By Mark Porter
The Shipping/Receiving Department in any Bindery or Finisher is a very busy place. Shipments to customers, receipts of printed materials from customers and dies and foils or binding materials from vendors. Delays in any of these activities can cause us to miss deadlines or incur overtime to make up for late items.The better we can manage our shipments and receipts the more profitable our business will be.
Time is critical to Finishers/Binderies. We are last in the production cycle and any slack in the schedule is usually long gone by the time the job reaches us. Any increase in the time we have with the job provides flexibility to deal with it to our advantage.
We can increase our time with jobs several ways.
1. Have an option to generate Shipping documentation with your customers logos on it so you can ship direct to the end user and have it still look like it is coming from the printer. Simply load Company logo files into your customer database. This can provide extra time for you or also help you save the printer's butt by managing to make their customer's delivery date.
2. Tag COD accounts so that shipments for that customer require a supervisor password to generate paperwork. This may not save time but it will lessen the risk of bad debts.
3. Provide Instant E mail notification to our employees and the employees of the printer as soon as items arrive at the shipping dock. This ensures that we as the Finisher/Bindery don't waste any valuable production time simply because we are unaware that goods have been delivered. It also notifies the printer of the exact time you received the goods so there are no unrealistic expectations of delivery based on their assumption of when the goods were delivered.
This also works well with vendors. If we are waiting for a die or spines to be delivered to begin production we will again be notified via an automatic email as soon as the goods are received at the shipping door.
An electronic Receiving log is automatically updated and can be accessed by anyone to ensure all employees are informed.
4. But the best way to maximize our scheduling time is to know about jobs before they arrive. By providing your best customers with internet capabilities to log in materials they are shipping to you maximizes lead time on orders and gives provides them with priority scheduling. The customer can enter items to be shipped, shipping method, estimated time of arrival and comments. You are instantly made aware of those materials and you and the printer will be automatically notified if they have not arrived by the estimated time. When the goods do arrive they can be quickly matched to the predelivery transaction and any comments such as damage or short quantity can be immediately conveyed back to the printer.
This not only maximizes your time with jobs thus allowing you maximium flexibilty in your production schedule but it makes it much more convenient for printers to deal with your company. You start to become a partner to that printer not just another vendor.