The year is 2020 and most people are not purchasing consistently online. With the COVID-19 pandemic even more and more people are shopping through eCommerce. It really is the truth that the new normal is shopping online and having the convenience of shipping to your door becomes mainstream. With where I work now I have seen so many eCommerce companies succeed and also fail with the unfortunate circumstances of bad choices. This is something that I really don’t like to see. So today I want to go over some things that I saw failing companies do and areas they ignored which actually ended up costing them enough money to begin a downward spiral. The thing is that where you shop for bags and boxes can have a massive impact on your bottom line. The revenue savings from purchasing your basic baseline products that you know you are going to use can be the difference between success and instant failure.
The first thing I always tell people when they are getting into eCommerce is to understand that every item they sell will be shipped. They all laugh and think I am talking really basic, but I then like to go into the fact that shipping supplies make and break companies. When competition is tight and maybe you are facing 300 people in the same industry then you need to be able to stay ahead of be competitive. So how do you do this? What if those 300 companies are all purchasing the same items from the places you are? Well, then you have to cut corners and find ways to stay ahead to either sell at a lower price or offer a better shipping rate or discount. This is a really big deal and you must know how to do this or you will end up losing in the long run.
The first thing you need to do is to find the best source for all your shipping supplies. Most people fail right here and at this point. They simply do not search hard enough for the best company. Or they don’t negotiate enough for the best deal and they end up losing lots of margins on each and every single item they sell. It certainly is hard to stay competitive when every item you sell loses you some money. What I see the most is that people always shop one of two places.
The first place they shop is a local store. It is really nice to put that you only shop locally and all your products are shipped with local goods. People like this and it can be a selling point. The fact is that it is usually only successful if your local store is an industry leader and able to give you the same discounts and rates as a large nationwide company. This is why most little companies that shop locally end up losing because their rates are twice as high and their options are usually lower.
The next option is Amazon. This is where most people shop and if you are doing this for an office and picking up regular supplies more power to you. But the costs are still higher than you can get elsewhere and people simply give up and concede that convenience is worth more to them. Find a major manufacturer online instead and negotiate until you crush amazon prices. That is my advice and what you should attempt to do.
I have been in a whole lot of different industries throughout my career. It has led me down many paths and some of them were revolved around manual labor and other management. The joy of being able to be in many different industries and jobs is that you get to learn how to deal with a variety of situations. This year I am glad for my past experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has led to such a change in our economy and the way that we do business that my past experiences have come in handy. Our company has shifted to doing some extra marketing tasks in-house. This meant that my knowledge of past shipping supplies and how to utilize them came in handy.
We ended up having to order all the products directly and put our own marketing together. This was a task that needed some past warehouse knowledge in order to get down what we needed. Working and managing a warehouse led me to understand how manual processes and ordering of products in bulk can be the difference between success and failure. The reason I knew this was because I had taken a warehouse department at an auto dealership more efficient one summer while I was going to college. It was a great job for the summer and it was my goal to do such a good job that they would hire me back summer after summer.
I learned that understanding that the way a job was done could be money saving. This was done by watching different people do the same job. I learned that some people did things because they were told to do them and some would do what they wanted. I asked people than to do the job differently than normal and I tracked the type of products they used, the location they did the work, and how much time it took them. I then found the most efficient way by seeing people with experience and those without expereince do that same job. From there I was able to track the tape, boxes, and labels that were used and how much of each product was used. This allowed me to figure out the most efficient way for tasks to be done. I then created systems after seeing what worked best and had the teams follow those systems. I walked them through how each step saved their time, and the store’s money and didn’t penalize them for doing more.
This whole lesson taught me how to take out the marketing department in-house and work on finding the best products and best way to put our projects together. Then I went shopping for the best shipping supplies stores and found the best deal for our company. It is not an easy task to then take what you know and justify it to a board of directors. So I had to price out local stores to see what they could give us. Then I went on Amazon to see what deals were available for our products and the time and cost of shipping involved. When I went to major online retailers I was able to get the best deals and costs and justify it to the board with proof. I hope these tips help your company thrive through the pandemic as well.
This year we had a pretty good year. Our company is based online and most of our work is ecommerce or services done for ecommerce companies. This allowed us to be very efficient and relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies moved into this area as well and it was a wonderful boost to us. But even though our company does most of our work online we also benefited from some in person work. The surprise for us was how much money we were able to save on our own shipping costs by buying the correct quantities of shipping supplies and from the right locations.
