Logistyx Update and Response to COVID-19 Read the Letter

Ken Fleming Shares How to Fuel Supply Chain Resilience with Multi-Carrier Software in Business Chief

With e-commerce demand increasing significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations have sought ways to improve the agility of their supply chains. Logistyx President Ken Fleming recently shared insights with Business Chief on improving supply chain resilience through the use of multi-carrier software. A few key benefits to this approach include:

  • Flexibility – The ability to access multiple carriers centralized within one software database makes pivoting easy, whether that means switching carriers when needed, tapping into a broader last-mile delivery network or streamlining cross-border execution.
  • Customization – The recent spike in e-commerce has increased customers’ ability to select their desired shipping scenario, whether through home delivery; buy online, pick-up in store; drop ship, etc. Multi-carrier shipping software enables shippers to work with multiple carriers’ labeling and communications requirements to meet customers’ delivery demands from within the shipper’s own system.
  • Cost savings – Providing access to a wider variety of carriers and more affordable delivery options can help keep costs in check.
  • Increased trust – By building relationships with reliable carriers, companies can ensure consistent parcel delivery fulfillment leveraging multi-carrier shipping software to provide greater transparency through data used to uncover opportunities to improve performance and reduce costs.

In Ken’s words, “A cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system can give shippers the ability to quickly onboard and optimize new carrier services. This is a game changer in a crisis that requires a retail shipper to suddenly increase capacity, or pivot to a ship-from-store model, for example – or even pull local courier services into the transportation mix to maintain on-time delivery rates.”

Read Ken’s full article on Business Chief: “Multi-carrier: One way to improve supply chain resilience” and drop us a line to learn how you can respond to, and recover more quickly from, unforeseen disruptions by optimizing supply chain operations.

How to Control Parcel Shipping Costs Despite Carrier Surcharges

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted millions of people worldwide. With all but essential stores closed, e-commerce sales have increased, particularly for items people can use in their homes, such as toys and games, sports and fitness equipment, and cooking and gardening tools.

While carriers are providing an essential service keeping supply chains moving and ensuring these products make it to their final destinations, social distancing guidelines can make processing orders–and delivering them–more difficult.  For example, a large percentage of commercial passenger flights are grounded, which means carriers no longer have air transport as a ready means of distribution. (Under normal circumstances, approximately half of all air cargo is carried in the holds of passenger planes.) While a number of airlines are piling cargo into the passenger seats of their planes, the capacity is nowhere near normal levels. And in order to manage this high demand and limited capacity, many carriers have added surcharges to their services.

Carrier Surcharge Updates

DHL

Beginning April 1, DHL Express added a temporary Emergency Situation Surcharge to all Time Definite International (TDI) shipments, though the surcharge does not apply to Day Definite International (DDI–road) or Time Definite Domestic (TDD) shipments. Of note: DHL Express is not adding this emergency surcharge to life science and healthcare customers or to any company using DHL Medical Express (WMX).

DHL Express noted these charges reflect the sharp decline in available commercial air cargo capacity and the significant reduction in the number of destinations. As a result, the carrier has had to fly via indirect routes and purchase extra cargo aircraft lift, which, the company states, has increased costs to “unsustainable levels.”

FedEx

FedEx has also added Covid-19 surcharges and echoed DHL Express, citing limited air cargo capacity. Beginning April 6, FedEx added a temporary surcharge on all FedEx Express and TNT international parcel and freight shipments.

UPS

Similarly, UPS also announced temporary surcharges. Beginning April 5, UPS introduced a surcharge on UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Worldwide Express Freight, and UPS Expedited shipments originating in China, including Hong Kong, and destined for both North America as well as a number of European countries.

In addition, on April 12, the carrier increased the peak surcharge, which applies to more ship-from and ship-to origins and destinations for international shipments.

Carriers Fighting Covid-19 Globally

Although the surcharges highlighted above are unwelcome, it’s notable carriers have also been making their networks available to help governments globally respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.  Examples include:

Controlling Parcel Shipping Costs in the Wake of Carrier Surcharges

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingControlling transportation costs is important at any time, but at a time when capacity is tight and surcharges apply, it’s even more critical. While most large enterprises understand the importance of tracking and auditing freight costs, a number of organizations don’t apply the same level of scrutiny to their parcel shipping costs.  In our experience, this is usually because parcel shipments comprise a small percentage of overall distribution operations.  However, this is no longer the case.  In fact, for many shippers and logistics service providers, parcel shipments are now an integral part of their transportation mix.

