7 Logistics Trends That Will Radically Change the Shipping Landscape in 2022 Read Now

Improve Parcel Shipping Software ROI by Focusing on Desired Outcomes

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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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.

Returns Eating into Retailer Margins after Holiday Season

According to The Wall Street Journal, extended return windows for holiday shoppers combined with rate increases from parcel carriers could cut into profit margins significantly. They estimate that between $112 billion and $114 billion in goods could be returned to U.S. retailers, up from $100 billion in 2020 and $95 billion in 2019.

Between carrier capacity constraints, rising shipping costs, and staff pay to process the returns and evaluate whether the products can be shelved and re-sold, the costs add up quickly. In fact, for some retailers, it’s less expensive to refund the money and let the customer keep the item than to take it as a return.

Logistyx has detailed the importance of having a comprehensive returns strategy in place numerous times, setting up a parcel returns resource center dedicated to the topic. Among the resources available:

While the returns trend isn’t new, it’s still an overlooked part of the sales process that retailers must consider and optimize to ensure both customer satisfaction and a healthy bottom line.

Contact us today to learn how advanced multi-carrier parcel shipping technology can help your organization optimize it’s returns process and determine which approach is best based on your business goals.

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Investors Pumping Money into Logistics Technology

As more companies race to digitize operations to help address the world’s supply chain gridlock, an investment rush into logistics technology has emerged.

According to The Wall Street Journal, many supply chain and logistics technology companies are drawing big investments, including those focused on tools for operations such as managing warehouses, matching freight loads to transportation capacity, and mapping out cost-effective routes to move goods.

“Shipping bottlenecks and shortages of everything from semiconductors to chicken wings are drawing more attention to technology aimed at streamlining supply chains and boosting efficiency in distribution networks. Companies are also looking to automation and software to help tamp down rising logistics costs and meet growing demand for e-commerce and delivery services.”

This significant advancement of and attention to logistics technology driven by the pandemic and subsequent e-commerce surge echoes recent comments from Bart De Muynck, VP analyst for transportation technology at Gartner Inc.: “The dramatic growth of parcel volumes, and the increasing complexity and breadth of delivery networks, has only heightened the need for more advanced, flexible, and adaptable multicarrier parcel management technologies.”

Navigating supply chain challenges and the complexity of global distribution scenarios can make it difficult for shippers to meaningfully plan shipments and compete in the same-day delivery economy. That’s why investment in logistics technology has become so critical for shippers looking to meet today’s consumers’ delivery expectations.

With the right multi-carrier shipping software that supports a higher degree of automation, shippers can effectively manage carrier contracts, rating, rate shopping, carrier compliance, delivery event track-and-trace, and more – all in one solution. The agility of a cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system offers the ability to scale quickly to accommodate surges in shipping volumes and quickly onboard new carriers with minimal impact on internal IT departments.

Shippers seeking to optimize their parcel shipping strategies can achieve immediate benefits by turning to multi-carrier shipping systems to get the most value from their transportation networks – automating carrier service rate shopping according to their business rules and within their own contracted carrier network to ensure the right carrier and service is selected to meet customer expectations for the best cost.

Utilizing this advanced technology combined with other high-value offerings like business intelligence can provide shippers with a roadmap for future success by aggregating, normalizing, and reporting transportation data while also offering insights to help contain costs and improve operations.

In today’s global economy, businesses can no longer overlook the importance of logistics technology. Parcel shipping technology is poised for continuous improvement, delivering ongoing, cutting-edge functionality and increasingly intuitive operational platforms that make it possible to reduce transportation costs, achieve on-time delivery rates, and create best-in-class omnichannel customer delivery experiences.

Contact us today to learn how investing in advanced multi-carrier parcel shipping technology can help your organization take control of its logistics operations.

Why E-Commerce Demands Multi-Carrier Shipping Systems

Uncover the top ways a multi-carrier shipping system can help you navigate e-commerce fulfillment and prepare for the future.

Online shopping has grown in the past year and is on a trajectory to increase further. Research shows 86% of consumers plan to continue shopping more online well after the pandemic, and 42% hope to make fewer trips to stores in the future. While this trend is good news for retailers, it’s important to remember consumers demand a smooth user experience from the moment they click “check out” to the moment their package is deposited on their doorstep. Failing to satisfy at both the “discover” AND the “deliver” phases of the purchase experience can erode customer loyalty.

