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What’s a Doc Tab? Are They a Big Deal?

Hint: There are lots of businesses that want them but can’t have them!

I was perusing a major e-commerce software website the other day thinking how wonderful it would be if their thousands of customers caught on to the fact that they will never, ever stop paying for their shipping software when paying by subscription. Sure it’s a nice cheap payment every month but imagine making nice cheap payments on the same car…forever!

Anyway, back to my story…

Suddenly, I ran across dozens of urgent requests from their customers to add doc tab printing to their cloud-based product. For those of you who don't know, doc tab shipping labels contain order info on the top or bottom of a longer than normal shipping label.

Here’s how doc tabs work and why they were created:

The person in shipping peels off the doc tab from the bottom or top of the shipping label and places it on their shipping paperwork. Years ago before data integration, this was the method used to satisfy UPS documentation requirements. Back then the shipper had to write the date, weight, and shipping costs on the pick ticket which was then placed in a file cabinet never to see the light of day again. When tracking numbers came into existence, they were too long to be accurately handwritten on the paperwork, and this is the moment when doc tabs were born.

Today it is rare for high-quality shipping software (i.e., OnShip) to not be integrated into a company’s ERP or order entry software so order/shipping data can quickly flow back and forth. With integration came the end of doc tabs…or so I thought.

Based on these recent posts from real people on a large, well-known, endless shipping software subscription company's website, many businesses still love doc tabs, and that’s great, too! To each his own, right? Not so fast...Their software doesn't print doc tabs! There were also lots more doc tab requests going all the way back to 2015! I can’t believe how patient their customers are!

  1. “For our uses, doc tabs would be super helpful as a receipt for our internal customers. When the Finance dept wants me to overnight a check to a vendor, it'd be nice to be able to provide them with a doc tab that I can separate from the label (like a 4x8" label with a 2" perforated doc tab) with all the relevant info (date shipped, dimensions/weight, tracking #, shipping service, etc.). It would be easier and less wasteful than printing a second label. Plus it would be compatible with WorldShip. Please consider.”

  2. “Please add this feature! We batch-print our labels to save time, and we need a packing list alongside every order. Printing a separate packing list is overkill and would slow us down, but it's critical to have a short summary of the package items alongside the shipping label. For us, doc tabs with packing lists reduce error rates and speed up our shipping flow. It looks like we will either hire a developer to splice apart your pdf batches and add the doc tabs programmatically, or we'll switch vendors.”

  3. “Doc labels are indispensable to our workflow, as they contain information that informs every department along the way to shipping, such as which product(s) should be in the shipping box, which box size to use, and whether or not to pack our shipment on ice (our products are perishable). We would love if you could add this feature.”

  4. “These are by far the most useful types of labels for us. Currently, your program is only able to print a packing slip on a second 4x6" label. We are hoping to have the option to use the 4x6 type with an additional 2x6 receipt portion that can be removed separately.”

I feel sorry for these poor souls. They traded away their ability to customize shipping software in hot pursuit of cheap payments. Based on all the posts I saw over the past several years, they may be waiting a very long time for this and other key features they'd like to have.

These days, many businesses have caught “endless subscription payments fever,” and I’ve always wondered why. I compared owning vs. subscribing in painful detail a few months ago in another OnShip blog, so I won’t get into all that “stuff” now.

Bottom-line, if you expect to use shipping software for more than 2 or 3 years, your ROI for owning high-quality, feature rich shipping software is solid. When you add virtually unlimited customization flexibility, much of which you can do in-house because YOU OWN IT, your new shipping software ends up being a gift that keeps on giving.

Having the ability to mold your shipping software to fit inside your unique workflows is vastly superior to changing all your workflows to fit inside the limited capabilities of cheap, cloud-based subscription cloud shipping software, right?

Why store your data with everybody else’s data on the cloud, search for time-sensitive answers in the FAQ section and beg for feature updates that may never come? Or worse yet, end up

with feature updates you don’t need that come in one fell swoop for all subscribers!

On a side note related to doc tabs, OnShip recently added doc tab shipping label capability, FREE of charge, for a well respected, 60-year-old electronics company in Florida.

Rest assured; they shopped around, truly understand the value of a dollar and love the implementation flexibility we offer. Bottom-line, they didn’t want to get pigeon-holed into a pay forever subscription scheme that told them the features they needed vs. helping them determine what they need, based on our expertise, during their LIVE pre-installation meeting.

Real people working together to configure the correct solution for each customer’s unique requirements…imagine that!

Yep, those times are changing, and I’m super excited! It makes those of us who treat each new customer uniquely and thoughtfully, stand out from the crowd even more than we did before.

Hooray for cheap, featureless, endless subscription payment sales schemes! They are a great sales lead source for those of us who still do things the right way vs. being a “ghost” company focused on reaching one million endless subscriptions without talking to any of them along the way!

That reminds me, aside from the free doc tabs label we threw in for one of our VIP customers, we also include:

  • LIVE one on one installation support

  • LIVE one on one training

  • LIVE one on one post-installation technical support.

Indeed, the good old days are still in full force at OnShip!

Too bad those poor souls begging for doc tabs don't know about OnShip. They’d be doc tabbing to their heart's content right now with zero endless subscription payments!

Big, cloud-based software companies with hundreds of thousands of customers simply can't afford to offer ANY personal one on one time. And their pay forever business plan does not allow them to customize each customer’s shipping software to fit unique applications correctly.

All for one and one for all is their motto…is that the right motto for you?

I say to each his own! If you’re happy with your endless subscription payments, carry on. If not, we’re here to help. We’ll even schedule a personal, one on one conversation with you to determine if OnShip is a good fit. We’re also more than happy to run free parcel or LTL freight carrier bill audits to see if we can find some extra cash for you along the way. Or maybe even a free trial to make sure OnShip is as wonderful as we know it is...imagine that!

Good Luck and Good OnShipping to our growing list of customers who truly know the long term value of a dollar!!

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