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Use Shipstation to manage SHIPPING MATERIALS!

Today we use Shipstation's workflow engine to make shipping box/envelope decisions for us. As an example, if an order comes in that is below 13oz, it would go into a "custom 13oz box" and if it's between 14-16oz it goes into another, and on and on. This has become a fully baked solution for us, and it's working great.

Where we stumble on this is that we have no place to manage our shipping MATERIALS. Not inventory, per se, but actually the count of the boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and such. Maybe it's not worth managing, but for us, if we run out of a certain type of box our shipping costing model changes and it costs us money. So, watching these as products becomes essential.

What I'd like to see is some why for this to happen:

- An order comes in and if it matches a tag/filter/criteria then add a "shipping product" to the order. Then, have Shipstation itself manage the inventory count for these "shipping products," where when the shipping product gets added to an order the shipping inventory would decrement accordingly.

It's important to make the distinction between a PRODUCT and a SHIPPING PRODUCT in this example. Products would be "For Sale" items, items that have channel relationships and can't be modified today. These new "Shipping Products" would be simple parts that we just need to be able to have an at a glance inventory count on. They would be local to Shipstation, and shouldn't have any channel relationships. Shipstation is our shipping application; it makes sense for it to be the manager of shipping parts.

If you kept it local to Shipstation and made it a separate module (again, keeping the separation between a product and a shipping product) then it feels like most of the component logic and functions exist in Shipstation already.

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Charlie Cooper's shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →
under review  ·  AdminShipStation (Product Owner, ShipStation) responded  · 

Thanks for letting us know your thoughts. We see a lot of value in your idea and we would like to know more on your current workflow when managing the inventory of shipping materials.

Once we can gather more feedback from our users with this need and do some research ourselves, the product team will review your request and you’ll hear from us once we have made a decision.

20 comments

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  • Brynne Overton Materia Collective LLC commented  · 

    Has there ever been an update to this idea? Our ecommerce business would also like to figure out a shipping supplies inventory solution without having to use another inventory platform.

  • Nicola Liforme Liforme commented  · 

    Please consider adding the function of being able to track inventory of packaging, this would be most helpful in managing warehouses. Thank you

  • Elgin Frye Viking Used Auto Parts commented  · 

    We use a separate excel spreadsheet and count our boxes when we are at our 3 month order mark or when we know we are getting dangerously low on multiple important size boxes. It would be very helpful if there was a way to track on here what size boxes/envelopes we are using and how many so that our ordering system wouldn't be such a huge task. If we were able to print out a report of how many of each size we used during a selected time period, we could just plug that info into our already set pivot table and have the info we need for reorder.

  • kazi siddiqui unitek services commented  · 

    Is there any way that ship station can track the shipping envelopes or boxes inventory according to orders. when the quantity goes lower on envelopes then it should remind us to reorder the packaging materials. same like allocation of the inventory system in shipstaion inventory management.

  • Jen Scovern RF Venue commented  · 

    I would like to be able to track my inventory of shipping materials (boxes, etc.).

    It would be very helpful if when I chose a box from the "Packaging" drop-down it would track that and monitor the level of boxes in inventory so I would know when certain boxes were running low.

    It would also be helpful if there was a field to designate weights for shipping boxes that would add to the calculated product shipping weight.

  • Chas Smith Paleovalley, LLC commented  · 

    It would be infinitely beneficial to have the ability to track the inventory of shipping materials used. We are using a combination of envelopes, USPS flat rate envelopes, and corrugated boxes of various sizes.

    If we could add these materials in the same way that we add products and inventory and then deduct each time one is shipped I could manage our stock much easier. I'm 1500 miles away from our warehouse so it's time-consuming for our employees to have to count stock and update me all the time.

    Thanks!

  • Sales TradeIT.Guru ezofficetech commented  · 

    great idea. The type of need shipping material should be determined by the package type or other shipping rules. It can also be used for last minute differentiation (ie : ship to USA send a US plug, Ship to Europe, send a euro plug), so i guess rules based on package type, destination, weight, quantity of of a given product, would really help counting down the packaging material and accessories.
    Thanks a lot for the suggestion and for the amazing work the shipstation crew is doing!

  • AdminShipStation (Product Owner, ShipStation) commented  · 

    Hey, everyone! Thank you for all of your helpful comments! I might have one solution if you're having trouble tracking your packages.

    If you use carrier-specific packages, you can go to Insights > Reports > Shipped Orders (located under "Raw Data Export". This report has a column header named "Package Type" that records what you select as "Package" when shipping.

    For example, if you use USPS Medium Flat Rate Box, the export will say "MFRB". You can quickly put Package Type into a pivot table to count how many orders were shipped with carrier packages.

    This won't quite work with your custom packages since the Package Type will say "Pkg". The dimensions are recorded, however, although this would require even more legwork on your part.

    What do you think? Or does this not help so much because are a majority of your packages custom sized?

  • JR commented  · 

    Yes, absolutely. Since ShipStation already allows for rules where I automate what dimensions and weight for the order, being able to account for the box/materials being used would be a dream. I order hundreds of boxes at a time, sometimes over a thousand; setting an alert to reorder...it just takes that much more stress.

    As always, ShipStation is awesome and thanks for continuing to develop such an indispensable tool.

  • Brett Wakefield nolacajun.com commented  · 

    This would be great! Especially since we can input our box types, if nothing else this should be easy to keep track of. When a packaging type is selected to ship it removes it from the inventory.

  • deals2000 commented  · 

    Since the weight of the product we ship vary we are only interested in Shipstation keeping track of the inventory of the boxes used to ship our products.
    So when we select a pre determined shipping type and the box that is used we just want to keep an eye on our shipping box levels.

    Steve

  • Sean Bordeaux Bordeaux Graphics commented  · 

    This is an excellent idea! Nothing worse than running out of shipping boxes/tape/packing peanuts after an abnormal spike in sales.

    It would be nice to have a real time view of shipping supplies right in the app that we use for shipping...seems like a no brainer.

    My love/hate relationship with ULINE would be more less stressful too.

  • Lisa Mosow Alma Mater Maps commented  · 

    I requested this too. Well said! My shipping products are much more complicated than my actual products!

  • Lisa Mosow Alma Mater Maps commented  · 

    I LOVE ShipsStation and the automation of printing everything in one click. You have literally added years to my life!

    So I have an online only storefront that sells a limited number of 12x18'' graphic art prints (all the same at this point). Keeping up with the actual inventory is easy. The part that is not easy is keeping up with shipping supplies and when to reorder.

    I wish I could enter my supply amounts and then put an automation filter on orders that would update my supply count as the orders are filled.

    For example, when 1 print is ordered I use:
    -1 thermal label,
    -3 do not bend stickers,
    -2 pieces of cardboard,
    -1 clear sleeve,
    -a logo sticker,
    -a sticker with the fine print,
    -4 inches of scotch tape
    -5 ft and 4 inches of packing tape.

    I order all of these items in different quantities, from different vendors at different times. It would be heavenly if I always knew how many of each I had on hand. Let me know if this is a possibility in the future for your app!
    Thanks for listening :)

    -Lisa Mosow

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