A couple of examples where shippers and logistics service providers can achieve savings in parcel shipping during the pandemic:

Parcel Consolidation

While it’s unlikely shippers and logistics service providers shipping internationally can avoid surcharges altogether, a cloud multi-carrier shipping system will enable “zone skipping” and consolidate parcels, using one carrier to move a consolidated shipment cross-border, and a local carrier for the last mile delivery–reducing total shipping spend.  Added benefit: by using zone skipping, parcels no longer have to travel to multiple sorting facilities to reach their final destination. Instead, shipments to local carriers are faster, which in turn creates quicker deliveries for customers.

Carrier Invoice Auditing and Business Intelligence

For shippers and logistics service providers shipping large parcel volumes, auditing carrier invoices is crucial. Mistakes can, and do, happen. For example, a carrier may bill for a service level promised, but not received, or a carrier may add an unexpected accessorial. These errors can add up quickly and can have a surprising impact on the bottom line.

By leveraging cloud multi-carrier shipping software, shippers and logistics service providers can automate carrier invoice auditing.  All transportation data, from carrier contracts… to delivery events… to carrier invoices, is captured and normalized in the multi-carrier shipping system, which then flags any discrepancies between expected costs and carrier invoices–giving shippers and logistics service providers greater control over their transportation spend.

And the savings don’t stop there.  In addition to the direct cost savings carrier invoice auditing achieves, shippers and logistics service providers also benefit from “soft cost” savings, such as the elimination of time-consuming tasks that include receiving and opening mail, sorting invoices, looking up rates, auditing and approving invoices, paying carriers, and even assigning a general ledger code.  By removing these soft costs, accounting teams can redirect their resources to more critical initiatives.

Furthermore, carrier invoice auditing provides shippers and logistics service providers with an overview of invoiced carrier costs versus carrier agreements, enabling them to ensure their carrier procurement is aligned with strategy and verifying they’re receiving the delivery outcomes for which they’ve paid.  Sophisticated multi-carrier shipping software will also include 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. Business Intelligence can also reveal even more advanced optimization strategies, such as effective ways to position facilities and inventory around the globe.

Respond Now to Carrier Surcharges

If your current shipping capabilities don’t provide opportunities to optimize parcel shipping such as parcel consolidation and carrier invoice auditing, you’re likely missing potential savings and impeding your business’s ability to quickly react to carrier surcharges. To learn more about the latest parcel shipping tools and technology, contact us today.

UPS, FedEx, and DHL Announce Temporary Peak Surcharges in Response to Coronavirus

As the world economy reels from the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, industries are feeling the effects. For many companies and even entire industries, the pandemic has resulted in closures and work stoppages. But for others, business is more intense than ever before. The latter is certainly the case for the global shipping industry, including UPS, FedEx, and DHL, which have all announced temporary peak surcharges related to the coronavirus.

If your business utilizes any or all of these global carriers, it’s important to understand what these operational changes related to temporary peak surcharges mean. In some cases, you may need to adjust your own fees or promised shipping times to accommodate these changes.

Below, we’ll outline the temporary peak surcharges as well as any other significant operational changes being made by the big three: UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

Note the information below is accurate as of publishing time, but all three companies have reserved the right to adjust their temporary peak surcharges as the situation develops.

UPS Temporary Peak Surcharges

Effective April 5, 2020, UPS has instituted temporary peak surcharges on shipments originating in China Mainland and Hong Kong SAR and terminating in North America and Europe. Surcharges apply to these shipping categories and sub-categories:

  • UPS Worldwide Express
  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited

Temporary peak surcharge rates are as follows. For Worldwide Express (including Express Plus and Express Saver), the surcharge is $0.34 per pound. For Worldwide Expedited, it’s $.029 per pound. And for Worldwide Express Freight (including Midday), the temporary peak surcharge is $1.13 per pound of freight.

All these rates are effective April 5, 2020, until further notice.

One additional change worthy of note: UPS has instituted a suspension of the UPS Service Guarantee due to the Coronavirus. This suspension applies to all shipments everywhere, including domestic US shipments.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel Shipping

FedEx Temporary Peak Surcharges

FedEx has also instituted temporary peak surcharges, but theirs work more or less in reverse of the ones issued by UPS. As of February 14, 2020, FedEx instituted a temporary surcharge on most International Priority Freight and International Economy Freight shipments originating in the US or Puerto Rico and terminating in China. Here are the rate details:

  • 30 Yuan per kilogram
  • A minimum surcharge of 2,200 Yuan per shipment

FedEx notes these fees can be waived by your sales representative if you’re shipping “medical and epidemic prevention supplies or aid.”