Under this intense pressure to fulfill orders on time and in full, retailers were already feeling a strain in their warehouses in 2020 and early 2021. But add peak season-like consumer demands, production bottlenecks, unprecedented cargo logjams, carrier capacity constraints, and skyrocketing freight costs to the end-of-the-year supply chain equation, and suddenly there were plenty of opportunities for e-commerce fulfillment to go wrong. And at the risk of being the bearer of bad news, the new year has not brought new relief to the extent everyone hoped.

Fortunately, our technology has evolved to support these challenges. In this blog post, we will uncover the top ways utilizing a multi-carrier shipping system can help you successfully navigate e-commerce fulfillment and prepare your organization for the future.

Get More Out of your Order Fulfillment Workflows

Regardless of which products you’re shipping, having complete control over – and visibility into – your order deliveries is key to ensuring on-time arrival. Sadly, this kind of control is often hard to come by. Many retailers find the parcel shipping landscape challenging given fluctuations in carrier constraints, changing shipping regulations (looking at you, Brexit), and unexpected carrier fees and surcharges.

But using a cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system with a Control Tower can help you future-proof your order fulfillment workflows against these market changes by giving you the flexibility you need to swiftly initiate:

  • New carrier services
  • Ship-from-store deliveries
  • Ship-to-store deliveries from distribution centers or other stores
  • Online order pickup at curbside or in-store
  • Advanced parcel management, including
    • Automated carrier rating and rate shopping to identify the lowest cost carrier service according to point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeline, and any applicable business rules
    • Parcel consolidation to control costs
    • Mode shopping to find carrier service alternatives
    • Automated cross-border compliance and documentation
  • Parcel shipping activity and status reviews at both large scale and granular levels
  • Automated delivery event alerts

And the features and functionality don’t stop there. The long-term value of cloud multi-carrier shipping technology lies in its inherent ability to grow with you, enabling you to land an integrated transportation strategy worldwide – consistently improving on-time delivery rates and saving money with each parcel journey, no matter what you’re shipping, where you’re shipping, and with whom you’re partnering in the warehouse or on the road.

Even better, when you choose a solution that’s built on an open platform, there’s no end to the “integration” in “integrated transportation strategy.” You’ll be able to seamlessly exchange data with all your business-critical systems as well as with your carriers without building custom UIs. Ultimately, you’ll improve the time to value of your multi-carrier shipping technology investment and optimize the infrastructure for your business long-term in the cloud, in the data center, and in your tech stack.

Boost Your Customer Experience

Not only is multi-carrier shipping technology convenient for your warehouse and order fulfillment teams, but it will also be convenient for your customers as well.

In this digital age, many customers put themselves first and purchase based on convenience. This is a huge driver behind most e-commerce sales.

To continue to keep sales high, sophisticated retailers are integrating their multi-carrier shipping technology with their OMS and WMS solutions to quickly include in-store pick-up as one of their delivery options. When bringing customers in-store, they’re not only decreasing their carbon footprint by reducing the environmental impact of parcel packaging and travel emissions, but they’re also increasing the total purchase value by encouraging in-store foot traffic. (There’s a reason people joke about entering big box retailers for one item and then leaving with $100 worth of merchandise: impulse purchases!)

Furthermore, when retailers integrate their multi-carrier shipping technology with their e-commerce technology, customers can also track their order delivery online on the retailer’s website. This provides peace of mind and a positive brand experience.

And the same positive brand experience can be created with returns. Smart retailers leverage their multi-carrier shipping technology to pre-print a return label and any other required labels (such as hazmat) and include them in the original parcel. This streamlines the returns process for the customer and bonus: it enables the retailer to execute the return shipment at the lowest possible cost – a critical strategy for those that provide free returns.

Free Download - eCommerce Checklist for Peak Season

Looking for the right multi-carrier shipping technology?

Multi-carrier technology is more than just a warehouse solution. It is a combination of broad carrier network access, supply chain technology integrations, and expertise.

With Logistyx, you get all the above. We work to create a partnership with you and your carriers that will help you ship millions of parcels worldwide at the lowest possible cost. Learn more about Logistyx today.

