data regarding the package’s destination, service level required, and information about the item being shipped;
  • ProShip also gathers information from the workstation regarding the packages origin, weight and shipping date;
  • Finally, compliant shipping documents are printed and applied to the package.

Easy compliance

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All of TigerDirect’s international shipments are handled through USPS via Endicia and ProShip lets it become a ‘mindless’ process.

“Our existing relationships with carriers like USPS are part of creating a simple process,” says ProShip director of global development Jeff Goeters. “Our knowledge of carriers’ requirements means we can create software that makes compliance simple for our customers.” This simplicity has become very profitable for TigerDirect.

In addition to the “tremendous labor savings” and the increase in consistency accompanied by the use of automation, TigerDirect has become “far more efficient”, according to Wiltse. Many companies that have capitalized by tapping into the cross-border consumer market are aware that preparing a shipment for compliance is only half the battle. International shipments mean being aware of import tariffs, meticulous package specifications, and passing through customs successfully. Without being properly prepared, shipping to other countries can dramatically delay arrival time.

TigerDirect is familiar with this struggle, frequently sending products to US military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, ProShip enables the company to avoid any disruption, whether shipping simply to Canada or a military base. With ProShip, any packing information that is placed on a shipping label is also sent electronically, shared with the destination to which it is being sent. Thus, the package is expedited, allowing it to pass more easily through inspection and ultimately arrive on time.

Now, eight years after TigerDirect first decided to bring ProShip software into its warehouse, international shipping is virtually an automated process. What once took hours of employee time to create pages of custom documents has transitioned into a process that requires little or no labor. With ProShip, TigerDirect has remained the industry’s top provider of high-quality products and maintained the most cost-efficient prices, all while keeping its reputation for superior customer satisfaction. Wiltse concludes, “ProShip has made my life very easy.”

Scan and Ship international shipping diagram

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