By Bob Malley / www.parcelindustry.com / April 19th, 2018
Keeping up with parcel industry changes is a challenge. The pace of industry evolution is rapid, and it’s becoming more complex — and costly. Parcel shipping rates are increasing at more than twice the rate of inflation, while the number of shipments is growing thanks to the demand for e-commerce. Carrier-supplied and point shipping solutions are struggling to keep up with demand for more delivery choices and flexibility, such as free shipping, regional and crowd-sourced shipping, and “alternative” drop-off/pick-up locations (including kiosks, hold-at-location, lockers, and more). Too many shippers are getting left behind, unable to navigate the new parcel landscape.
No single carrier has the capacity to keep up with the demand for the wide range of delivery services consumers expect. More carriers and service choices mean more complexity. Point shipping solutions don’t cut it anymore.
Enterprise shipping controls need to take place from ordering through to returns to keep your business on time and on budget.
Don’t Leave Parcel Shipping Fulfillment to Chance
Unlike freight planning, there are no load optimization opportunities that aggregate shipments at the point of shipping because parcel customers are expecting expedited delivery. Parcel TMS planning occurs upstream during ordering and fulfillment, keeping customers happy and engaged. Cartonization analytics determine the most cost-effective way to pack stock keeping units (SKUs) in a carton (or cartons on a pallet), reducing unexpected dimensional weight (DIM) charges when cartons are too large, too many cartons are used, or excessive packaging is utilized across the board.
The Solution? Execute Parcel Shipping Controls Across the Enterprise
Like parcel shipping planning, execution takes place upstream of the point of shipping. Your enterprise-level shipping controls should include the following:
- Rating and delivery estimates during ordering/checkout provide the most cost-effective options based on cost, delivery requirements, destination, and other business rules.
- Alternative pickup points during checkout offer more secure and convenient delivery options based on the customer’s work or residential address at a reduced cost to the shipper.
- Drop-shipping across the extended supply chain better controls shipping execution through negotiated rates, controlled packing, and branded labeling.
- Ship-from-store allows bricks-and-mortar stores to act as mini-distribution centers to deliver faster delivery at lower costs.
- Warehouse shipping needs real-time connectivity to business systems and devices, such as scales, scanners, thermal label printers, and material handling equipment in multiple locations.
- Office shipping can be controlled in the same way as warehouse shipping to realize deeper cost savings.
- International and other regulatory compliance in global e-commerce needs origin shipping support with localization, cross-border documentation, and consolidation with local postal facilities.
- Tracking parcels in transit with proactive feeds to other systems to provide customer service reps with real-time information and customers with better self-service visibility is crucial.
- Returns and returns policies need to be simple, convenient, and no-hassle while driving customers to your website for self-service.
Keeping up with the constantly changing and ever-growing parcel industry can seem daunting, but the above should help you succeed as you strive to stay ahead of the pack.
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