Couriers Entering the Carrier Fray

In early October, Logistyx President Ken Fleming published an article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive – “Expanding the Carrier Definition for Modern Parcel Shipping”– exploring how retailers like Walgreens are turning to the gig economy to improve delivery times and customer service alike.

As the holiday season drew closer and capacity crunches increased with major carriers, more gig economy couriers entered the carrier fray to pick up the slack. Two recent Dive Briefs from Retail Dive highlight this trend:

DoorDash plans to offer rapid delivery for retailers

The company has a few built-in advantages in the nascent space tied to its scale and the fact that millions of consumers already have the DoorDash app on their phones. But for retailers, the most important news is that DoorDash’s broader goal — at least for now — is to eventually offer DashMart rapid delivery as a service.

“We see a larger opportunity to help our partners offer quick deliveries to customers and believe we can take our learnings and play an active role in applying them to our partners’ businesses,” Fuad Hannon, DoorDash’s head of new verticals, wrote in an email. “Our plan is to test, iterate and learn with DashMart and ultimately expand this service to partners.”

Like Instacart, DoorDash is moving beyond courier delivery and online storefronts to offer fulfillment services to retailers. This aims to capitalize on retailers’ need to move beyond store-based fulfillment and explore new digital services as more consumers shop online.

Uber to deliver holiday goods from Rite Aid, GoPuff other retailers via Uber Eats

Uber on Tuesday announced the expansion of its seasonal delivery offerings with the launch of its new holiday hub on the Uber Eats platform. The category will expand throughout 2022 to serve various holidays.

The hub will house its recently launched Holiday Shop, which offers Christmas trees to customers in Los Angeles, San Diego and West Palm Beach as well as wreaths in New York City. Shoppers can open the Uber Eats app, click the “Holiday” billboard, and select holiday items from retailers like Rite Aid, GoPuff and Walgreens, according to the announcement.

As Ken stated in “Expanding the Carrier Definition for Modern Parcel Shipping:”

“By turning to gig economy delivery services, retailers are expanding the definition of a parcel carrier and significantly increasing the fulfillment options available to customers.”

To learn how Logistyx can help you integrate gig-economy couriers into your carrier capacity management strategy, contact us today.

Carrier Capacity Management and Costs Explained

A lot goes into a parcel’s journey from point A to point B. On paper, it may seem like an easy route to follow, but the odyssey from distribution center to doorstep is highly dependent on a carrier’s capacity. In fact, carrier capacity can affect multiple aspects of parcel delivery execution, from cost to arrival time. Without proper carrier capacity management, businesses run a very high risk of incurring unexpected surcharges and fees and disappointing customers with delivery delays.

But what makes these risks so high? And how can you deliver your parcel on time without sacrificing your budget?

Let’s take a deeper look into carrier capacity management and then learn how it can impact your shipment costs.

What is Carrier Capacity Management?

A carrier’s capacity is defined by how much product a carrier can transport at one time. This capacity can vary depending on several factors including seasonality, e-commerce demand surges, truck driver availability, upstream supply chain bottlenecks, and more.

Businesses negotiate with carriers to secure a certain percentage of capacity to ship their products, and they can use input (inventory), output (orders), or both to estimate their shipment volumes. Should a business exceed their negotiated capacity, the carrier(s) will either take the parcel but assess a fee or equally challenging – refuse to take the parcel altogether. It’s also important to note, fees are assessed for businesses that under-utilize their negotiated capacity as well.

Fortunately, good warehouse management software, integrated with multi-carrier shipping software, will measure shipment volumes against carrier capacity thresholds automatically to help businesses manage their carrier capacity and optimize their shipping strategies – essentially maximizing capacity utilization to minimize transportation spend. And by understanding how much product can ship with each contracted carrier at one time, shippers can also communicate accurate lead times and manage shipping expectations with their customers.

Carriers, Shipping Costs, and Peak Season

It’s no secret that during peak season, carriers have high shipping quotas to fill and therefore often tighten capacity limits and increase rates. Why not simply adjust to accommodate the pressure for added volume? Some carriers do, acquiring more planes, trucks, and other delivery transport vehicles ahead of peak season for a smoother shipping process.

However, many carriers do not have this luxury, and therefore they pass the pressure onto their customers in the way of cost increases. For businesses to acquire more carrier capacity during this high-demand period means they pay higher rates, usually in the form of peak season surcharges. And if the businesses are shipping across borders or shipping same-day, the price goes up even more.

