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Retail Success: What Does a Cloud TMS for Parcel Shipping Have to Do with it?

If you want to achieve success as a retailer in this day and age, it’s time to fully embrace the reality that you’re in the experience business. Transactions are no longer a simple exchange of money for goods or services; consumers demand more. They expect you to win their affection and loyalty by delivering their purchases when they want them, where they want them.

Because of this, the parcel delivery experience is more important than ever. And to thrive and grow in the experience economy, more and more successful retailers turn to a cloud-based Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping.

A Cloud TMS for Parcel Shipping Sets You Up for Success

Retailers such as Belk, Foot Locker, and Home Depot all use our cloud TMS for parcel shipping, Logistyx TME, to:

This enables their global teams to reduce transportation spend, improve on-time delivery rates, fuel agility in their shipping workflows, and gain a competitive edge in their markets.

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways our cloud TMS for parcel shipping can set you up for success in the experience economy.

Expand your Transportation Network

A TMS for parcel shipping allows a retailer to easily deploy a multi-carrier strategy, which means the retailer then has more delivery options to please customers.  Logistyx TME, for example, includes multiple global, regional, domestic, and international carriers in our carrier library, allowing retailers to easily build a unique transportation network to serve their customers. Then, our system rate shops across this network, switching between carriers to continually optimize each shipment to achieve on time delivery at the lowest cost based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, parcel weight, parcel dimension, and any applicable business rules.

And though each carrier has unique requirements for labeling and electronic communications compliance, Logistyx TME simplifies the complexity of this compliance. The system ensures each shipment, regardless of whether it is shipping domestically or internationally or contains hazardous goods, adheres to all carriers’ requirements, including accounting for import tariffs, packaging specifications, and customs rules and regulations – helping retailers avoid additional fees and delivery delays.

States the IT director of one Logistyx customer, “Logistyx gave us the flexibility to add new UPS services and bring FedEx into the fold. With multicarrier options, including Mail Innovations and SmartPost, we’re saving money and providing customers better delivery options.”

Improve the Customer Experience

A retailer is, in a sense, the whole of the experiences it delivers to its customers. And since these experiences are now largely taking place online, retailers have to create memorable customer experiences without traditional in-store tactics such as music, aromatic displays, and sample stations.  The answer: flawless, personalized shipping execution. Free or discounted shipping, on-time delivery, and proactive delivery event communication can go a long way toward winning customer loyalty.

Retailers can start by satisfying their customers’ needs for instant gratification. Shipping behemoths such as Amazon have made two-day product delivery the industry standard, and to keep pace, it’s critical for retailers to decrease lead times by fulfilling orders quickly and working with reliable carriers to maintain on time delivery rates. It’s important to note here that regional carriers can be the key to faster, cheaper, and more flexible delivery services, usually offering next-day ground delivery within 400 miles of a shipment’s origin – often at a lower rate and with fewer surcharges than the national carriers. Logistyx TME includes these carriers in its carrier library and can help retailers quickly connect to their services to create efficiencies in the last mile and improve on-time delivery rates.

Next, satisfy consumers’ demands for a personalized shopping experience. Modern day buyers want more than just easy product selection and ultra-fast or same-day delivery; they also want to choose when, where, and how they receive their order. By allowing customers to pick the delivery timeframe, location (doorstep, curbside pick-up, BOPIS, etc.) and rate, retailers can give their customers additional flexibility. To this end, Logistyx TME helps retailers better serve customers by not only expanding their carrier service options, but also by seamlessly integrating with supply chain technology stacks to provide retailers with the necessary agility to manage shifts in consumer shopping patterns, such as cost-effectively moving in-store inventory and shifting more e-commerce delivery origins from distribution centers to stores.

