Does anyone use Royal Mail Click and Drop in a busy warehouse?

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by DanH, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Hi, does anyone process many orders a day e.g. 100+ via Click and Drop and if so, how efficient have you got it?

    Looking at it vs OBA it seems very clunky especially getting labels off speedily and having to weigh each item.

    At the moment our process is:
    1. Import orders from the various ecommerce channels into our offline system which produces pick lists.
    2. Warehouse pick the orders in groups of x order pick lists.
    3. For each pick list confirmed, the integrated address labels/invoices are printed off and stuck on the orders and then into the Royal Mail bags.
    4. At the end of the day we complete our OBA and the post van collects.
    The problem parts for me is the weighing of each item and getting that information to Click and Drop (most likely CSV) plus the time it would take to output a pick list worth of Click and Drop labels (which currently take seconds once a pick list is confirmed) to stick on the orders.

    Any insights into busy Click and Drop usage would be appreciated!

    Thanks

    Dan
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    While we don't use a warehouse any more, we can do 100+ a day.

    The only items need weighing are ones we haven't had ordered before. Over time the ones you have weighed build up in the database and you don't repeat the weights.
    I have a little scales next to me and pull the items needing weights - yesterday it was 7 new items and could estimate them pretty well anyway. For bigger items I weigh on the postal scales and use that.

    Printing takes a little time, I do printouts in batches so we don't have missing prints or reprints needing to be done. 100 items can take as much as 15 minutes.

    My wife makes a list of items to pull, using her tablet. All items have codes, many have sku set as item location too making things a little easier.

    Between the house and 2 storage containers there are plenty of places to look. Don't want to spend long looking.

    Wife and I like to pack in groups - so all of the belt buckles, then all of the gun barrels, then all of the mobile phone cases and so on.
    Also means she can carry on packing while I bring her the next lot of stuff to her packing station.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. Yellow Square Motor Parts

    Yellow Square Motor Parts UKBF Regular Free Member

    156 35
    As above, you're only weighing the item the first time after that it's in the system. All electronic customs info is also remembered so nothing manual to do there either.

    You should be able to get it running efficiently.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2020 By: Yellow Square Motor Parts Member since: Sep 29, 2016
    #3
  4. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks for the replies.

    Maybe I mis-read what the field manager told me but I thought that the weight needed to be the specific weight of each package with packaging/void fill etc. Whilst our system already has the product weights built in, the final package weight will the different depending on the packaging used (we use an awful lot of recycled packaging here so it is not consistent) and how it was packed.

    Based on what you've both said it would appear I could just feed it the typical product weights (it can be changeable as there are cosmetics involved that don't always weigh the same from batch to batch) and possibly a nominal packaging weight...what weights are you feeding Click and Drop?

    Thanks

    Dan
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    Some of what we have has minor variations. While a toy fort is 820g every time the tin of 50 sweets can be a few grams different.
    Once entered we only change the weights if item is multiple order. Say customer orders 1 of an item and it's 150g total, next customer orders 3 of that item - but 3 with packaging is not the same as 3 items each packed then put together. 3 may be 320g.

    I have a small list of the most common groups with weights so can override without bothering to weigh the bigger items. Small items I use the scales by me anyway.

    The royal mail system is designed to make some things easier for you. Enter an average weight and it uses that from then onwards. Work with the system not against it.

    Each of us comes up with own processes to speed up prep work, packaging etc.
    Take the entire process of getting the order out. Break it down to each point. Look at the processes used at each point. See what can be speeded up or where improvement needs to be looked at.

    Can be as simple as changing box to envelope or as slow as pre prepping certain items during slow times to make it just put in box and add dunnage for the packer. We have some stuff like that - well packed in bubble wrap weeks ago.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks again Mr D,

    We have 20 years worth of efficiencies built in and I can't quite see this being as quick as what we already have other than remove the need for OBA. Whilst the picking process will be the same, if we have to start weighing all packages (or assessing whether it needs an average weight override) in a nuancey way and adding wait times to produce labels that are typically produced in seconds rather than minutes, then it could get problematic for us and we currently can't afford a lot more time or more staff.

    Are you using CSVs to send data to Click and Drop to print out the labels? For example, and following our existing process, if we confirmed a pick list and our system produced a CSV of addresses per pick list which could then be uploaded to Click and Drop to produce the labels, say 10 orders worth, how long might that take? You did say 100 orders could take 15 minutes but is it any quicker, pro rata, on smaller runs?

    When I look at systems like this, the sensible option could be to pack everything and batch print all Click and Drop labels in a one-er, but then you'd be storing 100 or so boxes in a way that you then somehow pair up the label with it later...which I can't quite see working for us.

    In case you are wondering, I am trying my best to liaise with RM over alternatives like their API Shipping which could be integrated into our system. However, Royal Mail seem to be trying their best to drag their heels over getting any information over to me in a meaningful time. Plus there always sees to be a lack of anyone who knows how anything works in Royal Mail, hence me having to ask questions here with people who actually use it!

    Thanks

    Dan
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #6
  7. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    I generally don't use CSVs for that element of the business.