Unfortunately, when it comes to peak season, the pain doesn’t end on December 26. To compensate for any expenses the carriers assumed to successfully navigate peak, almost all increase rates in the new year.

The good news is, there are ways around these increases. A multi-carrier parcel shipping strategy automatically decreases transportation spend by enabling businesses to ship parcels with more than one carrier, regardless of whether a business is shipping globally, regionally, or last-mile.

By utilizing a multi-carrier parcel shipping strategy, you can:

  • Mitigate capacity limitations during peak and non-peak seasons
  • Save money with regional carriers
  • Save time with last-mile carriers
  • Ensure on-time delivery when supply chain disruptions such as driver strikes, carrier capacity limitations, and peak seasons occur

However, managing a multi-carrier shipping strategy can be tedious if you don’t have the right technology. No matter whether you’re a retailer, manufacturer, or a logistics provider, multi-carrier shipping technology enables you to ship millions of parcels worldwide at the lowest possible cost by automatically selecting the right carrier for each shipment based on origin-destination, delivery timeframe, cost, and any applicable business rules, such as negotiated capacity.

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Manage Your Carrier Capacity with Logistyx

Featuring state-of-the-art cloud-based multi-carrier shipping solutions, Logistyx can automatically assist you in quickly on-boarding new carriers, scaling your shipping volumes, and monitoring your carrier capacity – without taxing your internal logistics and IT resources. By using our technology to rate, rate shop, and select the optimal carrier for each shipment based on origin-destination, delivery timeframe, cost, and any applicable business rules such as capacity thresholds, you can save precious time and effort and turn toward optimizing your order fulfillment strategies instead.

In a shipping landscape fraught with limited carrier capacity and rising shipping costs, Logistyx’s unique solutions help you take control of your capacity management and reduce your transportation spend. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help your organization manage your carrier capacity.

4 Delivery Management Trends for 2022

Over the course of this year, we’ve seen many new parcel delivery management trends on the rise. The effects of COVID-19 have continued to push shippers’ fulfillment limits and threaten delivery times, making parcel tracking more important than ever. And there has been a huge shift in supply chain performance goals. Now, the importance of supply predictability and efficiency is often minimized to provide the delivery flexibility consumers demand, a difficult dynamic to navigate altogether given recent – and increasing – supply disruptions.

So, what are we looking forward to in 2022? We believe providing a satisfactory consumer experience will continue to be a key theme and should therefore be top of mind as you devise delivery management strategies for your 2022 shipping. We have identified four areas on which to focus:

Location is Everything

In a shipping landscape where consumer convenience dominates, carriers are pushed to get products to consumers faster – as fast as delivery same-day or even delivery within two hours, introduced and normalized by e-commerce giants such as Amazon and grocery and pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and Kroger. But to mimic these retailers’ ability to provide this kind of instant gratification, most retailers need two things: fulfillment centers with available inventory, and fulfillment locations close to their consumers.

Hence, all eyes are on location. If you have a product in a distribution center, but the inventory is in your store and your store is geographically closer to your consumer, shipping from the store instead of the distribution center will decrease shipping costs and improve time-to-delivery. Alternately, major retailers can also offer click-and-collect services, which eliminate shipping costs altogether. Referred to as BOPIS (buy-online-pickup-in-store) or BOPIC (buy-online-pickup-curbside) these services enable retailers to better compete with e-commerce retailers such as Amazon by providing them with a way to offer same-day/next-day shipping to customers without incurring prohibitive shipping costs. And as proven during the pandemic, BOPIS also yields advantages such as contactless delivery, protecting the safety of store associates and customers alike.

Pop Up Distribution Centers

We all love to shop local, so shopping and shipping local naturally go hand in hand. We are seeing a rise in pop-up distribution centers, which bridge the gap that exists between the consumer and the distribution center. Used by major retailers such as Walmart and Amazon, pop-up distribution centers operate similarly to pop-up shops, enabling retailers to quickly and cost-effectively respond to localized demand surges in their supply chains. Shipping products from isolated warehouses to the consumer’s door can take a long stretch of time, so having more localized distribution centers decreases delivery time and allows consumers to receive their orders sooner.

eBook - eBook Peak Season Parcel Shipping Thrival Guide

Cooperation Between Companies

As e-commerce retailers face added pressure to improve their delivery times, out-of-the-box solutions are being developed to meet this need for speed. The partnership between Walmart and Home Depot is one prime example. To expand same-day and next-day shipping, Home Depot has partnered with Walmart’s GoLocal delivery service to take advantage of Walmart’s expansive distribution network. Not only does this free Home Depot from the major carriers’ capacity constraints, but it also cuts shipping costs for Home Depot and gets products into the hands of their consumers faster.

