Another Amazon FBA shipping plan? How is it different from the rest?
Most articles concentrate on how to set up an old version shipping plan. While this article not only creates a new version but also assists you in preparing and implementing your shipping plan.
If you’re ready to learn more, let’s dive right in.
Pre-Preparation of your Shipping plan
To begin with, what do you need to do before creating a shipment plan?
1) Determine the number of items to send or replenish
The two essential factors are inventory quantity and storage costs.
Amazon warehouses have inventory storage limits, and excessive inventory increases storage costs. So, ensure you send or replenish the appropriate quantity of items and don’t overstock.
2) Ask your supplier for packing lists
A packing list is a document that contains essential shipping information such as:
- Gross cartons (be used in the shipping plan)
- Description: The dimensions and weight of one carton and the number of cartons (be used in the shipping plan)
3) Obtain the shipping method from your freight forwarder
Cargo is delivered to Amazon’s warehouses by express delivery, truck, or multimodal transport, which involves two or more shipping methods (e.g., airplane/cargo vessel + truck/express delivery).
Multimodal transport is often used in international transport.
Firstly, you must decide whether to ship cargo from one country to another by air or sea.
Secondly, choose to use express delivery (SPD) or truck (LTL) to transport the goods from the destination port to the Amazon warehouse.
Please pay attention to you must consider the shipment value, weight, volume, transportation time, and cost when deciding which method to use.
Note: On Amazon FBA, SPD is small parcel delivery, which uses express to deliver cargo. And LTL is less than trucked, which uses a truck to deliver shipments.
If you are unfamiliar with international logistics, contact a professional Amazon FBA freight forwarder directly. They will recommend a suitable and cost-effective shipping method based on your shipments and needs.
4) Obtain the shipping method & shipping info from the freight forwarder
You can choose the shipping method by yourself or seek advice from your forwarder.
Obtaining the ‘ship from’ address, estimated shipping date, and shipping carrier after selecting a shipping method.
If you choose LTL, don’t forget to get pallet information (dimensions, weight and quantity) from your freight forwarder.
Five steps to creating your shipping plan
Now it is time to make a shipping plan for your Amazon business.
Step 1: Manage FBA inventory
Log into your Amazon seller central account, clicking ‘Inventory,’ then select‘Manage FBA Inventory’ from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: Choose inventory to send
Select the items you want to send (or replenish) to Amazon. Next, click the ‘send/replenish inventory’ button when you have finished.
You’ve already chosen inventory to send, but you can add more by clicking ‘All FBA SKUs.‘
1) Address, marketplace & fulfillment capacity
a) Ship from:
- Your company address
- Your home address
- The manufacturer’s address
- The freight forwarder’s address
Based on the ‘ship from’ address, Amazon may assign warehouses to shipments.
Firstly, you can use a Western United States address when items are standard size and are being shipped to the United States.
In that case, the shipment has a relatively high chance of being assigned to an Amazon warehouse in the Western USA, which saves shipping time and money.
Secondly, maintaining good inventory is sometimes more important than getting a warehouse with lower shipping costs.
Amazon warehouses in the Western United States are popular. So the speed of check-in is slower than in other warehouses, especially during peak season. Hence, other warehouses are preferable.
b) Marketplace destination
Select the appropriate marketplace from the drop-down menu.
c) Fulfillment capacity
- Standard fulfillment by Amazon: Amazon-branded packaging (most seller’s choice).
- Blank box: non-Amazon branded packaging.
- Mixture of both: Amazon-branded packaging + non-Amazon branded packaging.
2) Preparation &packing
Choose how to package your goods.
a) Set prep
Click ‘set prep category’ and ‘set prep and label owner,’ choosing prep not required and prep units and labels units by seller. Alternatively, you can focus on the ‘packing details‘ process to choose these.
Note: The Amazon prep service is very expensive, costing $0.55 per unit in the United States. The best option is for your manufacturers to label and package items in accordance with Amazon specifications.
b) Packing details
- Individual units: cartons contain assorted items with a mix of FNSKUs.
- Case packs: cases contain identical items with identical FNSKUs.
Click the down-drop menu and choose ‘create new case pack template’ to change individual units to case packs. Then, fill in the packing details.