In addition to the temporary peak surcharge on US/Puerto Rico shipments to China, FedEx has implemented numerous other service changes. Their money-back guarantee is currently suspended globally for these service classes:

  • FedEx Express
  • FedEx Ground
  • FedEx Freight
  • FedEx Office

Signature requirements have also been suspended for the health and safety of delivery staff and customers alike.

In addition, FedEx has instituted a wide range of global temporary service suspensions and transit time extensions thanks to the challenges created by COVID-19 (excepting shipments for relief efforts, of course.) The most notable:

  • No shipments to Mongolia, Tonga, French Polynesia, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and American Samoa
  • No freight shipments to the Philippines
  • No shipments from American Samoa, Mongolia, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna
  • Transit time delays to and from most countries in Asia

The full list of specific shipping suspensions and delays is quite detailed and is available here.

DHL Temporary Peak Surcharges

DHL’s approach to the stresses of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic echoes those of the above two companies. Effective April 1, 2020, DHL is instituting what it calls an Emergency Situation Surcharge on all Time Definite International (TDI) shipments (with exceptions — see below). The surcharge applies to all relevant shipments regardless of origin or destination.

In a departure from the approach taken by the above two companies, DHL is not charging a per-pound or per-kilogram rate. DHL has opted for a five-tiered fixed charge rate schedule. Rates are as follows.

  • 2.5 kg or less: no surcharge added
  • 2.51 – 30 kg: € 2.50
  • 30.1 – 70 kg: € 15
  • 70.1 – 300 kg: € 50
  • Greater than 300.1 kg: € 200

Again, these surcharges apply to any shipments in the Time Definite International category. At this time, DHL is not applying temporary peak surcharges to Day Definite International (DDI – road) or Time Definite Domestic shipments, life science and healthcare customers, or shipments designated DHL Medical Express.

Like FedEx, DHL is experiencing service disruptions and delays in certain locations, but it declines to publish a list online. DHL’s customers are advised to contact either their account manager or a customer service representative to verify DHL’s real-time operational details in a given country.

How to Navigate These Challenges

The global shipping industry is operating at peak capacity and simultaneously grappling with the effects of a pandemic: reduced staffing numbers, border closings, and unusual patterns of shipping activity, just to name a few. The information above is a helpful place to start, but it’s far from a comprehensive shipping strategy for your business.

In times like these, you need a partner in the logistics space on whom you can count – one who has the capacity to stay abreast of the ever-changing adjustments caused by COVID-19 and can make actionable recommendations on how to cost-effectively ship parcels while maintaining on-time delivery rates. Ready to find that partner? Talk to a Logistyx expert today.

UPS and FedEx Announce 2020 Rate Hikes

The new FedEx and UPS rate hikes for 2020 are a lot to process but worth the effort to understand and project their impact. Of course, some changes will affect certain types of shippers more than others, but Logistyx has you covered when it comes to understanding what to expect and how to take action.

Lean on procurement services

Logistyx’s procurement features allow customers to estimate what some of these changes will cost them before they take effect. Knowing ahead of time supports contract negotiations with the big parcel carriers, and it means they’ll have a chance to prepare by adjusting business rules, repackaging goods or taking other steps.

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shippingFor example, one set of rate increases relates to two- and three-day air delivery. Fees for deliveries traveling greater distances (to zones 7 or 8) will increase by, in some instances, more than twice as much as deliveries traveling lesser distances (to zones 2 or 3).

In other words, if you regularly ship goods over long distances, UPS two- and three-day air likely won’t be as great of options going forward. It might even warrant adding another U.S. distribution center or incorporating retail stores as nodes in a distribution network. Shippers can also choose to start moving packages differently by outsourcing to 3PL (third-party logistics provider) warehouses, zone skipping or transporting goods to carrier depots closer to customers.

Stay diligent when it comes to fees

Our auditing function helps you to analyze fees and determine how to avoid them. The tool helps shippers monitor cost impacts that could take them by surprise, including:

  • Reducing the weight threshold for its additional handling surcharge from 70 to 50 pounds on UPS Ground and UPS Air services: if you routinely ship heavier products in the 50-70-pound range, this could be a game-changer.
  • A prohibited item fee will apply to packages containing prohibited or restricted articles not in full compliance: shipping lithium batteries, dry ice and more requires special labeling and non-compliant shippers will pay greater fines in 2020.
  • FedEx Express and Ground will average a 4.9% increase.

Concerned about rising carrier rates and how to mitigate them?

Contact us for a complimentary assessment.