Beware: offering Amazon-like delivery speeds and flexible delivery options may still not be enough to win those repeat purchases. Delivery accuracy is also crucial. A recent study from BigCommerce states that if an order is delivered incorrectly, late, or not at all, 29% of end customers won’t order again from the same retailer. And the lost sales opportunities don’t stop there. Consumers today share their negative experiences with the world on various social media channels and review sites, which means a bad experience with parcel delivery can quickly lead to the further loss of potential customers. Not surprising, customers want to be confident their product will arrive at its destination on time, and they are now demanding real-time delivery tracking.

While Logistyx TME provides this tracking, we also recommend our customers go one step further and use the Logistyx Control Tower to receive real-time alerts when unwanted delivery events occur, giving retailers the opportunity to troubleshoot. 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. Providing updates when there has been a delivery disruption reassures customers everything possible is being done to meet the original delivery promise and ultimately demonstrates to customers their business is valued.

Beat the Competition

As discussed, a TMS for parcel shipping fuels shipping workflow efficiency and improves the customer experience, which ultimately gives retailers a competitive edge. But the right TMS for parcel shipping will also have other capabilities that can help beat the competition.

For starters, it will enable better decision-making with crystal-clear Business Intelligence and data analytics. So, rather than putting time and money toward shipping strategies that may decrease transportation spend and improve on-time delivery rates, retailers can invest in strategies that they know will work. With Logistyx TME’s Business Intelligence, for example, retailers can run transportation simulations to identify where significant savings opportunities exist, challenging the norm and comparing “what if” to current performance. They have a “sandbox” to approach transportation scenarios with a creative mindset and verify and measure the impact of various scenarios on the bottom line.

Logistyx TME customers also use our Business Intelligence technology to identify carrier delivery performance improvements and cost saving opportunities. 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.

Achieve Success with your TMS for Parcel Shipping

Retailers are faced with the same overwhelming challenge: to create a memorable and consistent experience across an increasingly complicated map of fulfillment touchpoints. But don’t worry, it’s not an impossible feat.

For example, Belk wanted to execute store-level shipping to better serve customers and stand out from other regional department stores. To achieve this, they integrated Logistyx with Manhattan Associates’ order management software to provide their stores with inventory visibility and instant access to carriers and services offering the best rates for each particular location.  Ken Fleming, President, Logistyx Technologies explains, “While simple in theory, executing store-level shipping presents considerable challenges for some retailers, including limited carrier selection and complex rate shopping. Our software is able to address these issues, providing retailers with the ability to move inventory from all locations whether in distribution centers, warehouses, or stores and optimize delivery cost and efficiency to improve the customer experience.”

You can get an inside look at the same tool Belk uses to achieve this success. Sign up for a demo today and see what it’s like to simplify the complexity of high volume, omnichannel parcel shipping.

Make these 4 Shifts to Transform Parcel Shipping

2021 is the year of the comeback. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to grow this year between 6.5% and 8.2%, amounting to more than $4.33 trillion in sales. And with Q1 2021 on the books, retailers are now preparing for their peak season(s) by fine-tuning their rebound strategies, shifting their technology to embrace transformation and avoid last year’s challenges. Four key priorities to transform parcel shipping include:

1. Adopting a Cloud First Mindset

In 2018, Gartner predicted more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending would be affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022, a prediction that is now proving true across the Logistyx customer base. Retailers are quickly discovering how cloud-based solutions offer a clearer view into all areas of the supply chain, increasing access to data to make better business decisions and seamlessly connecting people, processes, and third parties to operations in real time.  As a result, they’re prioritizing cloud adoption and migration projects with a fair amount of urgency.

Cloud-based shipping technology enhances the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of supply chains, empowering all users to execute, track, and analyze parcel shipping processes in a single solution. This improves reaction time, collaboration, and decision-making accuracy when the unexpected occurs, whether with a single customer order or because an event impacts the entire supply chain. During the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, retailers with cloud shipping systems had the necessary visibility and agility to move inventory and convert temporarily-shuttered retail stores into distribution centers, keeping staff employed and meeting a ballooning demand to ship goods and sell store inventory.

