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Create Your Own Dispatch Station

Updated 11/06/2020
Person adding finishing touches to shipping box

A dedicated fulfilment station is a must for your home business. It can keep you organised and make dispatch a breeze, or it can lead to order mix-ups and delayed delivery. Say goodbye to packing confusion, get started streamlining your processes with these simple tips.

Building Your Station

Photo by: Clarkston SCAMP

Whether you're working with a lot of space or a little, it's important to build a station that fits your needs and constraints. Here's tips on creating the perfect area for your workspace.

If you have a small space

Find some sizable boxes or bins that can accommodate your supplies. Nice looking, sturdy ones will make your packaging station feel less cluttered and are better suited to withstand frequent use. They can go in a closet, under a table, or use them as the desk itself! Depending on the types of bins you get, you may also want to look into organisers or dividers to further organise the contents.

Once you have all your supplies, consider sorting the contents and bins by type – branded materials (logos and packaging stickers) in one, dispatch supplies (tissue paper, ribbon, bubble mailers) in another, and a third for supplies (shipping label paper, scissors, tape). If you can, keep the bins in an order that's sequential and easy to follow. Remember to still put care into the packaging, you're ultimately creating your customer's unboxing experience.

Pro tip: If you buy supplies in bulk, place a small sample at your desk and store the rest out of the way. Don't take up essential space with things you don't need to access every day.

If you have a larger space

Space permitting, consider investing in a metal or wooden shelving unit for openly displaying your supplies. Having the supplies in front of you on shelves can make finding necessities easier, rather than digging through tucked away boxes. Think in terms of maximising your space – consider tall furniture with lots of storage or desks with built in cabinets and cubbies. Then, organise your materials. Group similar items together and arrange them for maximum efficiency. Don't be afraid to place things you use less frequently on higher shelves or in a tucked away location so they're still accessible but not in the way.

Stocking Your Station

Table with all of the necessary shipping and packaging supplies

Depending on what you sell, your fulfilment station may require specific supplies. Fragile candles call for different packing materials than bath bombs or wine bottles. For any product though, there are a list of basics everyone needs. Use the following suggestions as a benchmark for stocking your work-from-home area.

Supply List

  • Bubble wrap
  • Product labels
  • Shipping boxes and/or padded envelopes
  • Backing boards
  • Shrink wrap or wrapping paper
  • Packing tape and dispenser
  • Scissors and/or razor blade
  • Printer
  • Shipping scale
  • Box stickers (thanks for your business, etc)

Branded Packaging Supply List

  • Tissue paper
  • Envelope/box seals
  • Branded stickers
  • Business cards

Tailor these lists to meet your needs and don't forget to take inventory every so often. Having a detailed list of your materials can prevent you from running out in an emergency. We also recommend buying them in bulk to save money and ensure you're always fully stocked.

Creating a Standard Operating Procedure

Person creating checklist

Make a step-by-step checklist of your packaging process so every order gets packaged the same way. Creating that standard operating procedure (SOP) will help guarantee each delivery meets your packaging vision and looks professional and on-brand.

Don't have a packaging vision yet? Test some packaging styles out until you find one that suits your business, budget, and products.

Running a business is difficult but there are always creative ways to streamline your process and save money. Don't let shipping and packaging be the thing that slows you down.

Use the tips above to build a fulfilment station that makes order processing and delivery quick and painless. Learn more about product packaging to make the most out of your delivery. This is also applicable for subscription box businesses in addition to traditional ecommerce brands.

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