A Checklist for Selecting a Multi-Carrier Shipping Solution

The ability to quickly adapt to customer demands, open up new markets, or switch service providers is vital in today’s economy. This also applies to parcel shipping – an area of growing importance across all industries in our e-commerce era.

These needs gave rise to TMS-for-Parcel solutions. These platforms offer enterprises the ability to tap into a wide array of parcel carriers and services, increasing flexibility and greatly reducing costs for shipping and IT-integrations. But how do you select the shipping solution that is right for you?

One platform, touching on many processes

get the checklist: choose the right tms for parcel shippingSelecting a multi-carrier TMS for Parcel solution for your business is a serious undertaking. This platform touches on countless processes in your organization, from customer service and warehouse floor to your financial administration and supply chain planning. So making an informed decision is vital. To help you make the right choice, we created this checklist containing the most important points of attention in your selection process for a multi-carrier TMS-for-Parcel solution.

Carriers, services & procurement

The core of any great TMS for parcel solution is a wide array of carriers and services users can choose from. Note that ‘carrier’ does not always fit the description here. Many local branches of global carriers operate as separate entities, each with their own labeling and IT requirements. So always verify if a vendor supports the specific carrier services in your key geographies.

SaaS-software & Cloud-hosting The ability to ship parcels via an application hosted in the cloud, connected to your existing systems via an API or integration. This SaaS infrastructure offers increased flexibility and improved data safety over typical on-premise installations of shipping software.
 
Front-end integrations with e-commerce software and platforms Availability of an off-the-shelf integration/partnership with your current e-commerce systems and platform partners (e.g. Amazon).
 
Back-end connectivity Availability of an off-the-shelf integration/partnership for your current back-end systems such as your WMS, OMS or ERP.
 
API structure & documentation The ease with which the TMS can be integrated into other systems via an API and the level of support in this process (API documentation, sample code, technical project management)

Operational

Carrier library size and system connectivity are both vitally important for a good TMS-solution. Still, the true value of these systems is created on your warehouse floors. The power to operate at scale whilst upholding systems speed is essential for any enterprise shipper. This is where the true differences between vendors shine through, so be sure to pay close attention to these operational requirements.

Labeling, documentation & EDI The output of shipping documentation by the system; is this is only shipping labels or also e.g. customs forms or end-of-day manifests.
 
Business ruling A business ruling engine that automatically books shipments with ‘best-fit’ carriers based on business rules.
 
Consolidation of cross-border shipments Ability to consolidate cross-border shipments going to the same geographic area. By skipping zones and avoiding accessorial charges this significantly reduces costs for cross-border

processing, brokerage, and insurance.

 
Real time performance analysis and rerouting Ability to compare selected carrier services against actual carrier performance to find routing alternatives with lower cost implications and/or faster delivery times.
 
Automatic address verification Ability to verify addresses upfront to prevent costly missed deliveries.
 
Service speed Response time of the API / service when booking shipments and generating shipping documentation.

Tracking & Dashboarding

From a shipper’s perspective, most of the job seems done when the parcels leave your warehouse. But for your customers, this marks just the beginning. The ability to keep your customers, and your customer care team, updated on all shipments in real-time is therefore essential. A great TMS solution not only standardizes the shipping process across carriers; it will also create a uniform tracking experience. Ideally, the system allows you to include your branding in all communication.

Real-time Track & Trace Notifications Tooling to send uniform, branded shipping Track & Trace updates across all carriers
 
Real-time Track & Trace portal Branded website or portal via which customers can Track and Trace shipments in real-time (instead of visiting individual carriers’ tracking website).
 
Handling of exceptions Pro-active signaling of delivery exceptions (e.g. delays or re-routing) .
 
Customer Service Tools Real-time shipping insight into shipments via all carriers, allowing  customer service teams to proactively take action in the case of ‘exception events’.

Reporting & Finance

To make strong and informed business decisions you want to rely on ‘a single source of truth’, in which data is connected across all systems in real time. A powerful TMS solution breaks down data siloes, allowing instant access to financial or carrier performance reporting.

Delivery & carrier performance analysis Ability to monitor the delivery performance per carrier, warehouse or geography.
 
Invoice matching

 

Automated auditing of invoices to identify and adjust improperly invoiced items based on contracted rates, claims and “not shipped” transactions.

Contact us for a free consultation

Whatever your company size or need, from customized labels to parcel shipping software, we have the solutions to save time, save money and make your business more successful. Contact us today and a Logistyx representative in your global region will be in touch.