The first thing to know is that we ship different products out for our clients as a part of our company. We even do it for our own marketing a little as well. This is a small part of what we do but we found that it does take up a good amount of some budgets we have set aside and looking back on our previous purchases we learned a few things.
We learned that our company was spending more on letters, boxes, and especially tape then we ever thought we would. The quantities were a bit sporadic and we decided to really focus on the quantity of each item we used and the cost involved. We then took two months of data and planned out the amount of tape we would need. We started to look at the amount we used per box and label. The extra tape we used for each label was actually just as much as each box. When it got down to the cost of sticky labels vs tape the labels were much cheaper. We then looked at tape and saw that we were taping each box multiple times on each seam. This showed us that the tape we were using was not effective on its own. So we then found out that there are different thicknesses of tape which equates to strength. This was interested because we talking to a shipping supplies store which told us the difference and the price of the thicker tape was not nearly as much as using twice as much of the thinner tape. Just this little tip alone saved us thousands off our marketing budget each month and that is a pretty penny over a year. Then we found out another quantity which helped us.
The boxes that we were using were actually not the correct size or the thickness we needed. Our products we were shipping were very light and the boxes we had were rated for much more than we needed. Now since we had two months of data we took the number of boxes and bought a big bulk amount of a thinner less expensive corrugated box. This allowed us to get a better looking package at a much discounted rate per box.
The big deal was knowing. The knowledge of cost of what we were doing and the reason why we were using each product really added up in the end and now our past q3 was much more lean and fiscally responsible. Plus we took all that extra savings and gave a bonus to all those people involved. Yes it was our entire department, but it was still a big thank you to the people who took the extra time to learn why we were spending more. Now for the next quarter that will all go to savings and be reinvested in our company.
If you own a truck there is an inevitable time that you will get a call from a family member or someone you have not seen in a long time before. That call will always go, “Hey how are you? Guess what we did” then they will talk about their new move and somehow wind down to the idea that don’t you have a truck? Yes, you will say and at some point they will have asked if you were free on a certain weekend and you said no. Well bam, they got you and you are now helping them move. This is a good thing and can really help people out but sometimes all those shipping supplies in your truck can destroy it. So I want to go over a few ways to save your truck from getting toasted while moving all those shipping supplies.
One thing to know is that cardboard can scratch the heck out of your truck. I have seen it happen when things get thrown in and they are very heavy they protrude. So this means that if you don’t have a bed liner you need to make one.
It is a pretty easy solution and a few large blankets or towels can actually stop a whole lot of scratches from happening. I do suggest strapping them down with a net or straps when the truck is loaded up. THey will fly around if not secured. The nets that made for truck beds and moving are really cheap but are made of bunjy and work well.
Now there are usually the odd items that are heavy that get put in the truck. This could be an elliptical or tv stand. These usually find a way of scratching the outside of the truck paint. I suggest getting some painters tape and layering it on the sides of your truck bed on the exterior. Yes this adds a layer 5 of protection that can help those scratches not happen. Once you get this done it doesn’t stick or scratch the paint when getting it off. THat is a super nice cheap way to save your truck from looking like it just went through a war.
After that just be available and be the one moving things in and out. Be vocal and wise about how to move things in and be nice. Niceness and good direction are usually the best way to save your truck from moving pains.
The older I get the more useful I am finding all the random things in my garage to be. I remember my dad having so many what seemed like useless tools or rolls of things in the garage growing up and now I am starting to see how useful all of those crazy things were. Owning a home has changed my perspective on many things and one of those is the amounts of tape that are needed to keep a home in running order. So these simple kinds of shipping supplies that kind are found at your average grocery or hardware store and I think most people who own a home need them.
The most important tape to have on hand in my opinion is actually going to be packing tape. This is literally a tape used for shipping supplies, but I find it being super useful in the home. I like this tape because it is clear and is very strong. Packing tape has been used for corrugated boxes for a very long time and holds lots of weight. This makes it versatile to me and I find myself going for his tape the most. I really think everyone should have a few rolls on hand just because you never know what you will need it for.
The next one I am going to talk about is the classic tape that everyone talks about. That is duct tape. This tape is very old and people have always associated it with the idea that it was created for taping ducts. But the original reason duct tape was created was actually war. This tape was created for World War II and was used to seal ammo cans from the elements. They found that not only was it very waterproof, but very durable and that it actually stuck and patched lots of things.
