With the constant innovation of faster shipping, we all expect our packages to be delivered correctly and on time. We want to open the box and find the pretty little shipping invoice calculated correctly, and when it’s not, it’s easy to point blame at the shipping carrier first.
However, incorrect invoice calculations car arise further back in the supply chain. If a company’s warehouse operations are running on old principles and systems, you’re more likely to receive a shipping invoice that doesn’t match the price you originally paid for. If the warehouse is messy, the end result will be messy.
In order to reduce shipping invoice errors, you need to implement a warehouse management system.
What is a warehouse management system?
If you’re unfamiliar or just need a little refresh, this is a good place to start. A warehouse management system is a software that organizes and optimizes inventory coming in and going out of your warehouse, as well as warehouse workflow operations
A WMS handles the workflow from an item’s start at purchase order creation until it’s sent to the packing stage to be shipped away.
From this workflow alone, you can see how crucial a proper WMS can be to reduce shipping invoice errors. A number of things can go wrong from receiving to shipping, but the features within a WMS are set in place to reduce possible shipping invoice errors. Let’s take a look at a few.
Quality control will be your lifesaver when it comes to correct orders. Quality control is a step in the pick, pack, and ship process that ensures the correct order is picked, is packed in the correct box, and is shipped to the correct address.
Quality control also monitors the following:
- Checks against the original order for quantity and SKU accuracy
- Checks for any damage or wear and tear
- Makes sure the item matches the description from the original marketplace listing
- Checks that it’s being shipped with the correct shipping carrier to the correct address
Quality control not only reduces human error, but can save you so much money down the line. If you can catch order discrepancies while it’s still in the warehouse, you’ll reduce the risk of a shipping invoice error once it’s at someone’s door.
One of the biggest assets that sets a WMS apart from an IMS (Inventory Management System) alone is its ability to integrate with a number of softwares. A WMS can integrate with accounting, shipping, and eCommerce store platform softwares to name a few, with the goal to make your business customizable and functional.
A shipping software is a great integration to use when you’re running into shipping invoice errors. When you integrate shipping software with a WMS, your inventory data is synced across systems.
Why is that important?
Because when your data is synced, you reduce the risk of miscalculating or misprinting an order’s information. Everything can be stored in one place so your warehouse employees will have greater visibility on what should and shouldn’t be placed or charged on a shipping invoice.
A parcel audit software like Refund Retriever is another excellent integration to use with a WMS.
The whole purpose of an audit software is to refund you on the money you deserve from shipping carriers. So if for some reason your package gets messed up after it leaves quality control, an audit software can recover the extra fees you may be charged from carriers.
Accurate and smart forecasting is crucial for any business that wants to stay in business. Forecasting is made easy using reports in a WMS. Reports are used to gather data on inventory trends throughout the year. When you use data from the previous year, you can better forecast how much or how little inventory you need to meet demand the next year.
How does forecasting help reduce shipping invoice errors?
When you’ve forecasted the proper amount and type of inventory, you can rest easy knowing the item will be there when a purchase orders comes through. So, the expectations of the customer to receive their item at a certain time on a certain day will have a better chance of being met with proper forecasting.
User accountability is exactly as it sounds – the user of the WMS will be held accountable for their actions within the system. This means whatever action they perform while using the system will be tracked for accuracy. It sounds a bit creepy, however, it comes in handy if you’re trying to account for discrepancies later on.
For example, if a customer is charged for two of the same item, but only purchased one, the company’s manager can look back into a user’s history on the WMS and trace which employee failed to perform quality control.
This is another example of how the shipping carrier is not always at fault. Sometimes, the problems lie within a WMS, but with features like user accountability, you can explain invoice errors later.
SkuVault is a warehouse management technology platform that empowers B2C and B2B companies to optimize their operations. With clients reporting to have decreased their out of stocks by 10x, reduce labor costs by 30% and reduce fulfillment time by 87%, SkuVault unlocks potential in retail inventory that often is never realized otherwise. To learn more about how SkuVault can help your business, click here.