3 Reasons to Attend our Webinar: Carrier Compliance: How Multi-Carrier Shipping Solutions Connect You to your Carriers

Watch the Recording Here

Our webinars with Logistics Management are a great way to learn and share information. We don’t just participate in them to say “we did it”— our goal is to bring invaluable parcel shipping knowledge and share new trends and information with as many manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs as possible.  We know that leveraging best practices is the key to your success, and we take pride in our subject matter experts, our customers’ accomplishments, and our partnership with Logistics Management as a whole.  Next week, our President and CSO Ken Fleming will present: Carrier Compliance: How Multi-Carrier Shipping Solutions Connect You to your Carriers.

Here are three reasons why you should join us on Wednesday, 10/30/19:

Your Transportation Spend is Incredibly Important

Though no shipping manager in their right mind would ever purposely seek out the priciest shipping rates in history, they nevertheless can – and should expect to – experience serious sticker shock if they fail to consider all the complex and often conflicting service charges and fees that carriers assess when a shipment is out of compliance.

In fact, while your carrier’s base rate may be significantly lower than those of its competitors, if your shipment is out of compliance, the same carrier’s fees can wipe away the initial savings.  And if last year is any indication, companies should expect to incur an increasing array of carrier charges. During 2018, one carrier announced a $2.00 per-package processing fee for shippers who fail to provide package level detail (PLD) before delivery.  And as they have typically done in the past, all global carriers increased surcharges for the “usual suspects,” such as address correction.

But there’s good news: Companies don’t have to go it alone. In this webinar, Ken will explain how using sophisticated parcel shipping management processes and technologies as their guide, shippers can navigate through the complex and crowded field of carrier compliance and ultimately achieve cost savings.  In fact, with the right tools in hand, companies can create blended carrier strategies that ensure each parcel they ship gets automatically matched to the ideal carrier service and sent into motion according to carrier-defined rules.  When you consider that according to Gartner, by 2020, same-day delivery will drive up logistics costs as a percentage of revenue by 50%, having parcel shipping technology to eliminate compliance errors – and the associated charges that go with them – is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it’s a true necessity in the modern world of commerce.

You Can Build New Markets

While e-commerce may have shrunk geographic boundaries, crossing these boundaries requires shippers to navigate a labyrinth of local couriers, paperwork, tariffs, and customs – and if a shipment includes a high value or hazardous item, the process is even more elaborate.  Add consumer expectations for same-day/next day delivery to the mix, and organizations are suddenly under tremendous pressure to flawlessly navigate cross-border shipping while eliminating any chance of a shipment being held up at customs.

In this webinar, Ken will challenge you to think about the crucial vertebrae in your supply chain backbone, and how technology can strengthen their performance. For example, a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping connects to all other systems and tools in a boundaryless way, enabling your organization to start small and scale into new markets when ready.  Suddenly, your organization can leverage a single system to manage carrier contracts, comply with label and documentation requirements, and see the long-term impact of various carrier service rates in any location – while also increasing your capacity to identify new carrier services (i.e. locally-based couriers) and on-board them quickly.

Meet Customer Expectations

One of the worst things that can happen when your shipment is out of compliance is that delivery is either delayed or prevented altogether.  And at a time when customer expectations are high and evolving, this is a risk you don’t want to take.  According to a new report from project44, 85% of marketers now say delivery is moderately to very important to their brand and customer experience.  This means that for shippers, working on the customer experience post-sale is essential for repeat purchases.

In this webinar, Ken will discuss how parcel shipping technology, and in particular a TMS for parcel shipping, both accelerates and orchestrates carrier rating, labeling, tracking, and invoicing with greater precision and certainty, making it possible to increase your on-time-in-full delivery rates. It’s multi-carrier shipping at its finest, where all parcel shipments can be accurately prepared for pick-up and delivered where and when the customer wants.

Join Us

Click here to watch the recording and we’ll send you a link to the recording.

 

 

Logistics Viewpoints: Brexit’s Impact on Cross-Border Shipping

With or without an agreement, by the end of October, Brexit will have a major impact on cross-border shipping. To ensure a smooth transition and provide a seamless customer experience in line with expectations, businesses need to plan ahead by better understanding the precise nature and extent of the impending changes.

In a recent article for Logistics Viewpoints, Logistyx Technologies President and Chief Sales Officer Ken Fleming shares some of the inevitable adjustments, challenges and potential implications that Brexit will have on cross-border shipping. Ken also provides a checklist of factors that shippers need to proactively address in order to successfully navigate these effects.

