What is a packing slip?
A packing slip (also known as a waybill or bill of parcel) is a document that accompanies goods delivered to a client. Normally the packing slip is located inside a shipping pouch or inside the package with the product.
In those cases when there are multiple packages being shipped at the same time, the seller will most often place the packing slip in a clear plastic pouch to be attached to the outside of one of the shipping packages.
The packing slip is known by a few different terms around the world, including:
- a waybill
- bill of parcel
- shipping list
- packing list
- unpackign note
- packaging slip
- (delivery) docket
- customer receipt
The purpose of the packing slip is to inform all the parties involved, including the customers, transport agencies, and authorities about what is inside the package.
This allows them to deal more efficiently with the package (or else they would have to inspect each package).
The packing slip will normally include an itemized detail of the contents of the package, but it usually does not include the total amount paid for the goods.
Sometimes the shipment will not have all the goods that the customer ordered. In those situations, the packing slip will include a note or other data that provides information on the status of the missing goods.
For example, if a customer ordered 50 pair of shoes but only 40 are included, the packing slip will list the remaining 10 as "back ordered." This status update provides the customer with enough information to reassure them that there was no error in the ordering or delivery. The goods simply were not able to be sent at the same time.
This helps the recipient to be able to check the packing slip with the original order and look for any discrepancies in the original price quote sent previously.
The packing slip therefore does include a lot of detail—it can even include unit prices, shipping and handling charges and applicable taxes. However, it should not be confused with an invoice.
The invoice is normally sent as a separate document at the same time or be submitted electronically. The recipient may accept the packing slip and invoice, if both are shipped together, check the slip and pass the invoice on to the accounts payable department.
It is also possible that the invoice is sent to another person entirely. For example, if a one person buys goods for another person, the packing slip will go to the gift receiver, and the invoice will go to the gift giver.