Pre-manifesting is an automation process that initiates the printing of shipping documents and labels upstream just prior to order picking and applying them to packages as they are picked rather sending them to a shipping station for carrier service selection and labeling. Once picked, labeled and sealed by the picker, they are ready to be moved directly to the carrier staging area.
Pre-manifesting saves time through the batch printing of labels, reduction of the number of product touches on shipments and elimination of redundant tasks. As a result, you are able to process more orders quickly without adding warehouse staff. In many cases, when deployed efficiently, it enables companies to handle spikes in order volume without adding temporary labor.
Which orders can be processed via pre-manifesting?
Pre-manifesting cannot be applied for all order types. It can be applied to efficiently process full-case orders, single item orders, and subscription orders in which all recipients are receiving the same exact order contents.
The first step is to analyze your order pool to identify and group the orders that are eligible for the pre-manifesting process. Even if a subset of your total order mix fits the pre-manifesting profile, you can significantly reduce overall warehouse labor costs by processing these shipments more quickly.
For example, let’s say your distribution operation routinely processes 2,500 packages per day. If you can save 30 seconds/order with pre-manifesting, you will save a total time savings of 20 hours of labor per day. At an average wage of $15.00/warehouse operator/hour, your annual savings would be more than $75,000.00 per year.
What Order Information is Required to Implement Pre-manifesting?
Several data elements must be known upfront and combined into a pre-manifest or batch shipping file including:
- Order ship-to name & address
- Total package weights & (ideally) dimensions
- Shipment method
- Order and product information such as slotting locations, SKUs, etc.
How to Set Up the Pre-Manifesting Process
To set up pre-manifesting, you will need the following system-level order/product information, system integration capabilities and shipping system functionality:
- Your order management system must have sufficient database fields to store product names, item numbers, SKUs, weights, etc.
- Your ERP or WMS system must be able to decrement inventory levels as items are picked and replenished to ensure the orders in the queue can be fulfilled.
- You will need to design and implement a two-way systems integration plan to exchange data between the order, WMS, ERP and shipping systems.
- Your multi-carrier shipping software system must be capable of supporting pre-manifesting data requirements.
The InfoShip®/Vx multi-carrier shipping system offers the flexibility and configuration tools to:
- Import orders and item details from the host system into InfoShip/Vx and back to the host
- Calculate the actual shipping weight
- Automatically choose the optimal delivery method and carrier service based on automation rules you embed into the software
- Print shipping labels in a carrier-approved format
- Transit the details of the processed orders/shipments back to the host system(s).
Learn More about InfoShip/Vx
CLS shipping system experts can help you configure InfoShip/Vx for pre-manifest processing. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.