Read Ken’s full article on Logistics Viewpoints: “Brexit’s Profound Impact on Cross-Border Shipping

3 Signs You’ve Outgrown your Shipping Practices

One of the biggest challenges in an organization’s growth is when it becomes evident your shipping environment is no longer working… and yet you’re unsure of what to do next. After all, the processes you’ve painstakingly cobbled together over the years, piece by piece, has brought you to where you are today.

It’s Worked Fine So Far…

Your veteran team members are at ease with the shipping environment you’ve built together. The special amalgamation of spreadsheets, training documents, and carrier workstations feels comfortable. They remember when each piece was added to the puzzle and why. They’re proud of their ability to successfully navigate your shipping “labyrinth”—it’s like a badge of honor to be someone who “gets it.”  Heck – it just might be job security.

But… things are starting to slip. You may notice some team members are overwhelmed and suddenly voicing worry they’re falling “behind,” despite the fact their personal productivity hasn’t changed.  For the first time you might find yourself wondering whether you need to increase staff and looking for month-to-month shipment projections to support your decision – only to come up empty handed. And whenever you train a new employee on the ins and outs of your shipping environment, you’re reminded of just how complex it is.

How do you know when it’s time to abandon your formerly tried-and true shipping practices and embrace the tools of the future—and how do you tell the differences between them? Read on for three telltale signs you’ve outgrown your shipping environment and the time is right to build something new.

1. You’re Embarrassed When You Teach New Hires Your “System”

When you’re showing a new hire the ropes, do you find yourself over-explaining or justifying why you do things a certain way—and facing a perplexed reaction? Are you repeatedly answering the same questions about where to go for a piece of data or how to locate a particular shipping record? Have you ever said, “Yeah, it’s confusing now, but it will make more sense over time?” These are all signs your existing shipping environment is stuck in the past, and if you’re in a growth phase, it’s only going to get more challenging from here.

But when you implement a shipping system that’s intuitive and centralized – not cobbled together from multiple, disconnected solutions and processes – it’s much easier to not only onboard new employees but also to increase the productivity of your current team.

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shipping

For example, Service Lighting and their online superstore, LightBulbs.com, realizes 80% of their sales through e-commerce. Sales are busiest during the holiday season, when order volume triples and shipping operations handle more than a 200% increase in packages a day.  Originally, LightBulbs.com had six shipping workstations, all with standalone, carrier-provided shipping software. The shipping process was cumbersome because the staff had to enter orders in multiple carrier systems, type in the dimensions of every package, and then manually compare and choose the best carrier rate and service.  “Shipping was our biggest bottleneck,” President Paul McLellan said, “We needed to find a way to automate our process and increase productivity.”

LightBulbs.com implemented a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping, gaining the ability to load all carriers onto one platform and automate carrier rate shopping and shipment processing.  As a result, Service Lighting streamlined and improved shipment processing speed and is now handling the same volume of work on two shipping stations instead of six. “We were able to reallocate employees to other areas in the warehouse that needed help,” McLellan said.

2.   You Miss Your Shipping KPIs

Even the best shipping teams will miss a delivery deadline or select the wrong carrier service. However, if these lapses suddenly occur with greater frequency, it could be a sign your existing shipping environment lacks the bandwidth to accommodate growing order volumes.

For example, Faes Group, the leading manufacturer of custom packing solutions in Europe, employed a small team to manually plan its transportation: physically creating each transport order, calling a large number of carriers to verify pricing and schedule transport, and tracking transport movements through phone calls and email exchanges with carriers’ customer service teams.  When Faes Group began to sell its products through e-commerce sites including Amazon, orders increased, delivery service faltered, and pressure mounted.  Said Johan Faes, the founder and director of Faes Group, “Amazon speeds up the process, and if you do something wrong, you get hit hard. If you don’t get your house in order, you can’t sell to a customer like Amazon.”

Faes Group ultimately chose a TMS for parcel shipping to integrate with their large carrier network and automate their end-to-end shipping processes –  gaining the ability to meet increasing order demands without adding staff by automating and optimizing transportation management. Immediate benefits included lower labor costs and improved customer service, and with automated carrier booking and compliance as well as track and trace functionality in the platform, the team directed their attention away from carrier communications and exception management and focused on other value-added activities in the warehouse.

Video: The Critical Capabilities of a TMS for Parcel Shipping 

3. You Can’t Easily Provide Customers with Delivery Information

Think about the steps it takes to tell a customer when their package will be delivered. Do you tell the customer to call the carrier’s customer service number for an update?  Provide the customer with a tracking number and send them a link to the carrier’s website? Fill out a ticket in the carrier’s system and ask the carrier to contact you with an update?  If the process is at all manual or takes hours (heaven forbid days), even for a fairly standard request, then you have your first clue it may be time to consider updating your shipping environment.

