How to plan shipping for your new product launch
Your workflows and processes are the tools your business depends on to maintain high standards in operation. It’s important to ensure they are continuing to work smoothly—without errors and being time and cost-effective. An audit and assessment of your shipping practices can save your business money in the long run and catch mistakes where funds can be immediately recuperated.
Launching a new product takes detailed planning, from research to execution, and developing the product’s shipping plan is no different.
Customers have high expectations for shipping, to receive their orders fast and cost-effectively. To stay competitive, it is becoming increasingly important for shippers to examine this part of their supply chain. When it comes to launching new products, shippers should use this as an opportunity to ensure they are getting the service and rates they need.
Here are 5 steps to preparing to ship a new product.
1 Know your specifications and shipping needs
Offering a completely new product often means having new specifications to navigate, different from other products you sell.
Look at the product’s dimensions and weight, which can each influence shipping costs. The total weight of the package is affected by the way an item is packed to keep it secure, with foam or other cushioning, or dunnage for palletized LTL freight. Some of these factors may be dictated by the product completely, or you may have room to explore ways to keep the cost down with different options.
If the new product has any type of hazardous material—for example, batteries, portable chargers, refrigerant gasses, aerosols, essential oils, or paints, to name a few—it could have special requirements to comply with regarding packaging, labeling, and documentation.
2 Consider other products affected
A new product may affect the needs of related products you sell. Before contacting carriers for your new shipping needs, look for any secondary changes to your needs occurring on account of the new product.
- Is the new product launch coinciding with a design change in another product?
- Is the new product bundled with another product? Does it make sense to change how they are packaged?
- Does it make sense to switch other products from parcel shipping to LTL with the new product?
To maintain a cost-effective shipping plan after adding your new product, take a closer look at your previous shipping needs in the context of the new product and make additional changes as necessary.
3 Know your shipping volume
It’s important to have an accurate idea of your current shipping volume before reaching out to carriers. With this information, carriers know the volume they can expect from you and the rates and discounts they can quote.
You might have a higher volume of shipping projected with the launch of the new product. After the launch, you’ll have more concrete data to work with and possibly negotiate with carriers.
4 Research, negotiate, and select your carriers
Knowing the shipping services you’re seeking—given your needs and volume—you can get rate quotes from different carriers and negotiate between them. To understand how the bottom line may be affected, compare everything from their service levels and pricing structure to accessorial charges.
Select primary and backup carriers according to your specific needs. You may be able to save on shipping costs by utilizing multiple carriers, and this strategy of diversification can also help mitigate risk when carrier capacity is in high demand—as during peak season.
5 Improve operational efficiency
With your carrier plan set up, the last piece to consider is operations and improving efficiency. When time-consuming, repetitive tasks are done manually, they create bottlenecks for your shipping operations. Automation helps save operations time and resources while reducing errors from manual processes. The result is greater productivity and cost savings.
There are many decisions to make when planning for the launch of a new product. By being thorough during planning—and leveraging technology in operations—you can be in a position to easily manage shipping for your new product once it’s launched.
Interested in learning more about scaling your shipping the smarter way as you grow? Check out this blog article to learn more and download our Buyer’s Guide for Shipping Software.