    I had a phone cover to do this morning - I know the specs of it so simply entered the weight I know the others of same make are. Typically seconds to do each item when weight already entered, slightly longer for where I have to get a weight.
    I have two at the moment I have to use the commercial scales on - so have left them for a bit and will get 4 or 5 done later in one go.

    I do my printing in batches of 4 - so 10 items would be 3 batches (or 2 if I do 5 at a time).
    I create the pdf, then click on all the pdf's in turn, then click print on each one. While I am clicking print on the next one the previous one starts printing next to me.
    I count the prints as they are produced by sound - any error I can figure out what needs redoing quickly.

    I just go into the click & drop screen, pick an item - it already has weight and postage type set up - and click to apply postage. It is literally a couple of seconds for that bit.
    System produces pdf while I'm working on next one.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #7
  8. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks Mr D, where is the customer address coming from in your scenario? I'm guessing you're not handraulically typing them in?
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #8
  9. MarkOnline

    MarkOnline UKBF Regular Free Member

    121 41
    Mr D How do you get time to pack? You're on here 14 hours a day! In answer to the OP, we send out approx 4200 orders a week using click and drop. It runs smoothly every day.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: MarkOnline Member since: Apr 25, 2020
    #9
  10. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    Depends what needs packing.
    Today my wife started about 3.20 and has almost finished. Just her packing today.
    Another day we may both be packing for an hour.

    Our quickest items are about 3 packed a minute. Item, invoice, put in envelope, seal, put label on front, next ....
    With 2 of us we can get through 60 of those type of orders in 10 minutes.

    Usually a mix of items.

    We send between 100 and 1000 orders a week out - in spare time.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #10
  11. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks everyone...Mark, can I ask what your pick/pack process looks like? Also, is C&D integrated with anything or are you using CSV uploads to populate addresses?

    Thanks

    Dan
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #11
  12. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    Royal mail.
    They pull the details of the order through.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #12
  13. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks, I'm being a bit thick here (wouldn't be the first time), how do RM know the order details in the first place?
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #13
  14. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    From the website where customer has ordered.

    When you log onto C&D - number 4 across upper part of screen, integrate your online stores.

    Hopefully your website type is among the ones that can be integrated.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #14
  15. MarkOnline

    MarkOnline UKBF Regular Free Member

    121 41
    We print out customer invoices and address labels then match the invoice and address label and staple the two together ( so they never get separated until actually being packed). We then prioritise the invoices so that any which require more production time (such as personalisation) are processed first, along with next day and other priority mail options.
    The quick pick and pack product orders are sent to packing and the product order matched to the invoice then packed, once packed we remove the address label from the invoice and attach to packaging and insert invoice into package then seal and put in collection sack per postage group.

    Wash and repeat. Depending on order mix, once the quick pick and pack orders are done personalised orders are starting to arrive in packing area for final matching and quality control before being packed the same way as the quick pick items. We use a kanban card system for our "stock" pick and pack lines to make sure we never run out of product.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: MarkOnline Member since: Apr 25, 2020
    #15
  16. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    We find printing the packing slip and address on one sheet works for us. Integrated label paper.

    But each to their own.

    The important thing is what works for one business - and they are happy with it.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #16
  17. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Thanks Mark, so your address labels come out before they've been picked.

    The way we do it now is our system produces a pick list of x orders put into numbered pick boxes per order. Once picked, the pick list is confirmed on our system which then prints out the invoice/address label combination document. This is then put in the relavant pick box with its order which is all packed at the same time. he they're put in the relevant Royal Mail sacks. I can't quite see our system working in reverse, the address part would need to be done after the pick list has been confirmed.

    Mr D, regarding wesbite integration with C&D we have a mixed bag here. We have a woocommerce installation, an ageing x-cart, we sell on Amazon and we have Linnworks to link all these together for order collation and shared inventory purposes where it talks to our offline ERM.

    Most of these channels will link up to C&D however our offline system, that pretty much manages our business/warehousing etc would need some development to get it to 'talk' to C&D. I could look instead at the various integration with most of the channels...but not all. Linnworks connects them all and pruports to integrate with C&D so I might look there. I'm just trying to work out the 'on the ground' logistics to see how it might work on a practical level first.
     
    Posted: Dec 3, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #17
  18. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    We have ebay and OnBuy linked to C&D - so everything through the one place.
    Haven't used Linnworks for several years, didn't find they were that good back in the day when dealing with 4 sites worth of orders. It would tell me 19 orders, I'd be looking at 35 ebay ones.
     
    Posted: Dec 3, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #18
  19. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Posted: Dec 3, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #19
  20. DanH

    DanH UKBF Contributor Free Member

    80 4
    Hi, not getting much information from RM currently...which is normal for RM!

    I'm trying to 'test' Click and Drop so have signed up for an account. However, it requires connecting to our OBA account. If I let them do that, does that somehow force us to use Click and Drop from that point or can we still do OBA the normal way and coterminously test Click and Drop?

    Following on from that, can one 'test'/sandbox use Click and Drop to dummy run the processing of uploading orders and printing labels or is it all 'live' at that point?
     
    Posted: Dec 4, 2020 By: DanH Member since: Jan 5, 2010
    #20