Cloud systems also offer a much lower total cost of ownership, are simpler to implement, provide more robust data security than most retailers can themselves, and require no ongoing internal IT support. Many retailers have approached Logistyx for cloud multi-carrier shipping systems because, “We want the benefits of multi-carrier shipping technology, but we don’t want to be in the IT business.”

2. Integrating Cloud Technology and Building a Supply Chain Ecosystem

When the shipping execution process is seamlessly integrated with the total fulfillment workflow in the cloud, new automation opportunities appear that bear substantial cost savings.  Therefore, many retailers have identified seamless integration between a cloud multi-carrier shipping system and systems such as e-commerce, WMS, OMS, and ERP as a crux capability.

For example, with an integrated supply chain technology stack, retailers reduce fulfillment costs by reducing the number of times a product is manually handled throughout the fulfillment process.  The final pack, inspection, weigh, and release are accomplished with only one bar code scan.  And an integrated supply chain technology stack means shipments can be executed throughout an enterprise regardless of multiple shipping origins and/or multiple modes of transportation.  With a single database and single-user interface, the system enables rating and routing rules to be set for all locations.

Finally, once a cloud-based supply chain technology ecosystem is in place, retailers can increase the speed of information flows within the organization, making it easy to set and measure corporate KPIs, compare and contrast historical information of multiple-mode shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins, and identify efficiencies and opportunities to optimize order fulfillment.

3. Normalizing Agility

In 2020, some retailers were able to demonstrate their ability to respond to a crisis with impressive agility. Now, more retailers are looking to make agility a permanent state of mind, whether in transportation planning or in execution, and they are turning to cloud multi-carrier shipping systems to give leaders quick and easy access to the data they need to continuously adapt, prioritize, and realign. A cloud multi-carrier shipping system is the connective tissue between inventory locations, carriers, and enterprise systems, linking and presenting data and insights from disparate systems to key decision makers at the right time. A centralized platform becomes the source of truth for all order fulfillment information and the fuel for data-driven decisions—the basis of making agility not just a crisis response, but a steady state.

4. Partnering with Vendors to Achieve Transformation

Partnering with the right technology providers underpins transformation success. Retailers are looking to Identify technology providers that are forward-thinking, with product roadmaps that reflect a  visionary mindset. They want partners who are willing to have conversations about what their organizations are really trying to achieve and the technology they need to get there. The right partner can offer long-term strategies and solutions for:

  • Meeting changing customer expectations
  • Quickly responding to new product and service requirements
  • Leaning on extended, multi-tier partner and carrier networks that offer more flexibility and savings
  • Identifying inefficiencies and areas of opportunity through complete shipping operations visibility
  • Creating an agile logistics infrastructure that withstands complex supply chain issues
  • Using data analytics to support strategies, innovation, and growth

Find the Right Partner to Transform Your Parcel Shipping

For retailers worldwide, now is the time to solve problems and execute transformation. The journey requires the right mindset and the right technology. Get started today with our Quick Guide: Critical Capabilities of a TMS for Parcel Shipping.

 

4 Strategies to Create Shipping Offers that Make Customers Happy

Based on Baymard Institute’s 2019 research, the average e-commerce cart abandonment rate is approximately 70 percent, and one of the key drivers behind cart abandonment is the “sticker shock” that occurs when extra charges associated with shipping are presented at checkout. A December 2020 survey by RetailMeNot reinforces these findings, reporting 82 percent of survey respondents prefer free shipping to paying a fee to have their shipments expedited, and 70 percent prefer a lower price than waiting longer to receive their order.

Though Amazon has clearly normalized free same-day and next-day delivery, e-commerce retailers are often unable to absorb shipping costs, which typically account for up to 5% of the total cost, without significantly sacrificing their margins. RetailMeNot’s research also found that 63% of merchants have trouble matching or beating shipping deals offered by their rivals.

