A packing slip is a formal document describing all the shipment contents. The products/goods are written in the form of an itemized list that primarily details the product description/type, number, and quantity. Other details such as weight, internal order IDs, and dimensions can also be added. The seller prepares the packing slip and can be placed inside the package or sealed in a pouch (commonly colourless) that is attached outside the package.
Other names used to refer to a packing slip are:
- Bill of parcel
- Shipping slip
- Shipping list
- Unpacking note
- Packing list
- Order slip
- (Delivery) docket
- Customer receipt
It is essential to use the relevant documentation in business and be familiar with the documents involved in the purchasing process, whether you are a seller or a customer. A packing slip is one of the documents used to buy and sell physical goods. Packing slips are used with both brick-and-mortar retailers and eCommerce transactions.
The packing slip template contains descriptions of products in the purchase order and important information about the order that the seller would like to relay to the buyer, such as missing goods and backorders. Packing slip templates will typically accompany the products and communicate to parties involved during ordering, shipping, and receiving goods, such as authorities at checkpoints, customs, and inventory recording.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making the packing slip, Download the collection of free templates and use it for your business. These templates are easily available for download free of cost below.
Importance of Packing Slip
A packing slip is a multi-functional document. First, it helps streamline transactions between retailers (sellers) and their customers. The main reason for attaching a packing slip with a shipment is that the document facilitates the identification of the package being shipped. It can be used for identifying evidence of payment of shipping fees. Furthermore, a packing slip is used in customs office when the product being shipped lands in a foreign country. It is used to verify goods by the government through electronic export information, popularly known as EEI.
Below are reasons why it is wise to use a packing slip when buying or selling a product:
Double-check the items
Sellers want to send the correct package as part of the order fulfilment process, and buyers want to receive precisely what they ordered as part of the order receiving process. A packing slip template is a document used to verify if the shipment is as per the order. It will describe each item inside, and the parties can verify if all items were included or not.
Track all items
Every seller or buyer always wants to keep track of their goods. A packing slip template is physical evidence of a shipment and its contents, and it thus simplifies the process of tracking any lost goods, which is crucial for insured and tracking goods that were shipped in separate shipments. The document is also used to locate items in the warehouse received in different shipments.
Identify damaged products
Goods in transit are ordinarily prone to damage due to human error or unavoidable accidents. A packing slip, paired with an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) form, speeds up the return process for damaged or mismatched orders. Buyers can identify the product on the packing slip template and share its description and information with the seller.
For the compensation of lost or stolen items
While going through the transitioning process, if any product gets stolen or lost, a packing slip template can be consulted to check the items that left the seller’s warehouse and the ones received by the customer. This makes it straightforward to identify any missing packages and prevents misunderstandings. If the items were insured, insurance providers could use the packing slip as evidence that the seller indeed released the goods they claim to have been lost in transit.
Estimate the value of the shipment
By listing all the items in a shipment, authorities such as the government, traffic agencies, and customs can estimate the value of the shipment and impose the appropriate fees. The fees will vary for international shipments and shipments within or outside the associated state.
Note: Packing slip templates do not indicate the total amount paid for the products but rather other details which precisely define the product.
Provides information about the contents
A packing slip template also helps inform authorities such as customs officials of what is contained in a shipment. This way, the document can be used for inspection instead of inspecting the entire shipment item after item. The packing slip is thus used to give additional information such as whether the product is hazardous or not, meets country standards, etc. Some carriers and shippers have restrictions on products they can ship, and a packing slip template is a quick way of establishing this.
Confirm that the order was received
With a packing slip template in place, customers can quickly identify what the seller sent, compare it with the invoice issued, and look for discrepancies to ensure the right products were delivered. This makes it easy to identify products that were tampered with in transit.
Types of Packing Slip
Packing lists come in different formats and variations according to the preferences of businesses and institutions.
- Packing slips with forms: This type of packing slip consists of a return form. This form is used by recipients of packages who want to return the package.
- Packing slip with order and ship quantity: This type of packing slip gives a detailed description of the amount and quantity of the package being shipped.
- Landscape packing slip: This is a packing slip that consists of additional tables which enable one to fill more information regarding the package and the shipment in the subject.
What to Include in a Packing Slip
A standard packing slip template will contain information about the shipper, customer, order, carrier, and item. All these categories of information should appear in the packing slip template of any transaction.
Below are a few things to consider when preparing a packing slip:
Recipient name, shipping address, order date, and contact info
The customer’s shipping and billing information should appear on the packing slip template, just like an invoice. Include the customer name, contact information, shipping/delivery address, order date, and number. This information is used for filing purposes and facilitates communication with any party interacting with the shipment in transit, if necessary.
Shipment company name and contact information
Like any other formal business document, details about the package’s business shipping must be provided. This includes the business name, address, and contact information.
Itemized list of the shipped items
The packing slip template should have each product in the shipment. This is one of the essential components of a packing slip. Anyone reviewing the document should see all the items in the package at a glance.
Itemized list of out-of-stock items
In the packing slip template, there should be a category for listing all the products that the customer ordered but was not shipped due to unavoidable circumstances such as being out-of-stock. Since this information may be hard to determine before the package is ready for shipping, it is best communicated through a packing slip than an invoice.
Quantity of each item
Each product has to be delivered in a specified quantity, whether units, kgs, ounces, meters, liters, etc. Therefore, the exact product quantities must be indicated for each item listed on the packing slip template. Sometimes the right product may be delivered in the wrong quantities; therefore, it is best to indicate the quantities to ensure orders are correct to the last detail.
