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3 Ways to Maximize the Power of your TMS for Parcel Shipping with Business Intelligence

According to an American Shipper report, 53% of companies aren’t using Business Intelligence to collect and analyze their supply chain data. This poor adoption rate implies companies are still performing manual data analyses (translation: excel spreadsheets). And there’s no way companies using excel spread sheets have quick reaction times when their shipping landscape changes. What they do have: delayed reactions to shipping events and hence an over-abundance of risk in the form of shipping cost increases and delivery delays.

A Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping with Business Intelligence provides shippers with an easy way to aggregate and report transportation data; however, companies can miss savings opportunities if they don’t put enough thought into how they want to use this shipping data once they have it. Optimizing a parcel TMS’s Business Intelligence technology requires companies to thoughtfully define how they will apply the technology and how they will set benchmarks and measure against them. These three tips can help:

1. Think ahead.

A common question our prospects ask is, “How much can a TMS for parcel shipping with Business Intelligence save?” We always respond with a range (i.e., 10% – 30%). One of the reasons for providing a range is the degree of change the shipper is willing to consider with regard to its transportation optimization strategies. For example, if for some reason a shipper cannot add another carrier to its transportation mix, then the shipper is working within a fixed set of variables, and savings might be on the low end of the range. In contrast, the high end of the range occurs when shippers have the flexibility to look at the existing transportation landscape and question what could be done differently, such as adding a new carrier or even a new distribution center. For those willing, Business Intelligence is an opportunity to reexamine distribution strategies and consider all possibilities, asking the question, “What if?”

2. Define KPIs.

Without KPIs, transportation management becomes subjective. For example, it’s not uncommon for supply chain leaders to tell us they’re worried about how carrier rate increases could “shake out.” What does “shake out” mean? If the shipper has reduced parcel shipping costs by 8% and increased on-time delivery rates, then it is likely meeting objectives despite the carrier rate increases. If the opposite is true, however, the shipper will have to roll up its sleeves, identify alternatives such as expanding the transportation network beyond familiar carriers, and use Business Intelligence to run simulations to identify optimal strategies.  Shippers that set a KPI up front will be amazed by how quickly they can prove the ROI on a TMS for parcel shipping with Business Intelligence.

3. Run simulations.

There are usually myriad opinions within an organization’s supply chain team when it comes to reducing transportation costs, and one way to transition from opinion to fact is to use Business Intelligence to demonstrate the value of different shipping scenarios. Running transportation simulations can identify where significant savings opportunities exist, challenging the norm and comparing “what if” to current performance. Shippers have a “sandbox” to approach transportation scenarios with a creative mindset and verify and measure the impact of various scenarios on the bottom line.

Get the Most out of your TMS for Parcel Shipping with Business Intelligence

A TMS for parcel shipping with Business Intelligence can unveil opportunities to increase throughput, decrease transportation spend, and improve customer service. However, it’s only as effective as the deployment strategy behind it.

Are you optimizing your supply chain software investments? Contact us today for a free shipping data analysis.

 

Disruptor Daily Speaks with David Hogg on the State of AI in Supply Chain Management

Smooth and efficient supply chain solutions are key to increasing profitability and enhancing customer experience; more companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help achieve this. Globalized ecommerce and higher expectations for speedy shipping means greater opportunity for unpredictability in the supply chain. To gain a competitive edge, it’s essential to adopt AI capabilities as part of supply chain strategies to keep pace and quickly respond to unanticipated changes.

Logistyx Vice President of Business Development David Hogg was recently quoted in a Disruptor Daily article exploring the trends driving AI’s role in the supply chain industry. Hogg explains how AI-enabled features in supply chain technology provide visibility to shippers and increase timeliness, a major source of business for companies competing against e-commerce giants like Amazon.

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Read David’s insights on this trend on Disruptor Daily: “What Trends Are Shaping AI In Supply Chain Management Today? 16 Experts Share Their Insights

How to Beat Amazon with Parcel Shipping Business Intelligence

How can shippers and e-commerce companies compete with Amazon and Alibaba when it comes to high-performance fulfillment? The truth is, it’s difficult for most companies embarking on an e-commerce and/or omnichannel strategy to provide the benefits Amazon and Alibaba have made “standard,” such as fast, cost-effective delivery. However, thoughtful companies that put the right transportation management for parcel technology in place will be able to access and leverage one core tool that drives the giants of the fulfillment industry: business intelligence. You see, one of the keys to Amazon’s and Alibaba’s success has always been technology and the use of computing systems to collect, analyze and weaponize business intelligence. It’s what allows both companies to understand their customers and their buying behavior, and to provide better fulfillment and more convenient service at a speed and cost that competitors have struggled to match. But business intelligence isn’t the exclusive domain of these global powerhouses. At Logistyx, our first priority is data analytics and business intelligence. More than half of our resources, both financial and personnel, are dedicated to R&D to address two major shifts in the parcel shipping industry today and their effects on enterprise revenue:

  1. Omnichannel distribution
  2. Customer delivery expectations

With 1,225 years of experience and 1,000+ global customers, what we unequivocally know is for large enterprises tackling these shifts, there is no “one size fits all” approach to parcel shipping. Carrier networks vary. Distribution models differ. Customs and cross-border regulations diverge from one region to the next. Therefore, we continuously create and iterate parcel shipping technology that is data driven, not carrier driven or location driven. As a result, our solutions are sophisticated enough to be truly agnostic – to carriers, to regions, to customs and regulations – while empowering organizations to ship worldwide efficiently and at the lowest cost.

For example, business intelligence in TME, our Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping, identifies carrier delivery performance improvements and cost saving opportunities to enable shippers to gain a competitive advantage. This may come in the form of identifying and adjusting improperly invoiced items relating to contractual rates, accessories, guaranteed service rebates, claims management, address correction validations or even manifested but not shipped transactions, or it may come in the form of modeling and comparing selected carrier services against actual carrier performance to find routing alternatives with lower cost implications and/or faster delivery times.

get the checklist: choose the right tms for parcel shipping

Regardless of how a shipper leverages business intelligence, however, what’s important to take away is that the net result of each endeavor can be profound and significant from a cost savings perspective. As stated by our V.P. of Business Intelligence, Mike Eisner, in Logistics Viewpoints, “When businesses connect the data… and then apply business intelligence, complex decisions and tasks get simpler. Opportunities to significantly shift, reduce and manage global transportation costs and monitor KPIs – without sacrificing service – are just a few of the most basic, immediate and impactful ways interconnectedness pays off for shippers.” Ultimately, this allows shippers to achieve on-time delivery in full at a palatable price and empowers them to compete effectively against some of the key players in the e-commerce and omnichannel game.

Logistyx TME: Beyond Business Intelligence.

Global Carrier Network

TME integrates with more than 550 carrier services and provides shippers with an unmatched multi-carrier network and automated selection of carriers based on preferences for cost, capacity, efficiency and effectiveness. You can even rate shop and perform rate simulations for individual parcel shipments at scale. And not to be forgotten: it also generates all the necessary compliance paperwork such as labels, end of day manifests and CMRs.

Customer Service

TME provides full visibility into customer deliveries, including a complete picture of what’s happening with each shipment, so you can monitor carrier performance and respond rapidly to any issue or disruption. In fact, with the TME Control Tower, you can create smart exception workflows that enable automatic responses to transportation exception events. And the software also provides trend analysis reports to help with carrier selection and rate negotiations.

Enterprise Integrations

Because we are a data-focused company, we know how important it is for business-critical applications to connect seamlessly without draining IT resources. Therefore, TME integrates with e-commerce, omnichannel, WMS, TMS and ERP systems, aligning parcel shipping operations with business goals to help elevate overall shipping and fulfillment performance and improve ROI for the entire technology stack.

Finance and Audit

TME simplifies carrier invoicing and audits. Our solution automatically matches shipment data with invoice data to help you evaluate carrier performance, ensure invoice accuracy and uncover extra or unforeseen costs before you issue payments. 

A One-Touch Shipping Ecosystem

You can also use TME  in tandem with Zebra’s best-in-class mobile computers and label printers to complete your shipping ecosystem and ensure easy accessibility and on-demand label printing, wherever you need them.

Take the Next Step

To learn more about TME’s powerful technology, including state-of-the-art business intelligence, download our brochure or contact us to request more information and a free consultation.

How to Control Parcel Shipping Costs with Business Intelligence

Mike Eisner, Logistyx Vice President, Business Intelligence, recently contributed a guest commentary to Logistics Viewpoints, in which Eisner outlines how manufacturers and retailers can leverage business intelligence to meet consumer expectations for fast delivery, increase revenue per shipment and collaborate better with key partners in the extended supply chain. Eisner summarizes that globally, we are nearing one in four human online purchasers, and Amazon commands 14% of these global online sales. Within the US, they dominate with +50% market share of online sales, and their ability to deliver on clients’ expectations for same day, workplace, Sunday, pick-up and locker delivery options while also reducing transportation costs has heightened consumers’ delivery service expectations around the world. Other manufacturers and retailers have taken notice, and to compete, now offer myriad delivery options as well.