In addition, if you choose ‘individual units,’ fill in ‘pack individual units.’
c) Quantity to send
Fill in the number of boxes and the number of units per box.
d) Modify or remove
If something is incorrect, click ‘modify or remove’ to change the information. Next, if everything is in order, download your SKU labels. (no need to download if you have already sent them to the supplier)
Step 3: Confirm shipping
To complete this step, you must fill in the ‘ship date,’ ‘shipping mode,’ and‘shipping carrier.’
1) Date & mode
a) Ship date
The ship date is only for reference and is not the actual ship date.
b) Shipping mode
Choose SPD or LTL according to your cargo weight and volume or the FBA freight forwarder’s recommendation.
2) The Shipping carrier
If you choose SPD, the Amazon partnered carrier (UPS) is a good option, and you can see the estimated cost.
Meanwhile, there is also the option to select a non-Amazon partnered carrier if it is less expensive than UPS.
Please pay close attention to step 5 if you use LTL and ship directly from China to Amazon.
Step 4: Print your box label
There are two labels if you use SPD and UPS. The first is the UPS label, and the second is the FBA Box ID label. There is only an FBA Box ID label if you use others.
If you are shipping your cargo from China to an Amazon warehouse, select ‘one label per A4 paper’ to print and download your box labels before sending them to your manufacturer.
You need FBA Box ID label and pallet label (in step 5) when choose LTL and Amazon partnered carrier. Keep an eye out for the Amazon reference ID, which can be found on the next step or in the shipping queue. Use it to schedule a delivery date with Amazon.
Step 5: Confirm carrier and pallet information (for LTL only)
Use the Amazon partnered carrier or your own carrier.
1) Amazon partnered carrier
Please confirm shipment details and remember to send the Amazon reference ID to your freight forwarder and print the pallet labels.
Note: If you use Amazon-partnered carriers, ensure the total weight of all cargo is between 150-40000lbs. (68.1-18143.5kg)
2) Non-partnered carriers
When sourcing from China, many Amazon sellers choose a non-partnered carrier because their freight forwarder will plan a suitable carrier for them. Please finish this stage step by step and print your pallet labels.
After completing all of the above, it is time to consider how to implement your shipping plan properly.
Note: If you think creating a shipping plan is a hassle, your Amazon freight forwarder can do it for you.
Seven steps to Implementing your Shipment Plan
Now you have successfully created an Amazon FBA shipping plan. While it is not yet over, please ensure that your shipment packaging meets Amazon standards.
1) Recheck the shipping plan
Find the shipping plan in the ‘shipping queue’ and recheck the details such as weight, quantity, address, etc.
Alternatively, you can examine the FBA Box ID label, which contains a wealth of the information.
2) Send the necessary information to the manufacturer and freight forwarder
You need to send the following information to:
a) The manufacture:
- FNSKU(if it was sent before, ignore it)
- FBA Box ID label
- SKU list: if there are multiple SKUs, the manufacturer needs SKU list to label them properly
b) The freight forwarder:
- Warehouse code(it can be used to look for warehouse address)
- Amazon reference ID
- SKU list: if there are multiple SKUs, the freight forwarder can use the list to check whether the FNSKU matches the FBA Box ID label.
Part of an SKU list is as follows, which includes FNSKU and SKU:
The FBA Box ID label has SKUs, and an FNSKU label has an FNSKU. Therefore, the SKU list is needed to check whether the FNSKU corresponds to the FBA Box ID label.
Note: The SKU list is located in the shipping queue. Click ‘shipping queue,’ then choose ‘track shipment,’ then click‘view shipments,’ and finally ‘download SKU list.’
3) Two tips of label
Firstly, ensure that each unit package has Made in Chinalabels to avoid goods being detained or returned by customs. You can include Made in China on the FNSKU label.
Secondly, a suffocation warning must be printed on or attached to any polybag with a 5-inch (12cm) opening or larger.
The suffocation warning, Made in China and sold as a set, can be printed on the FNSKU label to simplify product packaging and save time and money.
4) Examine the printing equipment
Use a laser printer or a thermal transfer printer. But do not use a thermal printer or inkjet printer because:
a) Thermal printer
Thermal printer barcode labels typically have a short storage lifetime. This is because the printed content will turn yellow or even disappear after some time in a high temperature or typical temperature environment.
Hence they are unsuitable for storage, and international shipping, particularly sea transport.
b) Inkjet printer
It smears easily, resulting in blurry images and labels that are difficult to read or scan.