Minimize Parcel Shipping Costs

The key to offering free shipping is to find the sweet spot between costs and increased sales. How? Many companies are embracing free or expedited shipping to gain a competitive advantage, but also using the following four strategies to increase the profit per item shipped:

1. Implement Cloud Parcel Shipping Software

With consumer expectations mounting, many retailers turn to cloud parcel shipping software to keep shipping costs palatable while improving delivery speeds. Long used by retailers such as Belk and Men’s Wearhouse, cloud parcel shipping software can yield a number of benefits for companies hoping to compete by enabling them to automatically compare carrier rates, print carrier compliant shipping labels and documentation, track delivery, and simplify the complexity of returns.

2. Find the Pricing Model that Works Best

Retailers should be sure to choose the right pricing model. While any merchant can benefit from Cost of Distribution (CoD) reductions, cost savings will vary depending on the answer to one question: does my CoD represent a significant portion of my net landed cost of goods? In general, free shipping offers are better suited to high-margin items and/or low-shipping-cost items. Possible strategies to balance costs with profits include:

  • Requiring a minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping
  • Offering flat rate shipping for commodity items of a similar size and shape
  • Integrating cloud parcel shipping software with e-commerce technology to present real-time shipping quotes to customers for oversized or heavy orders

3. Leverage Less than Truckload (LTL) Rates for Bulk and Oversized Shipments

For buyers with large orders and longer delivery windows, retailers can save upwards of 50 percent by choosing to ship using LTL services instead of parcel.

4. Consider Hybrid Mail Shipping

When delivery speed isn’t a priority, hybrid mail services such as UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost can cost substantially less than standard UPS and FedEx services, assuming package dimensions and size requirements are met.  In hybrid mail shipping, packages originate with UPS or FedEx, but go to a United States Postal Service (USPS) sorting facility for final mile delivery. It’s important to note: hybrid mail shipping often leads to delays and parcel tracking may be unavailable, which means merchants who offer this carrier service for customer orders must position the option clearly as a niche choice for those who don’t care when their order arrives. Some merchants retain this as a delivery option primarily to give customers an alternative to premium charges for faster, traceable deliveries. In this context, merchants give a sense of control to customers, who decide if they want to spend extra to receive it faster.

Logistyx Can Help

Logistyx helps e-commerce and omnichannel retailers keep customers happy and costs in line. To learn more about how Logistyx streamlines and simplifies parcel shipping, download this Insider Q&A with our President, Ken Fleming.

Find the Best Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Technology

Parcel volumes are surging.  Carrier capacity is tight.  Surcharges have been announced and your transportation spend is about to take a hit.  You know it’s time to find the best multi-carrier parcel management software available, but the number of options and information can be overwhelming.  Where should you start?

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you identify your needs, streamline your technology options, and ultimately find the “best fit” multi-carrier parcel management system for your organization.

What is the “Best Fit?”

A multi-carrier parcel management platform that works well for one organization may not work well for another. Carrier networks vary. Fulfillment scenarios differ. Customs and cross-border regulations diverge from one region to the next.  Therefore, for large enterprises tackling complex distribution scenarios and same-day/next-day delivery expectations, there is no “one size fits all” approach to parcel shipping. Instead, your goal is to find the “best fit” multi-carrier parcel management software for your organization.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingTo help kick off your search for this “best fit” technology, you can watch vendor webinars or attend industry conferences (virtually!). You can also read case studies and download white papers. And of course you can talk to multi-carrier parcel management experts about the solutions they recommend.

