Supplier instructions for packing and labeling
Working with overseas suppliers requires clear and explicit instructions. If your suppliers can correctly pack and label your inventory, it will make receiving it into any fulfillment center much easier. It is typically more cost effective to label at the point of origin (manufacturer) than at the destination (fulfillment center).
If your suppliers have asked for guidelines for packing and labeling, a good place to start is just send them the link to this page.
Supplier Introduction to Shipwire:
Shipwire provides merchants access to a global network of fulfillment centers for storage and shipping. Both, direct-to-consumer (B2C) or wholesale (B2B). To help alleviate receiving headaches and ensure efficiency, we want to outline a few expectations for how merchandise should be packed and labeled so that it can be received by Shipwire.
- B2C: Business to Customer. Shipping out individual units directly to an individual online buyer. Usually ships one of our parcel shipping options such as UPS or Fedex.
- B2B: Business to Business. Shipping out a large, bulk amount of units or more likely inner packs and master cases to a business or reseller. Shipwire offers outbound freight options.
- SKU: A shippable unit that stands for “Stock Keeping Unit“. A SKU can be an base product, an inner pack or a master case.
- Outbound Shipping:
- Pre-packaged and Ready-to-Ship: A term to describe a SKU that is already in a shipping package and only requires a label to be placed on it and shipped.
- Non Pre-packaged and Ready-to-Ship: A term used to describe a SKU that requires the warehouse to pick 1 or more items that are then placed in a shippable package for outbound shipping.
- Master Cases: These are shippable units (usually wholesale) that contain a set number of individual SKUs. Example of Master Cases.
- Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN): Shipwire subscribers create ASNs which tell Shipwire what inventory is coming, when to expect it and how it is packed. Suppliers may get an ASN # and Packing list for an ASN from a Shipwire Subscriber. Another way of looking at this is that the ASN is your confirming packing list to your supplier (could be manufacturer or manufacturer’s agent).
- Kitting: Bundling together different SKU’s (individual items) into a new SKU (Kit). Example, taking 3 individual DVD SKU’s and creating a 4th SKU that is a 3-pack.
- Qualified Receiving: An inbound receiving that can be processed within our service level terms because it was scheduled, accurate to the packing list and had clear and obvious labeling.
How inventory is packaged is critically important to the storage and outbound shipping process. Shipwire recommends using a hierarchical master case structure to ensure the maximum outbound shipping options (individual or wholesale) at the least cost.
For individual shippable units we recommend:
- That any item be in retail packaging, poly bag, outside enclosure or some type of cardboard package. This will allow for an SKU Label or bar code to be put on the item without having to apply it directly to the product itself.
- Apparel be in a poly bag or an envelope that can be labeled. Polybags also protect your apparel from dust so they arrive at the buyer clean.
- Each individual shippable item should be labeled. More on labels below.
- Individual units should generally be packaged in inner packs and master cases. Shipping a single inner pack or master case counts as an item shipment, just as much as an individual base product. Therefore, when shipping wholesale, it is much cheaper to ship inner packs than individual items.
If you need hang-tags or packaging done by the fulfillment center, please attach a Project to your ASN inbound receiving notification.
Kitting is typically more cost effectively done at your supplier. Shipwire does offer Kitting services at the time of receiving.
Any individual unit that enters the fulfillment center for receiving must be labeled with the SKU. Before adding products or sending inventory to Shipwire, read about SKUs (what they are, how to create them and manage them).
If you use a barcode, it should be the SKU ID with no additional characters.
If you need items labeled, we offer this service as an hourly Project at the time of receiving. It is typically more cost effective to have label placed on inventory at the time of manufacture.
- Every individual SKU must be labeled
- Every bulk SKU (master case or inner pack) must be labeled. There should never be an item, whether a base product or inner pack/master case that does not have a clear SKU label on it.
- Labels should be placed on the packaging of the item, not the actual item itself (see packaging above)
- The SKU on the label must match the Product SKU as defined in the Shipwire System.
- Labels should be placed in an obvious and consistent easy to find place on the outer packaging.
- Make sure your labels use a good adhesive and don’t come off easily. If labels come off the packaging, the products will not be identifiable and inventory discrepancies may result.
Note, that most cross shipping is caused by confusing labels or labels not being in a clear and consistent place on the package. You should make it easy to find and legible. If your products come in with labeling errors or labels can’t be easily found we will ask you to run a Project to clean up the labels before we receive inventory.
Packing with Packing Lists and ASN’s
Organizing your inbound product and packing in an organized fashion with clear an obvious master carton hierarchy will result in the fastest receiving and minimize any errors.
- Your packing list should be crystal clear and show exactly how many packages, cartons, and/or containers are coming to Shipwire and the contents of each package.
- Supplier packing list should be confirmed against the ASN submitted.
- You can print an expected packing list when you create an ASN.
- Proper ASN Label
- “Your Company Name” appears as the Recipient. Sorry, “Shipwire Distribution” cannot be used.
- The ASN #, or Advanced Shipping Notice number, must appear either below the Recipient name, or clearly defined elsewhere on the documentation.
- The fulfillment center address must be for the proper fulfillment center location. Please do not reuse fulfillment center address information previously provided, as it may change.
- All this information is provided in the printed ASN confirmation and packing list for your ASN.
Other Relevant Topics:
- Timeline for working with suppliers
- Sending inventory to Shipwire
- Qualified receiving guidelines
- Wholesale and Shipping in bulk
- Scheduling a container
- Projects that can be done on products during receiving.