With such monumental steps being taken by two retail powerhouses, we anticipate many other retailers will follow suit and either create their own distribution network or partner with a larger retailer that offers one.

Sustainable Shipping

Every parcel we ship has an impact on the global environment: the manufacturing of the parcel box, the insulation within the package, the gas used for delivery, and the way in which the parcel is disposed once it’s been delivered successfully. This cycle has a negative effect on our environment.

Consumers eager to make same-day delivery the norm are putting pressure on the environment by doing so. Instead of waiting until their regular shopping day to pick something up from the store, they instead want it delivered immediately, which initiates a larger carbon footprint that could have been avoided. Shipping stakeholders worldwide are discussing how to remedy the problem and are likely to continue this discussion into the coming year.

Improve Your Delivery Management in 2022 with Logistyx

Logistyx provides multi-carrier parcel shipping technology to streamline the journey from label to last-mile delivery. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our solutions!

What does Multi-Carrier Shipping Technology Do?

Simply put: multi-carrier shipping technology helps retailers, manufacturers, and logistics providers ship millions of parcels worldwide at the lowest possible cost. 

The goal of multi-carrier shipping software is to help organizations ship high volumes of parcels quickly while decreasing transportation costs. It focuses on simplifying the complexities and operational strain global parcel shipping places on organizations by making it easy to quickly onboard, leverage, and optimize multiple carrier services, including regional and last-mile providers, while also producing the data and analytics necessary to uncover opportunities to increase savings and improve on-time delivery performance. Some multi-carrier shipping systems are better than others, but every quality solution will (at a minimum) provide the following features and functionality:

Benefits of Multi-Carrier Shipping Technology

Multi-carrier shipping technology helps retailers, manufacturers, and logistics providers ship millions of parcels worldwide at the lowest possible cost. The right multi-carrier shipping technology can also help organizations:

  • Integrate with leading ERP, WMS, eCOMM, and TMS solutions to seamlessly receive order information and communicate shipment status.
  • Define custom business rules for rapid parcel carrier selection based on a variety of factors, including customer preferences, package weight, contents, carrier contracts, and rates.
  • Quickly on-board new carriers as parcel shipping needs evolve.
  • Scale shipment volumes rapidly at a lower cost and with very little impact on internal IT departments
  • Determine the best return options, automatically print return shipping labels in advance, and factor returns into the cost of shipping.
  • Receive proactive alerts about delivery problems and turn end-to-end delivery event visibility into proactive problem solving based on custom business rules.
  • Swiftly deploy distributed order management and other advanced fulfillment strategies:
    • Ship-from-store to support rising e-commerce sales
    • Ship-to-store from distribution centers or other stores
    • Online order pickup in stores or curbside
  • Leverage Business Intelligence to:
    • Identify game-changing insights to optimize carrier service selections and costs as part of a digital supply chain
    • Forecast various if-then fulfillment scenarios
    • Identify avenues to faster delivery times and cost-efficient omnichannel retail distribution

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Differentiating between Various Solutions

With hundreds of multi-carrier shipping solutions available, it’s no wonder shippers are often confused about which solutions do what, where they overlap, and which acronyms (we mean technologies) deserve a place in their supply chain stack. To help, let’s take a quick look at what makes multi-carrier shipping technology unique from its closest supply chain relative: Transportation Management Systems (TMS).

Multi-Carrier Shipping Technology

We’ve talked a lot about what multi-carrier shipping technology is and what it does. But to truly understand what separates it from other transportation solutions, we need to remember that (at its core) multi-carrier shipping technology is about parcel shipping. It provides shippers with the technology infrastructure necessary to refine parcel shipping workflows and utilize multiple parcel shipping options in widespread areas for faster delivery – while keeping costs low for businesses. This can extend the reach of delivery, connecting shippers to clientele on a global level. It also saves money since shippers can compare the economic and time-related costs of parcel shipping before the items have left their warehouse premises. Shippers can choose the best option for the company, whether this is the cheapest, fastest, or most premium service.