It became legendary in the Army and soldiers ended up bringing it home with them and it transitioned into a tape that was then turned from green to grey and used for ducts. It is super useful for home and work. I have foundmyself taping a paintbrush to an extended pole just to be able to paint at a very high location at home. The tape not only held the brush in place, but allowed me to put lots of pressure on it to paint super high areas on my house and it help like I had put a nail in it. So get yourself some tape and go and live life at home happier!
The time has come, you have put in your offer and it was accepted. The finances went through and you just finished closing. Do you know what I am talking about now? Buying a home and finally getting to the stage of moving into it. This is a complicated and yet sometimes stressful and simplistic time. The idea of moving all your things from one place to another sounds simple and in theory it really is, but there are some things that need to be taken into account to help lessen the stress and hardship involved.
It seems that having some things on hand are really useful. I find that stocking up on shipping supplies is a big step in the moving process. So what kind of shipping supplies should you have on hand? I think lots of cardboard boxes are a great start. But many are not taped or need to be retaped depending on their use.
So get lots of packing tape to go along with them and you never know when those can come in handy for making barriers between items so they don’t get scratched or even items and vehicles for that matter. It is also important to make sure some things don’t move and tape can be very handy for that. Scotch tape or panters tape is very useful for drawers you don’t plan on taking out before you move. Keeping them from sliding out can save much damage from occurring on expensive furniture.
It is also important to have an idea of how many boxes you will need beforehand and this is a complicated process. I find that you should walk through your current location and pretend in your head to figure out how many boxes you may need. This then correlates to how many you will need to buy and also what vehicles you will need to travel with them to the new home.
Now that you know how many boxes you may use and have planned out all the items you will be moving it is important to have a way to move them to your newly purchased home. Many people like to ask friends with trucks and large vans to help, but some people are not as lucky and don’t have friends who have large vehicles or a trailer they could use. So other options are rental vehicles and Uhal is a big company that is usually in most cities.
The retail market is a vast and complicated conglomerate of products and procedures that come together to create a business. The thousands if not millions of things that have to come together for a single company to even sell a pencil is rather amazing. Now imagine a new company selling thousands of items and need millions of things to go right every single day in order for them to be successful. It is a profound and powerful thoughts and is one of the great marvels of modern society. Today companies can start from nothing and begin the complicated process of being successful and have lots of options and opportunities in order to do it. So I want to go over some of my favorite things that have allowed my shipping department to get the best shipping supplies for the job.
Trial and error. This is one of the most important parts of the shipping process. Lots of things can go wrong. The wrong products can be sent or the worst retail error of all. The security tags are still on products that were sent to a customer with no way of removing them. So having processes in place to take care of this takes time and effort.
It also usually takes mistakes. So give yourself some room for error. Bad things will happen and you will have to deal with them. Plan ahead and prepare to also be able to replace things that go wrong. So if for some reason you are using boxes instead of bags for your shipping supplies be prepared to switch them. Sometimes it is better to use one medium over another and the reasons can be endless.
Cost can be a big reason for making changes to
items. If you find out that shipping
cost 4 dollars less to use a bag than a box then that is something to keep in
mind. But what if a bag is a dollar more
per item than a box? Well there is still a three dollar difference between the
two. But then take into account the
damage rate of products. Have some
arrived damaged in a bag vs a box and if so how many. How much was the damage wand was that enough
to offset the 3 dollar difference each time you ship an item out. These calculations are very important and
must be thought through in order to understand the actual cost and best
supplies to get.
Back in my college days I have the pleasure of working in lots of different roles. The summers were filled with many different opportunities and jobs in lots of different industries. One year I had the opportunity to work in the auto industry. I found myself working at an Porsche dealer and found myself in the parts department. My jobs was to manage the entire parts department and keep all the inventory in stock and in its proper location. This unique opportunity lead me to become good friends with lots of different parts of the business world and not just the auto industry. I found right off the bat that being friends with the local delivery companies was paramount to having a shop that ran well.
Knowing what type of shipping boxes would work best in multiple
situations was also key. I found that talking with my local FedEx and UPS
delivery driver was a crazy amount of knowledge. They understood warehouses and what made good
ones work. The vast knowledge was worth
taking time out of my day to be friends with them and get to know different
aspects of their life. They were able to
walk me through different ways to ship items to be the most efficient. They
also told me their preferences as driver and deliverers as to how they were
able to load their truck and keep items the safest.
