Scan to Print and Your Shipping Workflow

Published on January 4, 2022
Written by
Filed under Shipping News
Read time 9 Minutes

Even though I’ve been at ShipStation for a bit now, I can’t get over just how cool our label printing software is. I admit I’m a little biased.

Take Scan to Print, for example. Scan to Print is a label-making feature that enables ShipStation users to get total package weight, see the postage rate, and print a shipping label just by scanning three barcodes. Seriously — that’s it. And it doesn’t matter how many orders a retailer ships. Scan to Print can help every merchant make their shipping workflow more efficient.

The ShipStation team is pretty darn proud of Scan to Print. And we want you to see how it can dramatically improve print speed in your shipping workflow.

So here are the three things you need to do:

  1. Check out a few of our Scan to Print support articles, here and here.
  2. Take our “What Kind of Shipper Are You?” quiz to find out how Scan to Print can optimize operations at your warehouse.
  3. Read through the sample workflows below for more insight into the advantages of Scan to Print.

3 Scan to Print Stories

Author’s Note: If any of these sound familiar, it’s probably definitely time for you to start using Scan to Print.

Preemptive Printer

In the interest of saving time, you start by printing every packing slip and shipping label for all orders awaiting shipment. You place the shipping labels aside and use the packing slips to pick and pack. When you get back to your workstation, you grab the pile of shipping labels and start matching them to their corresponding packages.

In theory, this is an efficient shipping workflow. In practice… not so much.

Printing the packing slips and shipping labels at the same time means having to keep track of more paperwork. And if you misplace one or the other, you have the privilege of sorting through the potentially hundreds of other packing slips or shipping labels to find the one you’re missing. Plus, because the order in which you packed boxes and the order in which you printed shipping labels likely aren’t the same, you have to play the most un-fun game of “Memory” ever.

And what if some items are out of stock? You’ll have at least one — if not several — completely useless printed shipping labels you wasted time (and money) printing. Now you need to void those and print new ones once the product is back in stock, which means you’ll be paying double for one label.

Scan to Print to the Rescue

Your ultimate goal is to have an organized and cost-effective shipping workflow, right? That’s why you print everything in one fell swoop. But this approach has a lot of room for error and thus puts you at greater risk for lost documents, lost time, and lost money.

Scan to Print lets you print shipping labels after every other step in your packing process. You’ll know exactly which items are and aren’t available, so you won’t print shipping labels for orders you can’t actually send. Once everything else is taken care of, you just put the box on your scale and scan three barcodes:

  • Scan to View (on packing slip)
  • “Get weight from scale” (on barcode sheet)
  • “Purchase and Print Label” (on barcode sheet)

Boom — there’s your shipping label. You can officially say goodbye to sorting through piles of paper to match each document to its partner.

Organized? Check.
Cost-effective? Check.
Doesn’t make you want to bang your head on your desk? Check.

Weight Warden

Proactivity is the name of your game. You’ve taken advantage of every automation feature in ShipStation. You’ve entered as many details as possible into every sales channel about every product — including item weight.

Here’s the problem: when you saved the individual item weights, you almost assuredly included the extra ounces the packaging adds. Now, this isn’t an issue if you’re only shipping a single item. But if you have multiple products in one box or you combine orders, the packaging (and thus total weight) is going to change. This means if you rely on the weights you have recorded in your software to calculate the total shipment weight, your numbers are going to be off.

And when your information is inaccurate, one of two things happens. Either a) you overestimate the final shipment weight and overpay for postage, or b) you underestimate the final shipment weight, underpay for postage, and get charged extra fees. Cue yelling. Or tears. Whichever is the better stress-reliever for you.

Scan to Print to the Rescue… Again!

Scan to Print takes the guesswork out of calculating total shipment weight. There aren’t any variables to account for or need to round to the nearest ounce. You don’t even need to worry about the weight until after you’ve picked and packed the order. You just scan those same three barcodes.

No guessing, no estimates, no more wasted money. Cue shipping workflow happy dance.

Click Critic

In your opinion, those guys in Office Space should’ve smashed their keyboards and mice right after the printer was obliterated. Keyboards and mice are an albatross around your neck. Alas, they’re a necessary evil.

Or are they?

Scan to Print to the Rescue One More Time!

OK, you probably saw this coming. As long as your workstation computer is open to Scan to Print, the only other piece of equipment you need is a barcode scanner. Adios, keyboard and mouse! (One quick piece of advice, though: you probably shouldn’t actually reenact Office Space because your coworkers most likely still need that keyboard and mouse.)

Three quick scans, and you have a shipping label. And once that label is printed, the Scan Barcode screen will automatically reappear so you can move onto the next order. You can literally pretend you’re using a Star Trek phaser as you scan order after order with no interruption. If you want to make “pew pew” noises as you do it, go for it. We’re not here to judge.

ShipStation Gear ShipStation Gear ShipStation Gear

If you’re a ShipStation user and want some help getting started with Scan to Print, give us a shout! Or if you’re ready to give ShipStation a try, start your free trial today!

Get organized and efficient with ShipStation the best online shipping platform for your ecommerce business.

Written by

James Messer

James Messer is a copywriter specializing in shipping, logistics, and ecommerce.

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