TMS

In contrast, a TMS (at its core) is about freight shipping. TMS solutions were developed for planning freight movements and include functionality such as freight rating, load planning, and inbound shipping, to name a few. Often, shippers believe a TMS is the answer to their shipping problems, but with e-commerce orders rising each year, TMS-only shipping houses may suffer. TMS solutions “over solve” for parcel shipping challenges and can cause shippers to overspend on technology and over complicate the most critical tasks at hand.

Choosing the Right Shipping Technology

Therefore, before a company embarks on a shipping technology implementation of any kind, it’s important to first analyze shipping volumes by modality and then consider whether a traditional TMS, a multi-carrier shipping system, or both, provide the necessary capabilities. For example, if 20% of a shipper’s volume is FTL, and 60% is parcel, then with both systems in place, the business optimizes 80% of shipments. Of course, some shippers only want to invest in technology that addresses the largest percentage of their shipments, creating instances where a business uses only one or the other.

It’s evident: one size does not fit all. But for those businesses where parcel makes up the largest part of its shipping volume, foregoing a traditional TMS in favor of multi-carrier shipping technology is the obvious choice. The biggest differentiator: carrier compliance for a massive global carrier network. With a traditional TMS, the shipper is responsible for compliance with an ever-expanding field of parcel carriers; a multi-carrier shipping solution takes care of this cumbersome process automatically.

Get the Technology You Need to Operate Effectively

Interested in learning more about how multi-carrier shipping technology can help your organization take control of your parcel shipping? See why you’ll love Logistyx TME.

An Introduction to Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping

It’s no secret that what happens behind the scenes in your supply chain impacts the experience a customer receives with your product. Any flaw — be it a lack of product availability, an incorrect package label, or a carrier delay — affects the quality and consistency of a customer’s experience with your brand. Of course, no organization is perfect (and getting the right supply chain technology stack in place certainly takes some work), but it’s often the organizations that leverage multi-carrier parcel shipping technology that have the advantage.

What is multi-carrier parcel shipping technology?

The elevator pitch: multi-carrier parcel shipping technology is a category of shipping technology that focuses on helping organizations increase transportation cost savings and improve on-time delivery rates.

The deep dive: multi-carrier parcel shipping technology emerged as a solution to address the complexities and operational strain high volume, global parcel shipping places on organizations. The system makes it easy to increase shipping agility by providing shippers with the ability to quickly onboard, leverage, and optimize multiple carrier services, including regional and last-mile providers, while also producing the data and analytics necessary to uncover opportunities to increase savings and on-time delivery performance. It’s a lifeline to logistics professionals seeking to rapidly increase their available shipping options to manage any distribution issues that arise and achieve on-time delivery rates, and it serves as a reliable method to reduce transportation and fulfillment costs. Typical quantitative ROI calculations show the investment payback well within 12 months of implementation.

What is Logistyx TME?

At Logistyx, we recognize that supply chain executives work at their highest potential when instead of staffing data analysts and fulfillment operations experts (and carrying the significant overhead that comes with large personnel budgets), they can instead leverage a data driven, unified software solution to improve the metrics on which they’re measured: ensuring carrier capacity and flexibility in any shipping climate, providing delivery excellence and customer satisfaction, and containing costs – to name a few! Therefore, leading shippers around the world turn to our multi-carrier shipping technology, Logistyx TME, to simplify the complexity of their parcel shipping operations by:

