Shipping Labels: How to Properly Label Your Shipment

Sometimes, proper cargo identification can take much time during shipments. Business owners use shipping labels or tags to facilitate this process and avoid numerous unpacking operations.

What are shipping labels?

Shipping labels work as the most straightforward and fastest identifiers of the transported cargo. Attached to the boxes or shipping pallets, they carry all the necessary information about your shipment and allow supply chain members to get a quick insight into the nature of your freight. Besides clearing up the logistics process for people, shipping labels transmit crucial data to electronic databases.

Given the supply chain complexity, it’s reasonable to use shipping labels as the universal communication means for all parties in the logistics process. The lack of shipment information can often lead to extended delays, freight damage, or loss. Thus, applying the labeling system can save you time and money and prevent logistics inconveniences.

How to label a shipment?

Official labeling policy determines the requirements for different kinds of transported goods. After deciding on the most appropriate label type, follow a few simple techniques to ensure the safety of your shipment.

Include necessary information

Despite the slight differences, all shipping labels contain core data on the freight. First, list the addresses of origin and destination with the names of the parties involved. Ensure to record these details precisely and correctly to avoid cargo misplacement or redirection. The modern labeling system requires barcodes on stickers to make your packages readable for machine equipment.

Second, mention the cargo weight and the number of shipped items. It will facilitate the whole transportation process and reduce the necessity of frequent unpacking when going through inspections. You may also include short descriptions of your goods so that the carrier feels confident about what they’re shipping. 

Besides, consider providing special instructions for cargo handling. Thus the carrier will know how to treat your items to avoid freight damage

In case of moving disassembled pieces, mark them as parts of the same unit on the labels. It’ll reduce the risk of loss of cargo parts and make it easier to collect them for reassembling. If you practice palletizing and have loaded all packages onto one pallet, you may stick the label to it.

Proper shipping labels include unique order numbers, making it easy to archive your shipment history. In addition, you can offer your customers to track the shipment by the order number or another tracking number. It will effectively increase customer satisfaction and keep you updated on the delivery flow.

Place the shipping label

Before sticking the label to your freight, verify you’ve packed the boxes properly. Place shipping labels on the top of the crate, so it always stays visible. It also eliminates the need to roll over the box to find the tag, preventing the items inside from unwanted movement.

Check if the labels’ edges aren’t folded, so all the information remains legible. If shipping packages with bumpy surfaces, for example, odd-size units, place the tag on the flat side of the crate. Thus all the numbers and barcodes will be easy to read and scan.

Secure the label

It’s pretty hard to predict the external factor affecting your packages during transit—the same concerns shipping labels. Since they can lose their appearance and cause logistics errors, you need to secure your tags with protective materials. 

You can simply cover them with transparent tape to diminish the moisture damage or use plastic sleeves that stick to the box’s surface. In the end, remember to check your legibility and start your shipment.

Labeling sensitive cargo

In addition to standard labeling requirements, some freight types need specific shipping tags. For instance, when moving fragile items, include handling instructions and stickers with particular signs. They’ll quickly inform the workers about the goods’ non-stackability and effectively prevent cargo damage.

When shipping temperature-sensitive goods like foods, plants, or pharmaceuticals, it’s vital to indicate temperature and humidity instructions on your labels. Even though you might be moving perishables in special reefer trucks, the products can still undergo the effects of temperature shifts. A good shipping label will prompt the carriers in the right direction.
The labeling rules get particularly strict when it comes to hazmat shipping. Since hazardous materials threaten health, applying correct shipping tags on every package is crucial. Some hazmats are relatively safe but can react unexpectedly to unknown chemicals. If there’s a risk, mention on the label that your items shouldn’t be exposed to dangerous environments.

Return shipping labels

In logistics, there’s always a possibility of facing shipping returns. They can emerge for various reasons, such as wrong order placement or the customer’s need to exchange the item. Return shipping labels contain all the critical freight information, where the destination shifts to the return location, which can be your business facility or a warehouse.

When creating a return label, remember to record exact names and addresses. If marked as a return shipment, the item will travel to the right place, and you won’t lose it. It’ll also be easier for you to sort out return shipments with proper labels.

At GoShip, we can assist you with all logistics operations, including labeling management. On our website, you’ll find many professional carriers and book a shipment at competitive rates. Check out our digital platform and get a free quote today!

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