Order dispatch and delivery are two vital operations for e-commerce logistics, as they directly impact customer satisfaction. How is it possible to provide more efficient service without errors? The answer is Multi Carrier Shipping Software from Mecalux, a software application that includes the necessary functionalities for packaging, labelling and shipping orders. With this solution, the warehouse communicates directly with the major carriers (among others, UPS, DHL, TNT and DB Schenker). As a result, the company has comprehensive control over the entire shipping process as well as greater productivity.
Goods dispatch represents a physical phase in logistics, especially when it comes to e-commerce businesses. As the outcome of this process has a direct effect on costs and determines customer satisfaction, it requires meticulous planning and organisation.
E-commerce retailers usually work with one or more transport agencies. To prevent delays and mistakes that could lead to customer complaints and, ultimately, a brake on the company’s growth, the goods packaging and labelling processes must be coordinated with the carriers.
The warehouse dispatch process
Before loading the orders onto the delivery lorry, a set of processes take place: orders are packaged and labelled, and the documentation for the transport agency is created. Streamlining all these steps prevents delivery delays.
Once the orders are finished, they are packaged and labelled. Simultaneously, the proper documentation is created for the carrier: the commercial invoice, the transport insurance and the instructions on where to deliver the goods. In addition, the weight and sizes of the orders are checked to verify that they correspond to the transport agency’s requirements.
Immediately afterwards, the goods are temporarily deposited in the docking area before being picked up by the carrier in question. In this area, operators can also carry out tasks such as order personalisation (for example, gift wrapping) and kit assembly (which is very common when dispatching promotional items).
Most e-commerce firms work with one or several delivery agencies. These businesses usually have their own transport management software that designs routes and supervises the status of the products (that is, it controls their traceability). If the warehouse can connect with this software, order handling and information exchange are much more agile.
Operation of Mecalux’s Multi Carrier Shipping Software
When carried out manually, all these processes require workers to perform the same task repeatedly, which can lead to inefficient results and a high risk of error.
Therefore, Multi Carrier Shipping Software is charged with automating dispatch management as well as communication between the e-commerce warehouse and the various transport agencies. It is an extension of Mecalux’s Easy WMS warehouse management system dedicated specifically to organising the packaging, labelling and shipping processes.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software organises these operations:
Packaging of the items that make up the order
This consists of inserting the products included in the order into a package or wrapper. This operation is essential for the transport agency to be able to handle the orders easily.
Workers can perform this task in a work area specially set up for this. For instance, they can pick the items from a putwall, a conveyor or a sorter and package them, then placing the parcels in conveyors or in the carrier’s crates.
Whatever the process, Multi Carrier Shipping Software guides operators at all times, showing them which items to package and whether to do this in a single unit load or in multiple ones. Additionally, a customer might order another product while his/her order is being prepared. In that case, the system will tell the operator what to do.
Thanks to the constant supervision provided by Multi Carrier Shipping Software, operators prepare packages more quickly and, at the same time, verify that no mistakes were made in picking.
Printing of labels and the delivery note
All packages must be properly labelled; this is the only way to identify and efficiently monitor orders.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software knows in advance which carrier will distribute each order. Accordingly, it automatically generates and prints a label for each package. This label includes the tracking number so that customers can monitor their orders in real time.
Once the operator affixes the label to the parcel, the carrier merely needs to scan the label to confirm that it is the correct package.
Thus, for each dispatch, Multi Carrier Shipping Software prints a delivery note for the materials sent. This way, the carrier knows how many parcels to pick up and deliver.
Real-time synchronisation between the warehouse and carriers
Multi Carrier Shipping Software is integrated with the major international transport agencies such as UPS, DHL, TNT and DB Schenker, among others (the list is steadily growing).
The software communicates with the agencies in two different modes:
- Offline. Communication between Easy WMS and the carrier does not take place in real time, so Multi Carrier Shipping Software periodically generates and sends the appropriate documentation to the agency, as per the criteria established.
- Online. Easy WMS transmits to the transport agency all the information it needs at any time (number of packages, weight, volume, etc.). The agency, meanwhile, sends the data required for generating the labels and the tracking number.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software controls everything from the packaging process to the creation of the tracking number
Warehouse and carriers in sync
The priority of any company is to have a zero-error rate for dispatches. How can this be done? By meeting the requirements of the transport agencies in terms of order labelling and the generation of documentation.
Automatically printing labels that are compatible with the main transport agencies and assigning a tracking number to each package results in speedier and more efficient dispatches.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software from Mecalux not only facilitates communication between the installation and the various transport agencies, but also provides comprehensive and automatic control of the entire dispatch process. Consequently, all operations that take place before an order is dispatched are much more effective, boosting productivity and making it possible to ship more orders more effortlessly and without error.
Advantages of Multi Carrier Shipping Software
- Control over the packaging process. It organises and manages the goods packaging process. Operators prepare the parcels quickly and without making mistakes.
- Communication with carriers. The module comes integrated with the major international transport agencies as well as the most prominent carriers in each country, such as Spain’s SEUR, Belgium’s Bpost and France’s Colissimo.
- Comprehensive dispatch monitoring. The app sorts and groups orders based on route or transport agency.
- Tracking number creation. This feature generates order tracking numbers that customers can use to consult the exact location of the merchandise they have purchased.
- Increased productivity. Automated management of the order packaging and dispatch processes saves time, minimises errors and, hence, boosts productivity.
La Ruche Logistique (France)
Logistics provider La Ruche Logistique offers personalised service for all kinds of businesses (primarily in the e-commerce sector). The company has installed Mecalux's Multi Carrier Shipping Software at its facility in Créancey (France) in order to establish smooth, two-way communication between the shipping agency and the warehouse, avoid errors and delays in the dispatch process and, ultimately, to ramp up productivity.
Motocard, a top European retail chain specialising in motorcycle gear and accessories, transformed its distribution centre in Solsona (Spain), turning it into a true omnichannel warehouse. The Multi Carrier Shipping module organises order packaging, labelling and dispatch. Moreover, by facilitating communication with the transport agencies that work with Motocard (mainly SEUR and UPS), the carriers know beforehand which orders should be delivered in each shipment.