how can I improve my shipping skill set
November 13, 2018 12:13 PM   Subscribe

I've taken on the shipping master role within my company. What resources can I find to get better at this?

I handle all the outbound shipping using Fedex primarily, now DHL as a recent addition, plus USPS and sometimes UPS. So, three couriers and the postal system.

We deal in high end recreational goods (bikes) and all the parts, returns and warranty shipments that go along with that niche. We ship all over the world, mostly B2C, but also B2B (dealers).

The courier systems don't seem to have much, if any, investment in training how to be a good shipper They will certainly train you to use their technology, but not the big picture of how it all works as a whole. That's just my impression, not a given.

Domestic shipping is relatively easy within the US. It's the international stuff that breaks the time bank. Customs, HS codes, warranty shipments, warranty's a lot of ground to cover. Then there's hazmat qualifications and regulations for e-bikes with batteries.

Optimally, I'd have a best practice for all likely scenarios with modifications for every country. If Canada/warranty return/NAFTA do 'x' workflow. There's the actual best practice, then there's googling HS codes when it's ship time plus the resulting occasional customs snafu for which I have no practical way to handle except hope the courier can deal with it for me.

I've been getting this done for a couple of years now yet I'm feeling like I don't know enough to be highly effective and get the best results. What forums, classes, mentors, , URL's, and training systems should I be accessing?

By example, is a business specializing in what I do for my company. Using them is not really an option but that level of expertise is what I need to make a run at.
posted by diode to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check your memail.
posted by Carbolic at 9:19 PM on November 13, 2018

There are several details that determine what your needs are, volume of shipping, existing inventory systems, etc. Without more information, I recommend looking for resources for Logistics Management. This link is one example. Most things you find will be combined with Supply Chain Management. There is a publication called Logistics Management that may have education resource recommendations.

For some shipping, especially international, you may want to consider hiring the expertise of a third party logistics provider (3PL) that specializes in small business.

Most of my experience is with Fortune 500/100 companies that have huge supply chain management and transportation management systems, such as General Electric, or Verifone.
posted by Altomentis at 9:51 PM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

For the hazmat part, you want (or, may be legally required to get) RCRA/DOT and maybe HAZWOPER training. Here's one place that does that, Google will find you a couple of others.
posted by Fig at 6:53 AM on November 14, 2018

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