Lost in Transportation: Repercussions of Document Mismanagement
In shipping and transportation, your primary goal is to get items from Point A to Point B. But what happens when the documents associated with your shipments get lost or misplaced before reaching Point B? Or what if you don’t have the required documents to get all of your shipments through customs and processing?
Mismanaging your documents can lead to serious repercussions in the transportation and shipping industry. This guide outlines just a few of the potential hang-ups that can arise when you lose your documents, and how you can avoid facing these issues yourself.
Lost or Misplaced Products
Perhaps the greatest potential impact of mismanaging your documents is misplacing or losing a customer’s shipment. The documents associated with each shipment are vital in ensuring that it ultimately arrives at its intended destination. The commercial invoice, packing list, and shipment instructions are all vital pieces of documentation associated with every shipment you transport. Losing or misplacing even one of these documents can result in packages being misdirected, and ultimately not reaching their destinations.
Though physical copies of these kinds of documents often must be included within the shipments themselves, having electronic versions of each file on hand can help to ensure that none of the vital information the documents contain ever becomes entirely lost to you.
As an example, let’s say that one of your shipping boxes somehow becomes damaged to the point that the shipping label is illegible. If you have an electronic version of the shipping label or shipper’s instructions available on your phone or tablet, you can immediately pull it up and view it to know where the package is headed, and even print a new version to apply to the package. This prevents the package from becoming “lost in transportation” and gets it to its intended destination without delays.
Customers expect to receive their packages on time. If you have promised them a specific delivery date, they will expect to receive their items on or before that date. In order to meet these expectations, you need to ensure that your shipping process is as efficient as possible, and that includes the way that you manage your shipping documents.
In order to ship products quickly and efficiently, you need to have all documents associated with each package easily at your fingertips and organized in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. From the insurance certificate to the shipper’s letter of instruction and everything in between, if the documents are easily available, you can easily get the shipment moving along.
But in addition to delays in processing, document mismanagement can also cause serious delays with customs if shipping internationally. The customs checks for each country can vary, but they all require a long list of documents that must be easily viewed and verified by customs officials. By managing documents efficiently, you can ensure that everything is in order and avoid being held up by customs, no matter where you’re shipping to.
Customs Issues and Fines
In addition to potentially facing delays in customs, document mismanagement also puts you at risk of other complications associated with the customs office, including steep fines for not having the proper documentation in order. For example, if your shipment is missing the certificate of origin, or you have the wrong type of certificate of origin for the contents of the package you’re handling, you can be fined for improper documentation.
The customs office can also refuse to accept your shipment if you don’t have your documents in order. This can cause extensive delays in getting your package to its destination, since the package will be returned to its origin and you must start the transportation process over entirely.
With proper document management, you can ensure that all necessary documentation is always on hand; and if a document does happen to be missing for any reason, it can be much quicker and easier to get the right documents to the customs agent. For example, let’s say that the country you are shipping to needs a notarized certificate of origin instead of the simple statement of origin you have provided. You can get that paperwork ready quickly by having a blank electronic copy on hand, which can then be quickly filled out, notarized, and digitally sent to customs. This will get your package back on track as soon as possible, instead of having to deal with it being denied shipment.
In the shipping and transportation industry, your customers’ satisfaction rests almost solely upon your ability to deliver the right package to the right place at the right time. Delayed deliveries, lost packages, and failure to deliver are all sure to leave you with irate customers, and an unsatisfied customer is highly unlikely to be a returning customer. With proper document management, you can avoid the issues listed above and avoid all of the problems involved with angry customers, like bad online reviews, loss of business, and issuance of refunds.
Additionally, good document management allows you to provide better customer service; with all documents properly in place and integrated with your customer relationship management system, you can quickly and easily answer customer questions about delivery status and other shipping information. This added capability improves customer experience beyond simply delivering packages on time, and you’re more likely to receive good reviews, referrals, and returning customers.
Efficiency is essential in the world of transportation and shipping, but it applies to much more than just the physical transportation of goods. The way you manage your documents and run the administrative end of your business must be just as efficient—if not more efficient. Mismanaging your documents in this industry can have serious repercussions, so if you need a better way to handle all of the paperwork involved with your business, contact an eFileCabinet business efficiency expert. They can show you how to implement a better document management system so that you can avoid the possible repercussions listed above while simultaneously improving your company’s bottom line.
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