As most businesses grow, so do their shipping needs. If shipping has become a substantial part of your business, it might be time to consider hiring a supervisor to oversee the shipping department.
Assess Your Shipping Setup
Begin by assessing your current setup. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How important is shipping to my business?
- What percentage of my annual budget is spent on shipping?
- How efficiently does my shipping department function?
- How much incoming and outgoing mail does my shipping department handle on a daily basis?
- How many employees are necessary to handle the traffic?
- How many hours does each employee spend daily on shipping and mail?
- Do I have any complaints about my business’s shipping methods? If so, what are they?
- How can I improve our shipping and mailing procedures?
Next, conduct a thorough evaluation of your shipping department by making a list of each step in the shipping process. Tally your shipping expenses, including the cost of packing materials like boxes, bubble wrap, and tape.
If you don’t have one already, develop a shipping operations manual that your employees can use as a handy reference guide. The manual should include each step in the shipping process. Also include the addresses of important UPS and FedEx drop-off locations.
No matter how small or large your shipping department is, it will run more efficiently when you designate one of your employees to be in charge of the operation. Doing so helps ensure the professionalism and consistency that are inherent in all successful businesses.
Federal Shipping Regulations
Organization is the key to getting your shipping department to operate as you envision it should. Take the time to be as clear as possible, and systematically work out any glitches you may be experiencing, especially those that seem to reoccur and alienate customers. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the Federal Trade Commission’s 30-Day Rule, which applies to mail, phone, and online orders.
If you’re running an online store, shipping likely plays a major role in your daily operations. You’ll want to make the process as smooth as possible to maintain customer satisfaction and repeat business. Drop shipping is a method of retailing used by many online retailers such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Be sure to read What Is Drop Shipping? for a good overview of this topic.
As your shipping needs continue to grow, part-time employees may soon become full-time employees with more responsibilities. And if your business maintains its upward arc, you may eventually choose to hire or designate an employee to be the dedicated mailroom supervisor.
Before you do this, however, outline the duties and expectations that you have for the position. Carefully review resumes and arrange interviews with qualified, prospective applicants. Think about the characteristics you want the person to have. A mailroom supervisor should be efficient, organized, and able to keep track of many different things at once. He or she should also have a familiarity with the different shipping companies, including the U.S. Postal Service.