Here are some of our specific resources to help:

  • The Logistyx QuadrantThis resource helps you assess your current shipping operations and identify both the necessary features and functionality you need in a multi-carrier parcel management system today, as well as critical tools and technology for meeting your longer-term objectives.
  • Checklist: Choose the Right TMS for Parcel Shipping: This checklist defines the essential elements of an effective multi-carrier parcel management system: a large carrier services network, an open platform, multiple integration options, control tower and real-time reporting, cloud architecture, and more. Organizations that seek to implement technology with these features meet their parcel shipping KPIs and optimize their return on investment.
  • Quick Guide: Critical Capabilities of a TMS for Parcel Shipping: This guide provides an overview of “must have” features and functionality in a multi-carrier parcel management system to streamline order fulfillment operations and achieve cost-effective, on-time delivery.
  • How to Select the Right Shipping System for your Business: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3: This series of blog posts outlines what multi-carrier parcel management technology is and why now is the right time to make an investment. The series explains why major manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs use this technology to scale their parcel shipping operations and power their order fulfillment strategies, and it offers tips for building a business case for a multi-carrier parcel management system within your organization.
  • Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Case Studies: To understand what you need from multi-carrier parcel management technology; it may help to read about real-life use cases. Logistyx’s customer case studies reveal real and relatable ways manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs use multi-carrier parcel management systems to scale parcel shipping volumes, streamline parcel shipping execution, and optimize transportation spend.
  • Logistyx Research Solutions: These research pages are designed to help you discover the parcel shipping information that’s important to you. They provide useful background and insights upon which you can rely when researching your options, developing an RFP, and evaluating vendors.
  • Analyst Reviews: Industry analysts help businesses identify the best supply chain technology for their needs. Gartner, for example, provides real-time industry intelligence and makes technology recommendations and vendor introductions for their clients. Their research and consulting services can be invaluable in your multi-carrier parcel management system search.

Where does Logistyx fit?

Built for high velocity parcel shippers by industry experts, Logistyx TME is powerful, versatile technology – and the right fit is just as important to us as it is to you. We want to ensure every Logistyx TME customer is set up for success, and so we too look for “best fit.”

Here are some of the criteria we use:

  1. You need an open platform.
    A multi-carrier parcel management system with an open platform will expedite data mapping. This will give you flexibility in integrating with other systems, such as an ERP, WMS, and/or OMS.  You’ll be able to seamlessly exchange data with these business-critical systems without building custom UIs and ultimately, you’ll improve the time to value of your investment and optimize the infrastructure for your business long-term in the cloud, in the data center, and in your tech stack.
  2. (See #1 above). You are interested in integrating your multi-carrier parcel management system with other enterprise technology.
    Logistyx TME can be integrated with your existing supply chain technology stack, amplifying the ROI of your technology assets and optimizing your end-to-end order fulfillment workflows. Logistyx offers both “out-of-the-box” as well as custom integrations, allowing you to build the supply chain ecosystem that meets your needs.
  3. You want more than a platform; you want a partnership.
    Your parcel shipping needs will change over time. Consider what’s transpired in the last six months alone!  Logistyx wants to be a reliable part of your team both today and as you navigate the shipping landscape ahead. We see our client relationships as partnerships, and we are committed to our customers’ long-term success.  We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service and support, and we take the trust our customers have in our teams and in our technology seriously.
  4. You want industry expertise.
    Logistyx is oft-recognized for its innovation and industry leadership. Recent awards include the 2020 SaaS Awardin the category “Best SaaS for Shipping, Inventory or Vehicle Logistics,” the Silver StevieÒ Award in the Company of the Year – Computer Software category, the 2020 FedEx Diamond and Platinum Tier Awards, and the #1 Fulfillment Software Provider to Internet Retailer’s Top 1000 Retailers. We regularly contribute articles and thought leadership via our blog and in industry publications, and we are proud of our leadership team, which is consistently recognized for their talent and expertise.

Where do you fit?

If you have questions or would like to schedule a demo of Logistyx TME, contact a Logistyx expert today. We’re looking forward to helping you analyze your needs and determine which multi-carrier parcel management system is the best fit for you.

Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Systems Give Shippers Digital Agility

For supply chains to successfully weather (pun intended!) unexpected events, they require digital agility.

