6 Shipping Supplies to Always Have on Hand

shipping-suppliesThe shipping department serves as the backbone of any business entity. Although it’s not as celebrated and exalted as front-end operations including marketing and sales floors, make no mistake of its value to your continued success and growth. To make sure your shipping warehouse operates at maximum capacity at all times, have these six shipping supplies always stocked and well within reach.

Cardboard Box
Shipping anything to your customers will be impossible without boxes, specifically cardboard boxes. The durable construction and cost-efficiency of cardboard-based boxes make it a staple in any warehouse setting. There are many subsets of cardboard boxes being used today including Card Stock, Corrugated Fiberboard, and Paperboard. The material and size of cardboard depends on the contents and budget limitations a business must work with. There are countless cardboard sizes today to fit a variety of dimensions, such as 12 x 12 x 12 or 6 x 6 x 4. Rather than be called by their dimensions, warehouse workers use actual names for these different sized boxes.

100% recycled paper has been a popular choice for shipping companies since it’s cheaper and reduces environmental impact while still satisfying the large demand for the material. Paper is used to fill gaps between the box and its content. This aims to absorb the shock from when the box gets thrown around during the delivery route. Notebooks, notepads, sticky notes, and other paper-based supplies are also used by employees to keep tabs on inventory, create future reminders for themselves, write informal instructions to coworkers, and so forth. Shippers Supplies said, “Running out of paper can be detrimental to your warehouse as it’s difficult to find an equally affordable alternative.”

Ribbons and Gift Wrap
Shipping items right to your customer’s doorstep is not something new. It’s been done for several years now. To remain competitive, many shipping departments have been improving their customer service by providing new services including same-day delivery and gift-wrapping. The latter is perfect for ordered products that are meant to be given as a gift. Ribbons and gift wrap are a great way to add pizzazz to your shipments. It gives color to the otherwise bland and unoriginal cardboard box. Special gift boxes with a smoother exterior are also good items to come in handy.

Platform Trucks
Items that pass through shipping and warehouse vary in size and weight. Some items will weigh as much as 60 lbs. and others even more. And while the average warehouse employee is expected to be able to physically handle 60 lbs. at most, it can be dangerous to let them handle these heavy items on a regular basis. Have metal platform trucks that are sturdy, economical, and a efficient when it comes to hauling heavy items around the warehouse or to the delivery trucks for transport. If platform trucks consume an inordinate amount of work space and is not really needed, you can go for warehouse hand trolleys that can transport small to mid-sized boxes.

The need for a label cannot be overemphasized. The shipping label will be used to confirm the order and guide the delivery guy to its intended route. A label scanner is also required to scan and record the shipping labels going in and out of your warehouse. Without a label scanner, you won’t be able to verify orders and deliveries, which means you don’t get to collect customer payments. Last but not least, a label writer so you don’t have to manually create labels from scratch.

Having at least one terminal is necessary for checking item availability within the storefront or warehouse location, recording scanned items into the system for later evaluation, and keeping up with other shipping-related tasks. A ratio of 4:1 employee-terminal ratio is the ideal setup for shipping departments. This ensures a cost-efficient workflow that doesn’t result in too much foot traffic and backlogs around the terminal.

These six shipping supplies may seem like minute items that don’t matter, but they can actually affect the daily workflow in a huge way. Your responsibility as a shipping manager or business owner is to adequately stock your workplace with these six items, so that employees can pick, pack, and ship orders without delays.