A well run warehouse is key to your profitable ERP and wholesale distribution operations. You have knowledgeable warehouse staff to keep your warehouse organized and to efficiently receive and pick the inventory. Once you have that in place, you rely on a carrier to finally get those goods to your customers. Selecting the right carrier is critical. The carrier needs to be highly reliable and able to coordinate with you on your shipment needs for cost, service coordination and delivery performance. Remember that they are an extension of you and your operations in the eyes of your customer. Once your happy they can deliver on their promises, consider integrating them into your business information system. This will bring cost savings to your operations, improve delivery performance and make you more productive in your warehouse operations. Integrating Logistics Carries into your ERP and Wholesale Distribution Operations.
Why Automate your Shipping Processes?
An automated shipping process will reduce costs, increase your warehouse productivity and minimize errors.
There are many ways a wholesale distributor can integrate with carriers. Depending on the carrier you select, the size and type of shipments, your information exchange can be as simple as emailed reports to more advanced EDI document exchanges. Each carrier will have their own requirements and standards that can help both you and the carrier improve the efficiency of deliveries and reduce the cost.
- A Flat File
This is a simple text file that is created in your system that can be sent to the carrier that has all the important elements they need to import into their software, This is an agreed layout of data elements and sent to the carrier by email or FTP.
- XML File Exchange
A simple XML data file created by your system and sent to the carrier’s system for import. This is an agreed data layout that would include the shipping information for each order and the contents declaration of the goods being delivered. Many carriers will have standard maps already available for you to import with your system. You can create these on each order and automatically send these to the carrier. This would allow your staff to ship items without entering data into the carriers software for your shipment. You can even get your carrier to create an XML file for import into your system to allow an automated process for invoices to be cleared on your software. This will save your accounts payable staff time and risk of data input errors when processing payments for the carrier.
- EDI Exchange
This is a more enhanced method for exchanging information. Standard EDI communications include data layouts to exchange data between you and your carrier. You can both agree to pass information in this format and achieve the cost savings of manually entering in shipments and invoices on both your and the carriers software system.
When you integrate the shipping process, you eliminate the time of double input and mistakes that can be made by your staff having to manage two software systems. For example, once the goods are collected and packed for shipment, staff have to perform entries on your software to ship these items and enter this data again on your carriers system. By automating the carriers need for data, you can eliminate this second data entry step.
A key objective in the sales process for many on-line retails is getting the product to the customer as quickly as possible. By having your warehouse shipping system integrated with your carrier system, you can help speed up the time between the order date and the time when these goods arrive on the customers’ doorstep.
To learn more about integrating with your logistics carrier – visit us at http://www.beckard.com