In a BCG study of more than 200 companies, digitally agile businesses achieved 1.8x higher earnings growth than digital laggards—and more than double the growth in total enterprise value.  BCG also found that digitally agile companies are best situated to realize a “resiliency dividend,” by leveraging technology and digital capabilities to steer their business in real (or near-real) time to strengthen their position in the midst of a crisis.

But what does it mean to have digital agility?  And how can your organization get there?

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingAccording to Peter Fretty, technology Editor at IndustryWeek, digitally agile businesses use automation to reduce cost and errors, while improving productivity and raising revenue.  And when it comes to supply chains, and in particular to parcel shipping, businesses can find this agility in multi-carrier parcel management technology to rate shop across multiple carriers, improve real-time delivery visibility, monitor KPIs in real time, and ultimately position themselves to successfully weather (pun intended again!) the unexpected.  Below are three features a best-of-breed multi-carrier parcel management system should have in order to help companies improve the digital agility of their supply chains:

The Latest Cloud Technology

Best-of-breed multi-carrier parcel management systems leverage state-of-the-art cloud technology.  Cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems allow businesses to seamlessly connect people, processes, and third parties to their parcel shipping operations in real time, regardless of location and with minimal upfront costs and IT investment. All users can execute, track, and analyze parcel shipping processes in a single solution – improving reaction time, collaboration, and decision-making accuracy when the unexpected occurs. ​Furthermore, using a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system enables businesses to realize a return on investment quickly — without the hit of an initial investment and with the benefit of accelerated implementation and integration processes.

Control Tower

Companies that leverage digital technology have end-to-end supply chain visibility and are able to anticipate disruptions and take preemptive action to maintain KPIs.  For example, multi-carrier parcel management systems with a Control Tower provide real-time information on delivery events and estimated arrival time of shipments.  The system will send early warning signs when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” providing customer service teams with the necessary agility to proactively trouble-shoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer.  Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables businesses to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and giving them more maneuverability in carrier contract negotiations.


Business Intelligence

Digitally agile companies have the ability to easily collect and organize their data to inform decision-making when unexpected events occur. Often, they’ll leverage best-of-breed multi-carrier parcel management systems with Business Intelligence tools to quickly address issues and improve their shipping operations.  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.  Regardless of how a business leverages Business Intelligence, however, what’s important to take away is that the net result of each endeavor can be significant from an agility 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.”

Prepare for Anything

Achieving digital agility is critical for companies to navigate unpredictable environments. Leveraging a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system with a Control Tower and Business Intelligence like Logistyx TME ensures businesses are prepared for anything.

Learn more about the benefits of Logistyx TME.

 

 

4 Reasons Why It’s the Right Time to Invest in a Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System

Investing in new technology might seem unreasonable given today’s climate, but companies with a growth mindset are actually moving forward with new technology implementations, and in particular with cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems, to ensure that when the economy rebounds, they have the competitive edge.  Rather than plan for a return to “normal,” these businesses are instead using this time to redefine “normal” and prepare their supply chains to compete and win in a new landscape, with sustained increases in e-commerce and omnichannel distribution occurring across most industries.

Here are four reasons why a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system will be instrumental in this “new normal:”

1. Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Systems Digitize the Supply Chain

One way to prepare supply chains for the new normal is to digitize supply chain management and move the supply chain technology stack to the cloud.  This will improve the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of the supply chain by building a single source of truth, and a digitized supply chain improves a company’s ability to anticipate risk, improve transparency and coordination across the supply chain, and manage the issues that arise from increasing complexity.  Retailers with cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems have had the necessary visibility and flexibility to move inventory and use stores as distribution centers during the COVID-19 outbreak.  In flexing these omnichannel fulfillment muscles, they’ve been ahead of the game.  Others are learning from their example and positioning themselves accordingly to prepare for the next disruption.

