Order fulfillment can be an expensive and time consuming task. Fortunately, ShipStation is a robust shipping tool that can help you save both money and time shipping/fulfilling orders. This guide shows you how to configure ShipStation to maximize your fulfillment efficiency.
ShipStation is a robust shipping platform that can help you save money on shipping and help you coordinate your fulfillment operation efficiently. To do so, there is a relatively steep learning curve with multiple things you need to configure.
Once you’ve put in the work to set up ShipStation properly and train your staff, you can dramatically reduce the overall time and cost it takes to fulfill/ship orders to customers.
In this guide, I’m going to walk you through the things you need to set up in order to unlock a 50%+ efficiency gain for your warehouse staff! So buckle in, and let’s do this thing.
Ultimately, making your fulfillment operations efficient comes down to 3 things.
1. Configuring shipping labels for orders
2. Picking orders.
3. Packing orders
This guide will walk you through how to optimize all 3 of these step-by-step.
Optimizing your shipping label configuration is extremely important because it’s going to be your single greatest expense related to fulfilling orders. You want to make sure you’re shipping every order at the lowest cost.
In order to do that, you need to do 2 things.
Step 1: Configure Automation Rules to Auto-Select the Cheapest Carrier for Orders
This guide walks you through how to set up automation rules that will auto-select carriers and services for your shipments.
Keep in mind that ShipStation doesn’t check the rates of shipping services in real-time so automation rules don’t guarantee that you always get the lowest cost shipping method for every order.
If you want to have the guaranteed lowest cost shopping service auto-selected for orders, consider String which integrates with ShipStation to do just this.
Step 2: Configure Automation Rules to Auto-Select a Package for Orders
This guide walks you through how to set up automation rules that will auto-select a package for your shipments.
Keep in mind that ShipStation doesn’t have a “Cartonization” algorithm. You can learn more about Cartonization here. This means ShipStation can’t intelligently determine the right size package for each order. Instead you have to create a limited set of rules that apply a package based on some conditions.
While this works well for low SKU and package count businesses, if you have a high volume of either it can break down quickly.
If you want to have the right size package automatically applied to each order in ShipStation, consider using String. String intelligently cartonizes each order to minimize shipping costs.
These two steps will make it so all of your shipping labels are automatically configured. Typically, it takes a person about 30-45 seconds to congruent each order manually. This will save you that time.
Picking is usually the most time intensive task your fulfillment staff will take part in because they will be walking the floor to find items across the warehouse.
Step 1: Create an Order Batching System
The most common way to minimize the time your staff spends doing this is to “batch” orders together. There are many methods of batching you can implement, and frankly, the method you choose comes down to what your preferences are.
You can have a single picker batch pick all items and deliver them to a common location for packers to grab from.
Or you can create multiple batches for each member of your fulfillment staff to handle end-to-end. They can batch pick and pack orders individually. You can learn more about how to handle batching in ShipStation here.
Step 2: Leverage ShipStation Pick Lists
You should also leverage the ShipStation Pick List feature to give a batched list of all of the items a member of your staff needs to pick. You can filter in multiple different ways to find the method that makes your staff more efficient. Learn more about Pick Lists here.
On average, batching should save your fulfillment staff more than 1 minute per order.
The last step in the chain to make your fulfillment staff ultra-efficient is to create a packing slip that contains all of the information your staff will need to pack orders.
Specifically, the packing slip should contain details about the product, what package to use for the order, and what (if any) marketing collateral should be included in the package. This guide shows you how to set up a packing slip in ShipStation to make your team more efficient.
If you implement all of the steps in this guide, you can help your fulfillment staff save upwards of 90 seconds per order as well as optimize your shipping configurations to spend as little money as possible on shipping label.