A packing slip certifies that the order has been delivered to the end customer

Packing slip: what it includes and what it is for

March 31, 2023

A packing slip is a business document that’s essential in logistics: it’s used as proof that the order has been correctly delivered to the end customer.

Nowadays, shipments are becoming increasingly faster, and there’s more and more outsourcing of logistics transportation. So it’s crucial to have a document that includes all the information about the order to facilitate its dispatch, transportation, and delivery.

What is a packing slip?

A packing slip is a commercial document used to record the delivery of an order. The company selling the product issues the packing slip, and the person who submits it is normally the carrier or logistics provider responsible for transporting the orders to the final consignee. The packing slip specifies the complete list of items that have been delivered to the recipient of the order. The document also includes the items’ SKU number, their characteristics, and the number of units of each product. The list allows the consignee to check that they have received all the goods ordered.

The packing slip is not only useful for the purchaser to verify that the goods received are correct, but also for the sender to have a record of the merchandise that leaves the warehouse. The document serves as legal proof of delivery for any incident that may occur.

What’s the difference between a packing slip and an invoice? Although both are commercial documents, a packing slip is the supporting document indicating the physical goods being received, while an invoice is the official documentation of the order. While the packing slip contains the characteristics of the products, the invoice specifies which goods are being sold, the price of each item, and the conditions or the method of payment, among other details.

What data does the packing slip include?

Although there’s no single packing slip format, this document should contain the following information:

  • Order number and corresponding invoice.
  • Date of shipment.
  • Sender’s details.
  • Consignee’s details.
  • Shipment contents.
  • Weight and volume of each package.
  • Complete weight of the shipment.
  • Origin and destination of the goods.
  • Type of shipment and the company used.
  • Date of receipt.

The information on the packing slip may vary depending on the type of business and the type of goods being delivered to the final recipient. For example, while it is sometimes detailed, it’s not mandatory to indicate the price of the product. Why not? Unlike an invoice, the purpose of a packing slip is to record the delivery of the order, not its commercial value.

Benefits of the packing slip in logistics

At the logistics level, the packing slip offers advantages for the company marketing the product, the logistics provider that transports it (where applicable), and the final consignee who receives the order. These are the main benefits:

  • It serves as a certificate of delivery: it’s a legal document that, in a very simple way, certifies that a set of goods has been delivered to the consignee according to the agreed terms and conditions.
  • It optimizes order information management: the packing slip helps carriers, purchasers, and even customs agents identify the contents of a package. 
  • It detects errors: with the packing slip, the order recipient can quickly and easily check whether the number of products received matches the number of products ordered.
  • It simplifies the return or refund process: a packing slip streamlines the management of information related to the return or refund of a product that, for example, may have been damaged during the shipping process. The free-returns standard has greatly increased the value of the packing slip.

Software to automate packing slips for shipping 

With new technologies, it’s possible to automate the collection of all the information included in the packing slip, thereby saving time and minimizing any errors that could arise from manual handling.

Companies that have a warehouse management system like Easy WMS can digitize verification and document control during the goods dispatch phase. The software takes into account the carrier’s labeling and documentation standards to facilitate order distribution. Easy WMS generates and issues the packing slip for each order to ensure efficient delivery.

To manage third-party logistics operations efficiently, the software features the advanced Multi Carrier Shipping Software module. This program makes it possible to print out labels compatible with all the major transportation agencies and assign tracking numbers to each package right from the warehouse.

Multinational food company Danone employs the Multi Carrier Shipping module in its warehouse in Valdemoro, Spain, to communicate with MRW, the carrier that distributes its orders. “When MRW arrives at the warehouse, their operators only have to collect the picked orders because they already have all the information automatically in their system. We’ve gained a lot in terms of efficiency,” says Eduardo Puerto, Supply Chain Director Iberia at Danone.

During the shipping process, it’s increasingly common to use an electronic proof of delivery (ePOD). As in the case of the packing slip, electronic proof of delivery is used as proof by which a person or company (purchaser) acknowledges having received from another company (sender) a good or a series of goods in the quantities and at the time previously agreed upon. The confirmation is done digitally through an electronic signature.

The electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) has the validity of a delivery note but is digital
The electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) has the validity of a delivery note but is digital

Packing slip: the document justifying delivery of the order 

The packing slip is the culmination of an efficient supply chain and a way of marking on a document that the final objective has been achieved: the delivery of the order and the fulfillment of the logistics service in an efficient way. Nowadays, logistics needs the management of all information to be as agile as possible — even more so with the outsourcing of transportation to third parties. In this sense, the packing slip is one of the best allies for all parties involved in outbound logistics.

Looking to speed up the creation and management of packing slips and improve communication with carriers? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Interlake Mecalux specializes in optimizing logistics management for companies in any industry.

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