2. Cloud Expands Transportation Networks

Another way to prepare supply chains for the “new normal” is to expand the transportation network.  In the early stages of a business’s growth, a single-carrier system may make sense because order volume isn’t high enough to warrant using more than one carrier service, but when online sales increase and customers are looking for personalized delivery (BOPIS, parcel lockers, etc.) shippers have no choice but to onboard new carrier services to meet customer expectations while keeping costs palatable.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingA cloud multi-carrier parcel management system enables shippers to leverage multiple carrier services, effectively “rate shopping” among the carriers in its transportation network to identify the most cost-effective service for every parcel, accounting for factors such as origin, destination, lead time, business rules, and more, ensuring every shipment is in compliance with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations.

In addition, cloud multi-carrier shipping software enables shippers to easily use “zone skipping” (also known as “hub induction” or “direct injection”) to improve customer service and decrease transportation costs. Zone skipping occurs when multiple customers’ orders are consolidated for the first leg of the delivery journey and then inserted into a parcel carrier network for the last-mile delivery. This is especially beneficial for cross-border shipping because it significantly simplifies end-to-end logistics and decreases customs clearance costs.  The approach also provides greater flexibility since shippers can select local carriers in different countries and regions that have optimal delivery networks for serving their customers.

3. Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Systems Optimize Transportation Network Strategies

Conditioned by ecommerce behemoths, customers now have high expectations for order fulfillment. They demand more than just easy product selection and ultra-fast or same-day delivery; they also want flexibility in both delivery location and delivery time, and real-time updates throughout their order’s journey. And just because there’s a global pandemic doesn’t mean these customer expectations have changed. On the contrary, many people are becoming more and more used to rapid delivery and “Amazon-like” customer experiences since being quarantined at home.

Unfortunately for many shippers, these expectations push resources to the breaking point, making it more difficult to think strategically about smart ways to limit shipping costs. However, those who understand what’s at stake with order fulfillment and commit to reducing costs, providing optimal service, and streamlining the customer experience, often turn to cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems to make gains happen quickly.

The right cloud multi-carrier parcel management system will include Business Intelligence that enables shippers to take a data-driven approach to optimize their transportation network strategy to efficiently ship goods worldwide at the lowest possible cost while meeting or exceeding customer expectations.  Business Intelligence will provide detailed insight into current costs, including total shipping costs, shipping costs down to the SKU level, costs by carrier, carrier service levels, on-time delivery percentages, accessorial fees, and more.  These analytics can then be used to identify opportunities to save money, improve customer service, or both.

For example, it may be standard operating procedure to book the least expensive carrier on a lane. However, it’s possible the least expensive carrier is also late 40% of the time. While anecdotal evidence might not be enough to build a case for switching to a slightly more expensive carrier, hard data can. With data, it’s easy to build a case for pivoting to a carrier with better on-time delivery percentages to improve the customer experience and win repeat business.

4. Cloud Systems Improve the Customer Experience

A state-of-the-art cloud-multi-carrier parcel management system will include a Control Tower, giving shippers a heightened level of visibility into an order’s journey from its point of origin to its point of destination, so shippers can monitor carrier performance and respond rapidly to any issue or disruption. 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.

A cloud multi-carrier parcel management system even makes it possible for organizations to provide customers with the ability to track and trace shipments on their own (not the carrier’s) website – reducing inbound calls about shipment status to customer service and increasing the customers’ browsing behavior while on the website, which (fingers crossed!) could lead to additional purchases.

Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables shippers to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and better informing carrier contract negotiations.

The Freedom to Be Nimble

Cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems improve order fulfillment efficiency, giving shippers the freedom to be nimbler, to offer customers more flexibility, and to surpass competitors by:

  • Providing fast, flexible delivery services, increased transparency, and proactive responses to individual needs
  • Identifying and quickly onboarding new carriers to better leverage last-mile services and expand into international markets
  • Tracking compliance and on-time delivery rates with an eye toward correcting problems
  • Uncovering savings opportunities with Business Intelligence

Seeking more information about why now is the right time to implement a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system, despite today’s economic climate? Watch this webinar with Ken Fleming, President of Logistyx: The New Definition of Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping.