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shipping wine use case

Shipping Wine

SkuNexus Use Case

The Problem

Have you ever drank spoiled wine? It’s not good.

And it’s even worse if you’ve paid top dollar for it. The last thing you want after paying for a case of wine is for that case of wine to spoil on a delivery truck or on your doorstep.

This is a problem anyone that ships wine has - not including special care that has to be taken to ensure bottles don’t break in transit.

We’ve spoken with multiple wine distribution companies that have had issues when shipping wine - since wine can't be stored at over a certain temperature.

Now imagine you’ve ordered wine delivered to your house - you get a notification that it’s delivered at 2 pm, but you don’t get home until 6.

It sits on your porch for 4 sweltering hours (not including the 7 hours it spent on a non-air conditioned truck), and by the time you bring it in, it’s already too late.

Whose fault is this? And what could have been done to prevent it?

Statistics + Resources

Wine begins to go bad at 70° F or higher (and some people keep their homes at a higher temperature than that).

Wine should be stored at 55-65° F.

Deliveries are packed on a truck early in the morning (between 5-7 am), but don’t get dropped off until later in the day (for me at least).

How It's Being Done Currently

Wine shipments or orders get treated like any normal order - once the customer information is available, it’s marked as ready for fulfillment, it’s picked and packed and then shipped to the customer.

If there is an additional step, it’s a member of the team manually checking the temperature of the state to which the order is being shipped.

Let’s say it’s Arizona, for instance. It’s 110˚ F in Arizona right now. If your wine has to sit on a delivery truck for even an hour, its flavor is going to change.

So a person in the warehouse or fulfillment center finds this information by using a weather app or website, and then (if they want to deliver the wine the way it should be) chooses one of two options:

  • Pauses the order to wait for a cooler day.
  • Slows the order down, costs more, and the customer needs to be notified.
  • Adds dry ice or special packaging to the order so that the wine can be at a consistent temperature in transit.
  • Costs more.

The second option gets the wine to the customer in the same time frame, and is undoubtedly the best choice. Unfortunately, we haven’t discovered a wine that is resistant to temperature changes yet, so there’s no way around something needing to change.

However, both of these options take time. We’re not talking hours - it’s just minutes.

Let’s say it takes 3 minutes to do this process manually for a single order. Let’s say this organization ships out 100 orders a day (nice round numbers).

So it would take about 300 minutes a day to do this process manually. (that’s 5 hours for you math whizzes). That’s a little over 60% of a full workday, spent clicking around instead of normal warehouse functions.

And it’s not going to be out of the temperature range in every state on every day. So that time might not contribute any actual changes.

It’s wasteful, and there’s a better way.

The SkuNexus Approach

Combining SkuNexus order and fulfillment functions with an additional customization made possible by it’s open source nature can eliminate the time spent on making shipping decisions for wine into hot states.

  1. Connect a weather app via API. This pulls weather data into your system, and can be customized so that the user interface is as simple or complex as you want it.
  2. Create the automation. You can view weather data as a widget on each order, automatically hide it for orders that are within a certain temperature range, in a certain number of days.
  3. Test and iterate. Run a few shipments through the system, and work out any kinks.

Here are a few examples:

    • Shipping to Arizona, 110˚ F, 5 day shipping
    • Include dry ice, upgrade to a 3 day shipping
    • Shipping to New York, 85˚ F, 3 day shipping
    • Check the weather for later in the week - if there is a day that is around 70˚ F, then hold the order for fulfillment then instead. If there is no day around 70˚, include dry ice in packing.
    • Shipping to Texas, 95˚ F, rush 1 day shipping
    • Include dry ice with the package.

SkuNexus Features

This process illustrates how several key features of SkuNexus, working together, can automate manual processes, remove impediments from daily operations, and increase efficiencies on an open source platform. Specifically:

  • Fulfillment management that allows orders to be held until prerequisites are met.
  • Integration with a weather service’s API, pulling their data into SkuNexus.
  • Automation that checks the weather of the shipping times and determines the best course of action based on custom rule sets.
  • Customization of the fulfillment process to include the above checks, balances, and steps.

We know it’s impossible to create a product that solves every problem for every business. Instead, we created a flexible platform that empowers businesses to solve their own problems efficiently.

Related Reading For Shipping Wine

UPS has a wine shipping program, and requires both shippers and receivers (unless they are consumers) be licensed, and only ships wine to or from states where it is legal. Read more.

USPS does not ship any liquor or alcoholic beverages. Read more.

FedEx has similar requirements to UPS, and requires special labels be printed for use when shipping wine. Read more.