For example, as one of the most highly respected and well-known healthcare brands in the world, Bausch + Lomb needs to ensure their product distribution is seamless to maintain their integrity in the industry and keep their customers happy. However, a complex in house system combined with huge growth within the organization was making this difficult to achieve.  Bausch + Lomb was using 25 different carriers, each with their own different services and each with a specific type of bar code that wasn’t always compatible with Bausch + Lomb’s software.  The Bausch + Lomb team had to track thousands of items every week on different carrier sites, which was time consuming, and ultimately the team couldn’t confidently inform customers of exact delivery times.

Bausch + Lomb chose a TMS for parcel shipping to support all carrier services in one complete system, eliminating the need to work on different carrier sites and in different languages.  As a result, they have full visibility – saving at least half a day in labor costs every week and importantly: improving customer satisfaction by providing customers with up-to-date shipping statuses.

Ready for a Shipping System Fit for an Enterprise?

Your shipping practices have served you well. You can be grateful for them without allowing them to hold you back, and if any of these three signs felt familiar, it’s probably time to consider a TMS for parcel shipping. It will create an end-to-end shipping ecosystem – automating processes and centralizing all data so it can be analyzed, reported, and optimized.  It’s an absolute must for dynamic shipping teams in the e-commerce age, and it’s just a click away.

Carrier Services Expand to Help Shippers Compete with Amazon

As Amazon unveils new delivery and pickup options, e-commerce companies, retailers and manufacturers selling directly to consumers must contend with rising customer expectations as Amazon sets that bar still higher. Fortunately, carriers are going to great lengths to improve the efficiency of the last mile, the most expensive part of the fulfillment process, and shippers can take advantage of these new carrier offerings to provide optimal service and streamline the customer experience if they choose their carrier services wisely. Let’s have a look at some major changes that have happened in the last two months.

Amazon creates delivery businesses for employees.

Amazon recently announced its plan to offer employees the chance to start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages. The company pays $10,000 in startup costs for an employee’s independent Amazon delivery business, providing them with the necessary resources for their venture. With Amazon decreasing its Prime shipping time from two days to one, it needs to handle its high parcel volume within a shortened delivery time. As employees create Amazon-backed businesses, the company secures more control of its deliveries through a vast network and decreases its reliance on carriers such as USPS or UPS.

Video: Omnichannel Retail | Duration: 1:21 

Shifting partnerships for carriers and retailers.

Amazon’s desire for carrier independence seems to come at a fortunate time, with FedEx announcing it will not renew its air-delivery contract with Amazon. Amazon represented only 1.3% of total sales at FedEx, and the carrier is likely to work with e-commerce shippers lacking but trying to match Amazon’s fulfillment capabilities and provide services to simplify the entire customer service experience. In 2017, Amazon entered a partnership with Kohl’s, allowing customers to make Amazon returns in stores. FedEx is employing a similar strategy by expanding its reach with Dollar General; 1,500 Dollar General stores will enable customers to drop off pre-packaged and pre-labeled FedEx shipments and pick up packages in the stores. Thanks to Dollar General’s presence in rural locations, the FedEx partnership expands its footprint beyond its FedEx Kinkos locations, enables customers in these markets to send and receive packages without traveling too far, and aims to make e-commerce returns a breeze. By using stores as delivery and return hubs, carriers simplify shopping for consumers regardless of who they buy from while presumably increasing use of their shipping services. As the popularity of e-commerce continues to soar to new heights, shippers face considerable pressure to fulfill customer demands effectively. Carriers are eager to help and working hard to deliver new innovative services, especially for the last mile. It’s up to shippers to pick the best carrier and carrier service to ensure timely, reliable and cost-effective delivery. Logistyx’s multi-carrier technology makes this easy while also improving customer service by offering full transparency and delivery status visibility to customers. We can help you keep up with Amazon and the e-commerce revolution. Learn more about our multi-carrier shipping technology.

Ken Fleming Shares Solutions for Combating Budget-Breaking Carrier Rates in Total Retail

In part one of a two-part article series for Total Retail, Logistyx Technologies President and Chief Sales Officer Ken Fleming shared insights into how retailers can control carrier rates for parcel shipping by using the right tools to achieve cost savings. In the second part of the series, Fleming goes on to discuss how carriers have been able to raise rates due to the challenges around the growing popularity of e-commerce among consumers worldwide and the shortage of qualified drivers in the global shipping industry. To combat these escalating shipping costs and meet the exceeding demands for shipping, retailers should utilize multicarrier technology to effectively choose the ideal carrier at the right time and at the right place. Fleming lays out steps for retailers to effectively negotiate with carriers for the best rates and leverage technology to determine the most time- and cost-effective solution. Read more from Ken Fleming on Total Retail: How Shippers Can Fight Back Against Budget-Breaking Carrier Rates.”

