They were created when large retail chains began to expand their reach to more locations and increase the volume of products offered by using more vendors and fulfillment centers. These guides were created to keep the uniformity of packaging, labeling and shipping freight from dozens of different vendors.
Each large retailer has their own routing guides with unique requirements in place for a business’s supply chain system that vendors are supposed to abide by. This ensures products are sent using the same methods as other vendors, which creates a sense of uniformity. Retailers threaten to use chargebacks as a way they keep shippers from ignoring their specifications.
Benefits of Routing Guides
Routing guides can help streamline supply chain operations, reduce costs, ensure shipments are done correctly and overall improve partnerships. These guides can help prevent mislabeling, late shipments, high transportation costs and more. A good routing guide usually includes relevant information about dimensions, weight, description of products being shipped, whether pallets can be stacked, PO numbers, delivery address, shipping label location, and more.
Routing guides help set up a strategy for carrier selection across multiple shipments within an organization. The guides clearly list all the relevant information with clear directions for using carriers and solving problems.
Inbound routing guides are useful to 3PLs or shippers, allowing them to properly route shipments to the customers or retailers.