Do you increase your staff to get through your peak shipping season when order volumes surge? If your products can be shipped in their original packaging, they're ideal for pre-manifesting, an efficient shipping process that can dramatically reduce warehouse labor costs.
In pre-manifesting, the carrier shipping labels are printed in a batch before the orders are picked. The order pickers take the shipping labels with them and apply them to the items as they are picked, and they're ready to ship. This workflow eliminates the step of sending picked items to a shipping station.
To leverage this process, several data elements must be known upfront and combined into a pre-manifest or batch shipping file including:
Pre-manifesting yields two significant labor savings by eliminating extra touches in shipment processing:
If you can identify and group the orders that fit the pre-manifesting profile from your traditional shipping process, you can significantly reduce overall warehouse labor costs.
For example, if you ship 2,500 packages/day and can save 30 seconds of processing time per package with pre-manifesting, you save more than 20 hours of labor per day. At $15.00/hour, that’s a savings of over $75,000.00 per year.
Pre-manifesting does not apply to all order types. It is ideal for orders in which the package contents, weight, package dimensions, and customer addresses are known at the beginning of the fulfillment process. Here are a few examples:
Full Case Orders
For example, a company that sells printing paper by the 4,000-page case receives 100 or more orders a day for the same full-case product. As orders are received, the host system stores the customer names and addresses, product names, weights, dimensions, and carrier service.
Single Item Orders
Pre-manifesting is also highly efficient if you ship single items with a known weight and known dimensions of the shipping packaging. In this scenario, parcel shipping software such as InfoShip®\Vx can print shipping labels to include pick location & item on them, so the pickers can either label them at the pick location (if the merchandise is in a shippable box) or take the items to an overpack station and label them. Since these items have already been shipped during the pre-manifest process, they do not need to go through the typical step of moving on to the UPS/FedEx parcel shipping software station.
Subscription or Pack and Hold Orders
Pre-manifesting can also be used in a pack and hold environment or for subscription boxes all containing the same merchandise or other known weight items.
For example, a company shipping a monthly skincare kit has 5,000 packages that need to be released on the same day. These orders can be processed in batches as they are being packaged and released on a date convenient in the future.
In effect, workers apply the shipping label to items as they are picked rather than at the shipping station. Standard or branded shipping labels and packing lists can be printed on the same label stock to optimize warehouse work and eliminate unnecessary staff “touches” to faster fulfill orders.
Since the order is already packaged and labeled, it can skip the step of moving to the traditional UPS and FedEx parcel shipping station and move directly to the carrier pickup area.
Successful pre-manifesting requires the right combination of technology and workflow, including the following criteria:
The InfoShip/Vx multi-carrier shipping system offers the flexibility and configuration tools to:
CLS shipping system experts can help you configure InfoShip/Vx for pre-manifest processing.
Pre-manifesting yields significant labor cost savings if your order profile includes the item weight for the majority of items that are shipped.
If this is the case, you can move shipping document and label production upstream in the order fulfillment workflow and reduce the number of packages the staff will be required to weigh and label at the shipping station.
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of pre-manifesting, Creative Logistics Solutions can help. Please contact us today.
Rick Williams is a parcel transportation management expert with 40 years of experience in shipping and supply chain operations and technology. CLS has worked with many companies to streamline workflow and improve productivity in the warehouse through the combination of streamlined workflows integrated with multi-carrier shipping software, integrated pack/ship stations, data collection solutions and more.