Shipping is one of the biggest challenges today's companies face when structuring their online business. It's the three-step process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling an order. It sounds deceptively simple, but how you design these stages impacts operational costs and delivery estimates when getting products to customers and your customer's overall satisfaction. If that's not enough to scare you awake, imagine this– if you don't calculate your shipping estimates carefully, you'll literally lose money when your customer places an order.

Failure to optimize shipping processes leads to increased operational costs, damaged goods, and unsatisfied customers. So, in this case study, we'll go over how a company called Whiplash LP Mailer handled issues when setting up their shipping operation and how they used Trivial to enhance logistics, save costs, and streamline shipping operations.

Business Overview

Whiplash LP Mailer's main product is an incredibly durable custom vinyl mailer. It's designed to provide extra layers of protection when transporting expensive vinyl. It's particularly effective to protect the corners, so the record doesn't show up damaged after shipments across the globe. The mailer features durable materials with corner protection and requires no additional packing materials. 

Sean, the company's founder, comes from Detroit and has an intimate relationship with the entertainment industry. He is the former tour manager for the rock band Modest Mouse and co-founder of Whiplash. More than almost anyone, he has experienced firsthand the complications and headaches of packing and shipping vinyl.

While working in the industry and dealing with shipping products for Modest Mouse and Whiplash, Sean learned of several common shipping complications. Losing money due to inaccurate shipping estimates, unclear operational values, and managing the logistics of processing orders are only a few examples. It quickly became apparent that improving shipping efficiency was necessary to increase profits and efficiency.

Sean knew all along that vinyl sales were growing every year while the world was just figuring it out and trying to catch up. In 2021, it reached its peak in the last 30 years, and a durable LP mailer became more important than ever.

Problem

Even with all the previous knowledge working in the entertainment industry, Sean still faced challenges. Whiplash LP Mailer would have to overcome several obstacles to ship vinyl safely while also following shipment estimates, which was an issue due to how shipping management worked.

For instance, they had to spend extra on labor since all the monthly sales had to be manually input into a spreadsheet. Moreover, it was not easy to control shipping estimates, as the data was spread across several sources like their manual list of costs, Shopify sales, and Ship&Co reports.

With data spread across many sources, it became difficult to visualize the complete picture of costs and sales. The issue got even worse when it increased operational costs. To top it off, producing a costs report was slow and sometimes straight-up pointless, often leading to situations where it was no longer relevant by the time it was ready.

Goal

To turn the profit loss into revenue, the business needed a way to remove the bottleneck in its operation. They needed a system that could pull data, prices, and orders. They also needed it to be fully automated and generate a per-order profit and loss statement, helping compare shipping prices to actual expenditures and uncover unprofitable shipping estimates.

Additionally, to streamline partner payouts and make operations more efficient, they could use the same statement data to generate monthly sales reports.

Solution

After running into several dead ends, Whiplash LP Mailers found their solution with Trivial, turning several daily hours of manual labor into a fully automated solution.

By subscribing Trivial to a Shopify webhook, they could feed their data directly to the app. So instead of manually inputting data on a spreadsheet, they used the Ship&Co > ListShipments action to fetch costs, then used the Airtable > CreateRecords action to transfer the data to an Airtable.

Once everything was set up, it became simple to use Trivial and Airtable together to feed the data into columns. After that, it was just a matter of utilizing formulas to calculate each order's gross profit and gross margin.

Benefits

After implementing all the solutions provided by Trivial, Whiplash LP Mailers experienced improvements in several areas. For instance, Whiplash LP Mailers shifted their resources to grow their business, reach more clients, and improve their products instead of filling up spreadsheets and searching for data. 

Additionally, they could generate full finance reports in real-time, making daily operations smoother and faster. And if anything needs adjustments, it's only a matter of adjusting code, Airtable, and integrations instead of spending several hours going over data entry and spreadsheets. Furthermore, if the system ever requires expansion, the business now has total control over all integrations, ensuring they can maintain and modify it to fit their needs. 

Trivial also allows the entire system to be moved to AWS Lambda in case the business grows beyond its capacity, accommodating even the intense flux during big sales and holidays.

Testimonial from Whiplash LP Mailers

"Trivial is f@king amazing! It took a task that required intense focus across three browser tabs, and it automated everything! We did manual data entry for over four years without any solutions to streamline this process. But everything changed with Trivial."

- Sean, Whiplash LP Mailers