If you inventory products for your ecommerce site finding a good solution for shipping and keeping your products can always be challenging. Most warehouse the items yourself and spend lots of time "touching" your goods. So what is "touching" and how does it cost you cash? The typical scenario you bring in goods from overseas and they get off a boat and are trucked to your location. You (the receiver) unload and move them into a warehouse. Generally you will spend some time checking your inventory and establishing it so that you can pick your items and ship in an effective manner. Sometimes if the packaging is not complete, you many find yourself repacking or re boxing items for final ecommerce shipping. So here is how the "touching" is applied
o Unpacking it off the truck, you have to do this
o Into the storeroom
o Consolidating in the warehouse
o Potential repacking
o Final choice for shipment to the customer who ordered it
This is five times that the item is touched, moved, processed or handled. If you smart, you most likely have an employee do this work, which means you pay the employee and manage the process. Not counted here is the managing of the items coming from port and getting to your ware house that is a separate discussion. The warehouse cost is also not included in the cost at this particular point. Fulfillment So how do you touch your items less and spend less money? Fulfillment is a different way of looking at the physical process of moving your items and touching them less here is a breakdown of things you do NOT do, but still gets done by someone else. For further details regarding ecommerce shipping, check out http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Electronic_commerce.
o Items unpacked from ship, trucked to warehouse near port
o Shipping container stripped out (unpacked) and put on pallets
o Items labeled and shipped to your customers when ordered.
So how do you save cash? Most of the money you save is in time. Most international fulfillment online business owners today get sucked into a vortex of time wasting activities, not realizing how much time they give away working "in" their businesses when they should be working "on" their businesses. Here is an example breakdown of how the fulfillment procedure can save you money. Substitute your own money amounts into the examples.
o Unpacking the truck and moving into warehouse. Most likely a full day's work and more employing or hiring some help. Normally you can figure 3 people to unload the typical twenty foot container. (the reason you need help is that typical trucking vendors permit you two hours to unload, you cannot unpack this all by yourself in two hours)