Weight of the product
Weight is another characteristic of importance to carriers, authorities, and customers. This is because shipping costs and customs fees will more often than not factor in the weight of a shipment.
SKU or UPC of each item
Each product is expected to have its unique stock-keeping-unit (SKU) number or Universal Product Code (UPC) for sales tracking and record-keeping purposes. A column that provides each product’s SKU or UPC should be added to a packing slip template to show that the product was scanned and released from the warehouse. This is essential for sellers who have to track their inventory. In addition, in case of any issues with the product, customers can use the SKU or UPC numbers to inform the seller of the exact product they are complaining about.
Slip number or PO number
To facilitate the tracking process, each packing slip should have a slip number and a purchase order (PO) number jointly with other shipment identifiers or codes. The slip or PO number can be added to the order management system as part of inventory keeping.
A return address should be added to the packing slip template. The return address is the seller’s business address and is used if the carrier or customer has to return the package to the seller. For example, this can be helpful in situations where the customer’s shipping details are inaccurate, and the carrier has to return the package to the seller.
Sender’s company name and contact information
Lastly, the seller should provide their details by indicating the business name and contact details on the packing slip template that can be used if the carrier or customer has to contact them. It can also include a logo to indicate who the customer purchased from and increase brand visibility as the shipment is being transported.
Purchase Order vs. Packing List/Slip vs. Invoice
A purchase order is a business-related document issued by a buyer to a seller showing the type, quantities, and arranged prices for goods the seller will provide to the buyer. The purchase order, once issued, becomes a binding contract between the buyer and the seller and thus offers the seller some legal cushion against non-paying customers once products are delivered.
An invoice, otherwise known as a bill, is a business document issued by a retailer to a buyer indicating the goods, quantities, and agreed prices for the products the seller has to deliver to the buyer. In addition, the invoice indicates the date when payments are due according to the agreed terms unless payment is made in advance. An invoice acts as a formal request for payment of goods delivered. Invoices are sent to the person responsible for making payments.
A packing list is a document used to list all the products being shipped or delivered to a customer. It operates just like a packing slip and is used to verify that the correct order was delivered and clear shipment through customs. A packing list can be used to detail multiple packing slips; however, the use of the terms packing slip and packing list typically depends on personal preference. In contrast, a packing slip is a formal document that indicates the products delivered by a seller to a buyer to verify the order was delivered accordingly. Packing slip templates are primarily used for goods that are being shipped or delivered. A packing slip is issued to the party receiving the shipment, who may not be the same person as the one who receives the invoice. These terms can be illustrated through the following example:
A buyer X wants to ship 10 TV sets from seller Y. Buyer X writes a purchase order detailing the type of TV sets, quantities and prices of each unit, and total price of the shipment. Upon receiving the purchase order, Seller Y confirms that they can deliver the specific products. They then ship the products to buyer X and a packing slip detailing all the items they delivered. Finally, seller Y issues buyer X with an invoice with the total amount owed upon shipment. Upon receiving the shipment, buyer X verifies the shipment is correct by comparing it with the purchase order and the invoice. Once buyer X has verified everything is in order, they can make payments and complete the transaction.
Making a Packing Slip with MS Word
The use of a packing slip template is relatively straightforward and can save a lot of time, especially when dealing with multiple orders. This article will look into a few quick steps anyone can use to create their own personalized packing slip template.
Firstly, open MS word and navigate to create the document.
Create a blank document meant to outline all the details that should appear in the packing slip.
Navigate to the “Insert” option, add a header file, or double-click the top part of the blank document. The header is meant to outline the seller’s/shipper’s details. Type the business name and contact details in bold, such as telephone number. Add a logo and try a different color that makes the document appear more professional.
Underneath the header, create spaces to input details about the customers. For example, create spaces for the recipient’s name, shipping address, and contact details.
Next, navigate to the “Insert” option and add a table of about five columns and five rows. The rows are meant to list all the products to be shipped. The columns are meant to contain relevant details of the shipment.
Go to the first column and name “Purchase order (PO) number.” This number is substantial when referring to a transaction.
Next, name the subsequent column “Product description.” This column describes each listed product by type and other vital details.
In the next column, the template should indicate “Quantity Delivered.” This is the product quantity signed off by the seller.
The fourth column should then be titled “Back Ordered” to list any items ordered but not delivered due to unavoidable circumstances.
Next, label the fifth column as “SKU/UPC” to be filled out with the identifying number or code for each product. The template can be added to other columns to accommodate more detailed information. Finally, save the template as “Packing Slip Template” on your computer and cloud.
Frequently Asked Questions
The packing slip can be placed inside the package, for example, carton, box, or wrapping. Alternatively, it can be put in a transparent bag and attached to the outer side of the package.
A packing slip and a delivery note list items in a shipment and ensure the products were delivered correctly as ordered. However, the customer must sign a delivery note upon receiving the shipment and send it to the seller as proof of delivery.
A seller writes a packing slip to document all goods in a shipment to verify that what was delivered was ordered. At the same time, a bill of lading (BOL) is issued by the carrier acknowledging receipt of cargo or freight, specifying the delivery terms, and indicating that ownership of specified cargo was transferred from the carrier to the customer or the customer’s agent.
A packing slip can double as a shipping label because it has all the information you will need during a shipment. You just need to process the item through a shipping carrier and produce a shipping label. You can stick each shipping label to its individual box, and it can then identify the contents of the respective packages.