Top 3 Reasons to Attend the Logistics Management Webinar: How to Solve the Unique Challenges of Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping

In partnership with Logistics Management, the next webinar in our series will take place on June 20, discussing the differences between a TMS for freight and a TMS for parcel shipping, and how you can leverage both to land an integrated transportation strategy worldwide. Our webinar will focus on the considerations that should go into the development of a transportation strategy, drawing from use cases that include modern day transportation challenges such as high-volume e-commerce and international shipping. Based on our experience with companies across the globe, we will also introduce our “transportation maturity model” and help you understand where you are and how you can design, implement and optimize a transportation strategy that ensures you are achieving on-time delivery in full while maximizing revenue per shipment.

Think you don’t have time for a webinar? Think again. Global package shipping grew by 48% between 2015 and 2017, and according to FedEx Corp. chairman and founder Fred Smith, B2C e-commerce sales are expected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2020. This will likely translate into never-before-seen shipping volumes over the next couple of years. Adding another layer of complexity: same-day delivery. As of 2017, 15% of global retailers offered same-day delivery service to their customers, and the same-day delivery market is expected to grow significantly. While same-day delivery is a big opportunity for all retailers to improve their service level, it requires a high degree of order fulfillment and logistics sophistication. Major challenges, such as very short fulfillment lead-times and flexible last-mile delivery have to be overcome while bringing cost down to a level that consumers are willing to digest.

Still need convincing? Okay. We feel you. Three more reasons to attend this webinar:

#1: Learn how to design your shipping process and architecture to leverage both a traditional TMS and a multi-carrier shipping solution effectively. Enterprises working towards a global omnichannel distribution model will have a lot to gain. From understanding the freight and parcel shipping technology markets to reviewing current shipping trends, the webinar’s objective is to ensure attendees are building a transportation strategy that meets their long-term business goals.

#2: Prepare for change and understand how your business will use shipping technology to compete and thrive. The manufacturing and retail industries are on the verge of a revolution, in which products are sold through new distribution channels and consumers are forever searching for the absolute in distribution transparency. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to put the right shipping solution in place so you can easily scale to meet these requirements and create a tough-to-beat leadership position.

#3: Learn how to leverage data driven insights as a tool for growth. Chances are, your shipping operations produce a large amount of data. In this webinar, you’ll learn how choosing the right combination of transportation management technology will eliminate information silos and synchronize all data points for reporting that empowers you to grow and optimize your shipping volumes.

Who Should Attend this Webinar? CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, logistics teams, supply chain teams – anyone whose livelihood depends on the success of their business’s shipping. This webinar attempts to offer a unique perspective on items to consider as you set out to build and refine your transportation strategy in 2019, and all are welcome! Register today.

Why “Digital” and “Logistics” are a Perfect Pairing

Logistyx President & Chief Sales Officer Ken Fleming was recently quoted in a Logistics Viewpoints article by Steve Banker, in which Banker outlines how manufacturers, retailers and 3PLs have embarked on a digital transformation journey – beginning with the implementation of multi-carrier shipping software and driving toward better collaboration with key partners in an extended supply chain. For example, organizations using the right multi-carrier shipping software can focus on remaining compliant to carriers’ – like UPS and FedEx – standards regarding how the labels attached to packages should look. The carriers have created these standards to gather the data they need to optimize their logistics and billing processes. If a shipper lacks the right label, the carrier may choose not to pick up the package. If the label is mostly right, the carrier will pick up the package but then fine the shipper.

As Fleming highlights: label compliance is a big job. Logistyx is already complying with almost 500 different carriers’ label mandates, and big carriers can have multiple label formats. States Fleming, “The label formats, manifesting structures and protocols for status updates can all be different in different markets.” In effect, the same carrier looks and acts like a different carrier in different parts of the world. And complying with the standards set by almost 500 carriers understates the problem by an order of magnitude. Logistyx has 8,500 global carrier services, and each service represents a unique way to provide data. For example, a hazardous material shipment requires a different label with distinct data fields. Shipments in Europe require the use of CMR documents. Comments Fleming, “Our philosophy is to never say no. We will always add a new carrier at no cost.” Read more about the digital transformation underway in logistics operations across the world on Logistics Viewpoints: A Digital Logistics Platform.