In tern, I was able to take their advice and purchase the best shipping boxes possible. It lead me to spending less on damaged parts and overall a more efficient parts department. The cost of many of the high end sports parts I was purchasing and shipping across the country was in some times extravagant. The cost of fenders and wheels for racing vehicles was nearly always in the thousands and having them arrive damaged would cost much more than the cost of proper packaging. These small details meant the return rate for my products went way down to a nearly non existent percentage.
I was able to save thousands of dollars in a single summer and it lead to rave reviews from my supervisors. From there I was able to take their praise and get a higher paying position for the next summer. In tern, I was able to hand off my process to the company and give them a sustainable way of decreasing their costs on a yearly basis. It was a great job to have and much experience was gained at it.
If you had asked me if I would ever have an interest in knives five years ago I would have laughed and thought you were really weird. But alas, times have changed. I found myself enjoying the outdoors more and thanks to my father gifting me a knife I thought was crazy at the time I have thrive outside. Now I regularly hunt and backpack and have found it very rewarding. I have also found myself making lots of money buying and selling knives on the second hand market. It is a passion that has been driven by adventure and profit over the last several years. I have also ran into some interesting experiences when sending knives in the mail.
It is indeed imperative that you use the proper
shipping supplies when mailing important gear and specifically knives. One might think that it’s ok to send them
like any other item, in the box and it will simply be fine. After all these tools are made of steel and
handle materials that are meant to withstand impacts. The issue is that they are meant to withstand
impacts only in certain ways. So if the
box gets dropped on the truck or thrown around in the factory and the knife
shifts it can damage it. I have had
several knives come to be with broken tips.
This is a failure on the packer of the box and a lack of proper shipping
So what are some of the most important steps. The first is to ship the knife and sheath wrapped separately. This can be done by taking the blade and wrapping it in a cardboard sleeve. Most people will not have one so it can be made by cutting another box and wrapping the blade with the cardboard. Then you tape it closed. Fold it over the blade and apply lots of tape to it won’t cut anything. Also add another piece of cardboard to the end so the point has a place to land if the box is dropped. Then place the knife in the proper shipping box and add a small piece of wood to the end where the point is.
This gives a second layer of protection. Since wood is soft yet hard enough to stop the blade, if the box is dropped the tip will go into the wood and not through the box and onto the ground. This lessens the impact and keeps the tip from being broken in shipping. Those are the most important parts of shipping a knife.
Every single year, I remind myself to hold onto some of my old cardboard boxes and shipping boxes. From one year to the next, I do a pretty good job about swapping out older boxes for those that are newish, especially if I happened to order something large online that comes in a big box I can use around the holidays.
What’s funny is that I never would’ve gotten into
this habit if it weren’t for my mom stashing away hundreds (seriously,
hundreds) of boxes from one year to the next, all for the sake of the holidays.
Of course, it helped that she worked at the post office all her life, meaning
there was no shortage of cardboard around our house growing up. Still, having
so many boxes on hand meant she could sift through what she had available and
find the perfect size and shape of box for whatever it was she was wrapping.
Thus, I got into the habit of collecting
cardboard for the purpose of using around the winter holidays. But what started
as a collection for gift giving soon turned out to be far more useful
throughout the rest of the year for other various scenarios.
For example, having a handful of decent sized
shipping boxes meant I could make a little storage area in my basement that
helped clear up a LOT of clutter in our home. We’ve also been able to utilize
our cardboard whenever we go camping, go to music festivals, and go to family
functions that required us taking a lot of hot food that couldn’t be spilled in
the vehicle en route to the function.
Whether you’re using your cardboard for gift
wrapping or other things around your own home, holding onto cardboard and
reusing it throughout the year is actually a super great thing for the sake of
sustainability and being environmentally friendly. You don’t have to ascribe to
that line of thinking year around, especially if you’ve never bothered to
recycle or care about the environment that much. Nonetheless, reusing your
older materials for future things is an amazing way to reduce your waste on a
yearly basis, and it’s something you should feel proud about even if you
weren’t intentionally doing it in the first place. Sometimes your actions do
good without you realizing it, and that’s definitely something you can feel
good about no matter what your intentions were.