One of the biggest struggles I had when I first started shipping, before my inventory levels caught up with my ambition, was the way Amazon splits shipments.
I would be all excited that I just found 87 units of miscellaneous inventory, and I would rush home and enter it into Inventory Lab.
46 units to CVG3
12 units to MDW2
2 units to RIC2
11 units to SF1
15 units to FTW2
1 unit to FML HQ
Somewhere along the line though, I recall seeing in a comment somewhere something about “live shipments.”
At the time I wasn’t really certain what that meant, and so I just kept on doing it the same as always, remaining frustrated.
Then one day, while I was creating a new shipment, I decided to just try and put in live, and see what happens……
In that picture, you see where I chose live instead of private? Piece of cake.
Now, from there as I enter ASIN’s into my Inventory Lab it adds them to shipments, but it does so in real time.
What this means is that instead of putting them into batch shipments that are not technically created until you finalize the shipment, this adds them in real time to shipments in seller central.
So you enter ASIN, it creates the shipments in real time, you print from a DYMO, and put the item directly into the box associated with the warehouse it goes to.
So using the numbers above, for example, once you get to the 46 items in CVG3, if that particular box is full, simply click the complete batch button on the lower right of your shipment, and it will close that shipment.
Go to seller central, and print the shipping label like you normally would. Be sure once the label is printed to click the buttons that say Complete Shipment and then Mark as Shipped at the top of your shipment in Seller Central.
Put box out front for UPS, and go back to Inventory Lab and click the button that says sync.
That is a very important step. Clicking sync is what will make sure IL matches Seller Central so that as you add items, it cannot add them to the closed shipment that you marked as shipped previously.
Now you can go back to IL, and create a new shipment.
As items get entered, if you have 1 that needs to go to RIC2 it adds it to the shipment that was started previously, and you can sticker and put the item in the box you already started.
And as CVG3 fills up again, you simply rinse and repeat. It seems for me, I get 1 or 2 items that always have to go to ONT, and everything else goes to MDW. Sometimes it might take me a week to fill my ONT box, but I don’t care simply because all my other stuff gets shipped same day or next day.
Why would I prefer this over the traditional private shipments?
1. Easier to fill a box
Nothing ever gets sent half full, unless I want to for whatever reason. Box space is maximized, and I NEVER have to play tetris I simply close and seal a box once it is full.
2. Daily shipping is easy
I never have to wait until I have a large amount of items, because I am worried about filling boxes or making sure I have enough inventory to cover the split shipments. I just enter and ship, and if I have 350 items to process I can sit for an hour, pack a box or two, and be done for the day if I choose.
3. Box detail form is easier
This is the big one. When a shipment is one box only, the box level can be filled out online in Seller Central, in real time, before you print the shipping label. So it takes about 3 seconds. Tops.
Anyway, that is why I prefer live shipments to private. For me they are quicker, easier, and far more manageable because there is very little left to chance. I see in real time exactly what goes where, and it doesn’t change at the last minute like private is prone to do.