Note: if your manufacturer doesn’t have suitable printing equipment, ask them to find a professional Amazon label printer on Taobao (a Chinese shopping platform) to print these labels, which is very cost-effective.
Here are some labeling tips:
- Paste labels on a flat and visible location of the items or boxes.
- Place two FBA Box ID labels on different sides, and make sure the labels are at least 0.79 inch (2 cm) apart from each side of a box.
- Seal the box with transparent tape.
b) Do not:
- Place the label on corners, bends, or the box’s opening.
- Cover the labels with tape.
- Seal the box with yellow or other colored tapes.
6) Check the labels
To begin with, have you applied all the labels required by Amazon and for international transportation? Double check you have used the FNSKU, FBA Box ID, country of origin, poly bag suffocation labels, and so on.
Then, ensure all the FBA BOX ID labels on the box are identical.
Next, check that the FNSKU corresponds to the FBA Box ID label. The fact is that the FBA Box ID label is easily mislabeled when there are multiple SKUs.
Here’s a quick tip. You can add the FNSKU number to the shipping mark, which will assist the freight forwarder in checking it quickly and easily.
7) Inspect the packaging
When the product box is packed, gently shake it. If the items in the package do not move, the packaging qualifies, and vice versa.
Then use scotch tape to seal the outer box and check whether the condition of the outer box meets the shipping standards (well packaged and undamaged).
After you have completed the above checks, you can begin shipping your products to Amazon warehouses.
Six FAQ & Answers
You may have some questions when creating and implementing your Amazon shipping plans.
Question 1: What should I do if Amazon divides my shipment between several warehouses?
Amazon typically divides shipments into three warehouses.
In the first place, you can try deleting your shipping plan and creating a new one, but this method is not very effective.
Secondly, if shipping costs to different warehouses are expensive, use Amazon’s inventory placement services.
And do not attempt to set up a bogus shipping plan by choosing only one Amazon warehouse to replenish your goods while ignoring all others. If you use this method, you risk receiving an Amazon warning and a short-term inventory limit.
Question 2: How do I delete the new version shipping plan?
Follow these steps:
- Select ‘manage FBA shipments,’ choosing ‘shipping queue‘ and find the shipping plan that you want to delete.
- Choose the shipment name, hereafter click the shipment name again on the new page.
- Click‘delete shipment and charges’ at the bottom of the page.
Question 3: Will the Amazon warehouse accept shipments without FBA Box ID labels?
No. The Amazon warehouse will reject and possibly destroy these shipments. The local warehouse chooses which way to dispose of your goods.
Therefore, before shipping, you must carefully inspect the shipments to ensure they have all the labels that Amazon requires. You can ask your manufacturer or freight forwarder to do this for you.
Question 4: What should I do if the FNSKU does not match the FBA Box ID label?
Firstly, if your product is currently on sale, remove it immediately.
Then investigate who is to blame: you, your manufacturer, or a third party. If this is not your fault, file a claim with the responsible party.
Next, look for reliable third-party logistics companies cheaper than Amazon and relabel the items.
Finally, in the future, confirm (yourself or through your manufacturer or freight forwarder) whether the FBA box ID label and FNSKU label match before shipping your goods to the Amazon warehouse.
Question 5: How long does it take for a shipment to closed status in the US warehouse?
When your shipment arrives in a United States warehouse, they complete the reception work within 14 working days and change the shipment status to ‘Closed.’
However, this may take longer during peak season and vice versa.
Question 6: What should I do if there is a quantity discrepancy?
To begin with, if there is a discrepancy between the quantity received and the quantity shipped by the seller, and the status is‘Receiving,’ waiting for the status to change to ‘Closed.’
But if the status is ‘Closed,’ and there is a quantity discrepancy, request a POD (proof of delivery) from your freight forwarder to ensure the shipments have arrived at the Amazon warehouse.
Next, suppose your shipments have POD but a quantity discrepancy. In that case, the Amazon warehouse staff may have damaged some of your products during the warehousing process.
Following that, you must submit a shipment difference query, after which the relevant processing team will investigate the shipment further and notify you via email of the outcome.
It’s all about Amazon FBA shipping plan.
Hope you find this guide valuable as you create and implement your shipping plan. And wish you have a smooth and friction-less shipping process.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.
Meanwhile, we have also prepared more detailed product packaging checklist for you with both Chinese and English version. Leave a message: ‘packaging checklist.’ Then you’ll have them.