Supply chain leaders are most interested in how parcel shipping software capabilities can support their business outcomes, the ROI.
Most parcel shipping systems have great features and functionality, with capabilities such as robust rating, rate shopping, and carrier compliant labeling and documentation. More sophisticated parcel shipping solutions meet the complex needs of global enterprise organizations and include cross-border shipment execution functionality, a Control Tower, and Business Intelligence. They’re also built on a cloud-based architecture for easy scalability, state-of-the-art security, and seamless integrations with enterprise supply chain solutions such as WMS, TMS, OMS, and e-commerce systems. (Logistyx does this and more.)
But while most parcel shipping software vendors are focused solely on their technologies’ features and functions, supply chain leaders are more interested in how these capabilities can support their business outcomes. Therefore, Logistyx adopts this outcomes-based mindset during discovery meetings with our prospects, and we help every customer 1) articulate the goals they seek to achieve with their technology and 2) calculate the time necessary to achieve them, or the technology’s Time to Value (TTV).
What are the top goals of companies using parcel shipping software?
Based on our years of experience in the parcel shipping space, we have identified 11 top goals customers seek to achieve through their investment in a parcel shipping solution.
- Expand transportation networks: Using a single carrier will always increase risk. Single-carrier relationships may look good at the outset, but over time, the carrier lacks motivation to excel in service or pricing because the relationship offers no competitive impetus. Furthermore, a broad carrier network enables companies to ensure they have carrier capacity and flexibility in every shipping scenario. Even in the face of recent crises, companies with multiple carriers were better able to successfully navigate capacity limitations and minimize the impact of surcharges.
- Automate rate shopping: A common feature of parcel shipping software is the ability to rate shipments and compare those rates across contracted carriers for the same weight, destination, and delivery times and then select the optimal carrier for the shipment. In addition, most systems can shop between the parcel mode and the LTL freight mode for those loads that could use either mode.
Again, without multiple carriers competing for their business, shippers can’t execute this valuable function.
- Automate carrier compliance: Today’s parcel carriers have stringent requirements for meeting their compliance programs for all service levels (next-day, express, ground, COD, etc.). These compliance programs address all facets of the shipping process from rating, creation of proprietary bar coding, EDI transmission of shipping manifests, and track-and-trace functionality, to name more than a few. Parcel shipping technology ensures that each shipment, regardless of carrier, follows these requirements.
- Consolidate shipments: Often, the same customer/recipient can place multiple orders in the order management system within minutes of each other, without adequate planning taking place to take advantage of packing those orders into one container. A multi-carrier parcel shipping solution can perform these consolidations at the time of order or at the end of the day to ultimately reduce transportation cost.
- Achieve on-time delivery: To achieve on-time delivery in full and guarantee the best customer experience, shippers must always have their eyes on all shipments. Seems impossible? With the ad hoc and real-time reporting tools in parcel shipping software, this is precisely the level of visibility available. The right solution will have a Control Tower, so as parcel shipments move through carriers’ global supply chains, shippers receive instant warning alerts if a parcel is off track or behind schedule.
- Optimize transportation by using business rules: A parcel shipping system “filters” requests through business rules execution. These rules can be turned on or off, thus giving the shipper more control over the automated shipping methods used to control process flow or customer transit preferences and ultimately reduce the cost of the transaction.
- Integrate parcel shipping software with enterprise supply chain solutions: When the shipping execution process seamlessly integrates with the total fulfillment workflow, new automation opportunities appear that bear substantial cost savings. For example, shippers can execute shipments throughout their organization, regardless of multiple shipping origins. With a single database and single-user interface, rating and routing rules can be set for all locations and the shipper gains efficiencies by managing all transactions in one system.
- Execute cross-border shipments: Due to regulations, tariffs, and documentation, cross-border commerce used to be one of the most intimidating aspects of parcel shipping. Thankfully, this is in the past. Parcel shipping technology, with an integrated process for cross-border shipping, alleviates customs anxiety by automatically identifying and providing the appropriate documentation for any shipment. The system also allows shippers to analyze cross-border operations and find opportunities for consolidation, mode shifting, and cost efficiencies as parcels move from point A to point B around the world.
- Improve reporting: Once the parcel shipping software has collected all the shipping origins, carrier data, shipping transactions, and business rules in ONE database, the enterprise shipping information can be more readily accessible for Business Intelligence reporting. In most cases, this will be the first time the shipper is able to compare historical information of multi-carrier shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins.
- Migrate to the cloud: Accessibility, security, scalability — these are just a few of the many benefits of using a cloud-based parcel shipping solution. A cloud platform allows shippers to seamlessly connect people, processes, and third parties to 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.
- Execute omnichannel order fulfillment: Successful shippers are the ones that can pull multiple order fulfillment levers – such as ship from DC; ship from store; and BOPIS. A parcel shipping system that integrates with a WMS, OMS, e-commerce, and/or ERP solution can automate omnichannel shipping. Regardless of which delivery option a customer chooses, the system automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to parcel origin and destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents.
While goals vary by customer, the first one on this list – expand transportation networks – is now the primary goal for most shippers with whom we speak. Most recognize gaining a foothold in today’s carrier-led market is the first major step towards executing cost-effective order fulfillment. And from there, we help customers select additional goals and outline how to work towards them.
Parcel Shipping Software Value is a journey
It’s important to recognize that realizing your parcel shipping software solution’s value is a journey, and it’s unrealistic to think you’ll achieve all goals simultaneously. In estimating the TTV, shippers should view the TTV journey in phases. As stated, our experience proves that while most of our customers begin their journey with us to expand their transportation networks and to automate rate shopping, they stick with us to get into more advanced capabilities to support increasingly complex distribution scenarios. In fact, one of our favorite parts of the job is working with our customers to ensure they’re maximizing their parcel shipping software investment by taking advantage of some of the sophisticated functionality available in our solutions.
The new year is the perfect time to set your goals. Talk to an expert today about how quickly our customers recognize the TTV of their Logistyx parcel shipping solutions.