New? Watch our welcome video [here], which goes over the basics of logging in and participating in the forums. Then, check out the [Rules] and our [video] about the features of the forum.

Hotkeys and programmable keypads. Reduce key errors and prcoessing time.

First post. And may be kind of long winded. First let me introduce myself. My name is Patrick and we ship around 2000pcs a month all parcels. I decided to take the tools that shipstation provided and add some custom tweaks. This will be done in multiple posts, will keep adding to the thread. These tweaks will be of use to folks who:

-Have congestion at the print centers
-Have user key input errors
-Have standardized boxes
-Want to reduce processing time

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEP ONE

As you all know it takes about 15 seconds to create a label assuming you already use your parcel size shortcuts. If you do not use the shortcuts you need to set them up now. The short cuts are basically mapping a bx size to a hotkey. IE pressing control and G at the same time. Use the below guide to create all the hotkeys you need for box sizes that are high freqency. We like to call ours the actual box size like:

6 X 4 X 4

10 X 10 X 10

Or if a common item that ships in own box we call the hotkey by the product name like:

Small pot
Large pot

The guide is here:
http://help.shipstation.com/customer/portal/articles/1813204-how-do-i-add-box-dimensions-to-shipstation-

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEP TWO
The next step you need to do is to get a barcode scanner. I recommend doing this whether your facility uses barcodes or not. This will allow you to avoid all user key stroke errors for the order number and avoid costly midships. You can easily have shipstation assign a UPC to the order by following this step:

http://help.shipstation.com/customer/portal/articles/990562-how-can-i-add-a-barcode-to-my-packing-slips-

Acquire a USB scanner. We use a wasp scanner. It is a simple plug and play USB scanner.
http://www.staples.ca/en/Wasp-WCS3900-CCD-Barcode-Scanner-With-USB-Cable/product_1013961_2-CA_1_20001

After you have done this step, you may now use the CONTROL/SHIFT/S hotkey. This hotkey will open a window on the shipstation interface, then just scan the order and the order will populate. Enter your box hotkey from step one print your label.


You have now eliminated misships due to key stroke errors. And decreased your time to process orders likely by around 15-20 seconds for direct time per parcel.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEP THREE

Comments

  • patrick walkerpatrick walker Member
    An Apprentice
    STEP THREE

    This step is all about simplifying and streamlining. I invested around 500 dollars and 12 hours of time. This investment was to address the following concerns and issues:

    The need for a computer every time we needed a shipping label. The congestion was horrible when we had multiple people packing and needing to make replacement labels, fixing miss-hips and so on. Our computer was tied up all the time.

    Employee wander. Yup, watch your shippers. Computers are actually a distraction. In our facility making a label could also mean taking time to check emails, or play youtube videos. Talk. Or any one of a hundred things can get side tracked on. These distractions are very costly.

    Computer literacy. We do have some staff members who shipstation to be out of their comfort league. Training employees to use even a simple software can be costly. There will also be other employees who will never be comfortable or suited for shipping.

    These are the steps I took to remove as many of these hurdles as I can. Assuming step one and two from above are completed you will need to count up all your short cuts for box sizes. And add two to the total. Then invest in a programmable keypad that has enough keys to cover it. We use a X-Keys 60 button model. Keypads are here:

    http://xkeys.com/XkeysKeyboards/index.php

    Once you have selected a model make a template on a piece of paper. The template is so you can assign the hotkeys to the keypad. You will need keys for the following

    Every box size you have a hotkey for (we mapped smallest on the left and flowed through.
    A scan key. I used an oversized key in the top left.
    A print key. I used an oversized key on the bottom right.

    For ease of use you will also need a dedicated windows device with a USB port. I picked up a small 200 dollar notepad that can be mounted up high. You will not need access to the keyboard once fully set up. You may need to invest in a USB hub (splitter) if not enough ports.

    Once you have selected a keypad may as well download and peek at the software. It is actually very simple and small. It will need to be installed on the device driving the X-Keys keypad:

    http://xkeys.com/PISupport/Software.php


    Here is the product overview:



    Here is a video showing the concept and ease of use:
  • patrick walkerpatrick walker Member
    An Apprentice
    Step Three

    The template should look like this only prettier!

    This one has number keys for manual inputs across the top if ever needed.
    The box sizes also have a map for the shipstation box presets on the bottom. For example the map tells me that:

    Box 1 is going to use the control and g hotkey
    Box 4 is going to use the control and F hotkey

    Mapping out key placement with the shortcut is going to make mapping the keys on the keypad very easy.
    template.jpg
    1280 x 960 - 397K
  • WayneWayne Member
    A Usual Suspect
    Great ideas. Thank you very much for sharing. We are just the the point where we are looking to refine our processes some. This has helped!
  • David@3E11FDavid@3E11F Member
    An Apprentice
    edited May 2015
    Your post was the reason I even considered evaluating SS - OrderCup has zero shortcut keys and we need to be able to use single button pushes to accomplish this. I wish there were more shortcut keys - maybe ctrl+shift+key to do things like select tabs, sync orders, print the label, etc. We didn't go with the large programmable keypad like you did since we wanted a keyboard+hot keys combo and went with a Cherry programmable keyboard purchased from ebay for $30:

    http://cherrycorp.com/product/spos-small-point-of-sale-keyboard/

    I'd love to hear any additional feedback on your experience.

    The more we can get off that mouse and pressing single purpose buttons like many industrial systems that have to integrate with semi-skilled people - the better.

    I notice you found a hotkey for label print - where did you find that, it isn't listed in the SS hotkey document: http://help.shipstation.com/customer/portal/articles/1754253-does-shipstation-have-any-keyboard-shortcuts-
  • patrick walkerpatrick walker Member
    An Apprentice
    Small video showing progress.

    Few things it is limited with is lack of hotkeys in shipstation. We should have functions within shipstation to perform way more features and reduce redundant clicks.

    A feature to auto select the cheapest carrier for our free shipping program would help as well. Shopping quotes is time consuming. A simple server side script to ping the servers once the parcel paramters are in auto populate for the most cost effective carrier is strongly reccomended.

    Shipstation also lacks speed during high volume times. They need to work on that. The server lag is a real issue and defeats the entire platform on Mondays and around 4pm est daily.

    Responding to David, it is not a real print hotkey. I had to program a macro that moves the cursor location, has a delay then clicks. It is a multi step macro with about 12 lines of code. Takes about 15 minutes to program it though and worth it. The hardest part was finding the cursor locations to move to. And of course every monitor and resolution needs to be done manually since they are different.
  • SantiagomlopezSantiagomlopez Member
    An Apprentice
    Hello and thanks for all of this useful information, could you please point me in the right direction as to where I could find the macro to move the mouse? This is the one step that is taking me a long time to process my orders.
  • tina@4D312tina@4D312 Member
    An Apprentice
    you can install https://autohotkey.com/download/

    writing script for AHK is very easy and there is lot of information on their forums.

    the link below will take you to the help site for Mouse click
    https://autohotkey.com/docs/commands/MouseClick.htm
Sign In or Register to comment.