When it comes to small shipments, including excess baggage, unaccompanied luggage and parcels, groupage or consolidated container services are the most dominant services in the industry. Loose consolidation provides the most efficient use of container capacity. The principals are the same around the world though not all countries in the world have proper custom regulations for importing consolidated household shipments. Here are the main phases of a small groupage shipment:
A local crew does a pickup and brings the load to a local warehouse. Sometimes the same crew picks up multiple loads before arriving at the warehouse. Typically, the pickup is small and often times pieces are pre packed and event inventoried by the shipper.
The packed pieces get palletized or loaded into storage vaults. Pallets and storage vaults locations get recorded in a warehouse system and a pallet/storage label is produced to identify the job.
The pieces are loose loaded into a sea container.
Upon arrival at a destination partner’s warehouse a container gets de-consolidated and, in the process, each individual shipment’s pieces get palletized or loaded into storage vaults.
The shipment pieces get loaded to a delivery truck, which often times happens to be a third-party trailer that serves a specific route and delivers multiple shipment along the way to its destination.
And finally, the shipment is delivered at destination.
Leaving stress on these hard travelled boxes outside of this discussion, one can see why groupage movers are so keen on getting an inventory control system. At a minimum, there are 6 points of inventory transfer in a described process and traditionally very little computer power controlling the process. And that leads to the “missing pieces” or “misplaced pieces” curse that all groupage movers are all too familiar with.
How do we know all this? Because over the last 20 years we’ve heard many colorful stories about having to fetch a London bound box from Santiago De Chile. Some of these movers have turned to Voxme to help set up a digital, barcode based inventory control system to help them be as efficient as possible given the increased volumes and shrinking profit margins.
In a nutshell what Voxme system does is blend the right doze of technology into the established process. In practical terms it means:
Printing labels for the crews going to pickups.
Dispatching inventory jobs to the crews’ tablets and smartphones - that’s right, smartphones. No need to buy any special equipment.
Allowing the pickup crews to label boxes and quickly create a packing list with the sufficient level of content details, preexisting damage descriptions and photos to avoid mix-ups and insurance claims.
Printing more labels in the warehouse when the crews come back from pickup.
Scanning pieces in a warehouse, be it onto pallets, storage vaults or oversized items areas and Printing full size pallet and storage labels.
Scanning inventory out of the warehouse into a sea container.
Dispatching warehouse receive-in and delivery jobs to the destination agent for electronic inventory check-off during de-consolidation and delivery bingo check-off.
Does it mean that you have to do all of the above? Absolutely not. You can start with simple digital inventory and go from there. Talk to us and we’ll help you add efficiency and control to your established paper based processes. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years.