If you own a small firm, you probably have one or two exceptional employees who know everything there is to know about shipping operations, proper shipping documentation and policies. 

The chances are that they’d probably be able to perform things in their sleep, and this is why you trust them so much. Small businesses don’t take things like this seriously, they would rather rely on manual documentation methods, but there is a high probability of error like everything manual. 

Some big businesses do slightly better in this aspect. They know the importance of documentation in business, so they make attempts. Some even go as far as arranging seminars, workshops and other kinds of training for their employees so that they can have adequate documentation knowledge.

But is that enough? When was the last time you looked at it? Is there any information on there that isn’t up to date? Is there a way to make it more efficient than it currently is? Is it possible for your employees to refer to it if they have questions, or do they need to contact someone to ask for assistance?

It may not appear like documenting your shipping policies and procedures is a key responsibility. In fact, it might seem stressful and like a waste of time. After all, you have probably been managing orders or advertising your business without a proper documentation system. However, documentation is a valuable tool that can save you more time than you invest in it. Some of the benefits of a proper documentation system include:

  • Proper Documentation Provides You With A Quick And Accurate Referencing Material:

When your employees have a query, they can consult the documentation and be confident that they have the correct answer. This also means that senior personnel will have fewer interruptions and will be able to focus on fixing real problems, which can result in increased efficiency and productivity. Proper documentation allows team members and other teams to have access to the same information. Everyone understands what is required of them and works together.

  • Proper Documentation Creates An Environment For Improvement:

Written documentation allows you to go through your processes, identify inconsistencies and make improvements. This way, you can be confident that you and your employees are carrying out tasks most effectively and efficiently possible.  If there is proper documentation, your employees can go through it and provide constructive criticism when they spot a way to improve things.

What Method Should You Use To Document Your Shipping Process?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to documentation. You must figure out what works best for you, your team, and your firm. Decide on the ultimate form of the paperwork as a suitable place to start. There are numerous solutions available to you, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Each format has its unique functionalities; the format you choose will be determined by the needs of your audience and the tools you already have or can quickly obtain. Here are a few examples of possible formats:

  • Printed Copies

It’s usually best for relatively small businesses. Printed copies can be laminated or maintained at a workstation in a binder. If you don’t want to use printed copies, then you can also make use of soft copies like PDFs. These PDFs might be stored on a single work computer system, downloaded from a shared location, or sent through email to your employees.

  • A Company Wiki/Intranet

This is a more complex approach, but it’s ideal for medium to large businesses with various departments.

The next step is to figure out exactly what you’re going to document. You should always document important issues that relate to your business. Some examples would be: 

  • Shipping Supplies
  • Daily Shipping Workflow
  • Shipping Guidelines

And any other relevant information like your customer’s or partners phone numbers, emails and addresses.

Tips To Help With Proper Organization Of Information 

You need to organize this data in a way that even a child would understand at first glance. Every member of your team needs to be able to work with the documents whether you are around or not. When you hire new staff, it would be easy for them to understand what they are working with. This would help promote convenience, efficiency and productivity in the company at all times.

Here are a few tried and tested strategies that will assist make your documentation easy to use and comprehend. 

  • Organize data by theme. Use headings (bold, large font) to distinguish each topic so that the reader may quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • Use tabbed separators or different coloured paper to mark each segment on printed pages.
  • Always start with the most important information.
  • Make use of lists! Lists, rather than complete paragraphs, make it easier to find important information. If an order is important, use numbered lists; use bullet lists if an order isn’t important.
  • Write down any method or task in the sequence in which it should be completed (chronological order)
  • Make sentences and paragraphs as brief as possible. Using active language is one approach to accomplish this. If you’re going to tell someone to do anything, do it directly! Words like “you can,” “try,” and “it should be done” should be avoided. Instead, use the phrases “go here” and “do this” to avoid any ambiguity.
  • Tables can be used to convey information that is repeated. Lists with names, phone numbers, email addresses, product specifications, supplier locations, and the like can all benefit from this.
  • If something is tough to explain, use visuals.
  • Include a list of any resources you plan to mention. International shipping laws, for example, or login sites for your postal accounts.
  • If the document is more than a few pages long, include a table of contents. The majority of digital technologies can do this for you, especially if you use headings correctly!

If it makes the reader’s life easier, don’t be scared to repeat facts. We hope you found this article very helpful and we encourage you to implement them into your business so you can have a more stable and highly efficient business.

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