UPS experts and customers provide advice for overcoming logistics problems – even when in a jam.
When you are busy, it's not uncommon to run out of boxes, labels, product or time. Here are some smart (and unexpected) solutions to these shipping problems.
Nine solutions to keep in your back pocket when unexpected problems arise.
1. Out of packaging materials. Labels and UPS Express® boxes for premium services are free and can be ordered online at My UPS. In a pinch ask your driver whether he or she has limited supplies in the vehicle. The UPS Store® locations are another option, which often have tape, peanuts and other shipping supplies available for purchase.
2. Out of product. A lot of crowd-sourced companies have difficulty with fulfillment because they get swamped with orders. Also, small businesses sometimes run out of product if they suddenly get free publicity from a celebrity or in a national publication. The best solution is to call in your UPS account manager and arrange overnight shipments from your suppliers to get past the initial crunch. The next step is to map your supply chain to identify pain points and look for ways to implement just-in-time inventory controls. UPS can be an excellent resource for this expert advice.
3. Out of time. If you need to get something to a customer in a hurry, UPS has three next-business-day options that typically guarantee delivery by 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. or 3 p.m. UPS also has a premium service that picks up your shipments, places it on the next flight out and and often delivers the same day. (Call 1-800-714-8779 for UPS Express Critical® service.)
4. Oops! We sent it to the wrong place! If you have a package that's in transit, and you realize it's going to the wrong address, you can use UPS Delivery Intercept® service to reroute a package "on the fly." Other options with this fee-based service include return-to-sender, reschedule delivery or hold the package for pickup. UPS Delivery Intercept service is available using any UPS shipping system or at ups.com.
5. Customers say it's taking too long to get packages. Make sure you clearly communicate the expected delivery date (including handling time) for the shipping methods you offer to customers. Consider working with UPS to cut delivery time whenever possible. For instance, using a blend of delivery options, Best Bully Sticks cut delivery time to three days coast to coast.
6. Too many returns. The first step is to understand why this is happening, says Mark Wright, UPS customer solutions marketing manager. Is sizing clearly explained? Does merchandise match what was advertised?
7. My online store keeps losing customers before they check out. The "path to purchase" starts way before checkout, according to the latest research. It's essential to streamline the entire online shopping experience. Here are six keys to success.
8. I need hardware for my shipping area. The UPS Customer Technology Program might be an option. UPS will subsidize the cost of computers, scales, bar code scanners and required software based on your UPS volume. In many cases there's no out-of-pocket cost to the customer.
9. Too many of my products arrive damaged. There's a science to making sure shipments arrive safely, and it begins with packaging. Before you ship a new product or try out new packaging methods, consider having UPS Packaging Solutions engineers evaluate and test your containers to mitigate damage. The online UPS Packaging Advisor is a free valuable resource.