However, myriad delivery options have often translated into soaring parcel shipping costs for these organizations. To contain these costs and increase revenue per shipment, Eisner recommends that manufacturers and retailers large and small need to incorporate business intelligence into their transportation management. Without it, transportation teams are operating in a silo and decision making becomes flawed. When data is interconnected from tendering… to parcel shipping execution… to carrier invoice payment, and then synchronized for reporting, transportation teams simplify the complexity of informed decision-making. For example, in traditional financial audit processes, business intelligence can identify and adjust improperly invoiced items relating to contractual rates, accessories, guaranteed service rebates, claims management, address correction validations or even manifested but not shipped transactions.

Shippers can also use business intelligence to model and compare selected carrier services against actual carrier performance to find routing alternatives with lower cost implications and/or faster delivery times. A simple example is foregoing use of a premium overnight expedited service level for a carrier, when the lower cost ground option offers the same delivery time at a much lower cost. Business intelligence can also reveal even more advanced optimization strategies, such as effective ways to position facilities and inventory around the globe. While these analyses are more complex, the overriding principle – provide near immediate delivery options to satisfy consumers’ need for instant gratification at as low a delivery price as possible – remains. In total: the results of each business intelligence effort – let alone all – can have a significant impact on cost savings. To learn more about what Eisner has to say about transforming parcel shipping with business intelligence, read his guest commentary on Logistics Viewpoints: Modern Business Intelligence for E-Commerce Shipping.

Why Your TMS for Parcel Shipping Needs a Control Tower

Today, the consumer experience has many touchpoints from discovery to delight, and to become a true Direct to Consumer (DTC) brand, manufacturers must own responsibility for each one. Introduce friction at any moment in the end-to-end consumer buyer experience… and risk losing consumer loyalty. Despite the criticality of providing a seamless buying experience, recent research highlights the many “hiccups” that occur from click to consume, particularly when it comes to fulfilling orders at the speed and convenience shoppers expect. In fact, the biggest gripes for buyers who’ve had negative shopping experiences mostly relate to delivery and returns. For example, over the last 12 months, 60% of consumers in the UK reported their purchases did not arrive when expected, and 40% of shoppers claimed items did not arrive at all. The U.S. too, has its fair share of deliveries gone awry, and Sri Sridhar, CEO of  lateshipment.com (yes, there’s an entire website for this) states 15-23% of packages are delayed during the holidays. Statistics like these don’t bode well for manufacturers who are counting on repeat purchases and a good brand reputation to win the DTC game. According to a study from OSM Worldwide, 79% of online shoppers claim they will contact customer service when an urgent item is one day late, and worse: two-thirds will express frustration to friends and family. With a sad nod to Carnegie, this is basically the antithesis of how to win friends and influence people!

Install a Control Tower.  Receive “Exception Event” Alerts.

get the checklist: choose the right tms for parcel shipping

The good news is that in the same OSM Worldwide study, online shoppers reported how much they value parcel delivery transparency, with 40% stating they check on a parcel’s delivery status at least once a day, and 55% stating they expect an order’s status updates to be current as of a few hours. Don’t think this sounds like good news? Then you must not be leveraging a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping. Manufacturers who have implemented a TMS for parcel shipping benefit from Control Tower functionality, which means they can provide shoppers with the transparency they value. The system will send early warning signs when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” empowering customer service teams to proactively trouble-shoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time. For example, perhaps the product can be sent from a different distribution center to arrive on time. Or perhaps the customer is willing to retrieve the product from a nearby store or locker. Customers can even track and trace shipments on company websites without the need to visit carrier sites, reducing inbound calls about shipment status to customer service and increasing the customers’ browsing behavior on the manufacturer’s website – which (fingers crossed!) could lead to additional purchases. Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables manufacturers to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and better informing carrier contract negotiations.

Successfully Navigate the Complexity of Parcel Delivery.

By leveraging a TMS with Control Tower functionality to install “exception event” alerts in the shipping process, manufacturers can successfully navigate the complexity of DTC parcel delivery – ensuring on-time delivery in full and improving customer service performance metrics. To learn more about how you can leverage a TMS with Control Tower for parcel shipping in your own organization, download our brochure: TME 3: Flexible Transportation Management System for an Omnichannel World.