  • Centralizing all shipping functions: The Logistyx multi-carrier parcel shipping system enables shippers to execute shipments throughout an enterprise regardless of multiple shipping origins and/or multiple modes of transportation. With a single database and single-user interface, rating and routing rules can be set for all locations while gaining efficiencies through managing all transactions in one system.
  • Ensuring carrier compliance: Today’s common parcel carriers have stringent requirements for meeting compliance programs for all their service levels (next-day, express, ground, 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 a few. Logistyx’s multi-carrier parcel shipping technology ensures that each shipment, regardless of carrier, follows these requirements.
  • Rate shopping: Logistyx’s multi-carrier parcel shipping technology rates shipments and compares those rates to other contracted carriers for the same weight, destination, and delivery times. Automated rate shopping selects the optimal carrier for the shipment at the time the order is received instead of doing this later in the shipping workflow, thus alleviating constraints that may occur during the actual shipping process. Logistyx also shops between the parcel mode and the LTL freight mode for those loads that could use either mode.
  • Optimizing transportation by using business rules: The Logistyx multi-carrier 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.
  • Improving Customer Service – Using the Logistyx multi-carrier parcel shipping system commonly results in marked improvements in communication and better results in serving the customer. Proactive functions like email notification and immediate track-and-trace enablement of a shipment with the carrier have been shown to result in a significant decrease of calls to customer service. Ultimately, satisfied customers translate to repeat customers and increased business.
  • Leveraging Business Intelligence: Once the Logistyx system has collected all the shipping origins, transportation modes, shipping transactions, and business rules in ONE database, the enterprise shipping information is 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 multiple-mode shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins.

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Who needs multi-carrier parcel shipping technology?

Anyone involved in the planning, execution, or optimization of parcel shipping can benefit from the efficiency, savings, and insight a multi-carrier parcel shipping solution brings. With that said, there are several key user types likely to benefit the most. Here are a few:

Fulfillment Executives

The last thing fulfillment executives want are inflexible shipping workflows that put their order fulfillment metrics at risk. Therefore, fulfillment executives rely on multi-carrier parcel shipping systems to enable nimble warehouse operations and inform transportation decisions, empowering them to successfully respond to e-commerce growth and execute timely omnichannel order fulfillment movements such as ship-to-store, ship-from store, and returns.

Procurement Executives

Procurement executives negotiate carrier contracts for their companies. They want to keep costs down without sacrificing quality and maintain relationships with carriers’ sales teams. The depth of data involved in procuring the most valuable contracts is enormous, and the variables are countless, so procurement professionals need immediate, accurate, and easy-to-digest information. With the help of a multi-carrier parcel shipping system, procurement executives gain insight into complex, oft-shifting transportation data points, which improves their projection capabilities and allows them to procure the most valuable shipping contracts.

E-Commerce Executives

Behind every online purchase is a team of e-commerce executives who are responsible for keeping customers happy, which includes ensuring each shipment is delivered on time and in full. In their world, multi-carrier parcel shipping software is welcome technology that keeps order fulfillment moving smoothly. They look for carrier-agnostic, global shipping solutions that scale – enabling them to simplify the complexity of high volume, global parcel shipping and service millions.

Learn More about Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Technology

The goal of multi-carrier parcel shipping software is to help organizations improve their parcel shipping outcomes. It enables organizations to ship to anywhere from anywhere, while ensuring they can meet customer expectations for faster, transparent delivery. It gives them greater, more proactive control of their parcel shipping networks not only by supporting shipping processes but also by aggregating data that provides better insights into parcel operations.

Interested in learning more about how a multi-carrier parcel shipping solution can help your organization take control of its logistics? See why you’ll love Logistyx TME.

What’s a Carrier? Logistyx’s Ken Fleming Explores the Definition at Supply & Demand Chain Executive

As customer demands and expectations shift, businesses are exploring new shipping options to keep pace. In his latest article at Supply & Demand Chain Executive – “Expanding the Carrier Definition for Modern Parcel Shipping” – Logistyx President Ken Fleming explores how retailers like Walgreens are turning to the gig economy to improve delivery times and customer service alike.

Ken also provides six questions businesses must answer before businesses know whether they’re ready for gig economy deployment:

  1. Does your inventory strategy accommodate ship-from-store fulfillment?
  2. Is your current software stack (inventory management system, warehouse management system, order management system) set up to accommodate the new approach?
  3. Do you have the right carrier/courier relationships in place? Which are available in your service areas, and which are the most popular?
  4. Do you have enough carrier relationships in place to handle potentially unexpected order volume?
  5. Are you working with a multi-carrier shipping technology provider that can accommodate gig economy carriers?
  6. Does your multi-carrier shipping software track and trace deliveries to ensure these new carriers meet contracted service levels?

Read Ken’s full article at Supply & Demand Chain Executive to understand how the gig economy has expanded the traditional definition of a carrier and learn more about multi-carrier management in our webinar, Embrace the Unprecedented Pace and Scale of Parcel Shipping Technology.

Customer Relationships at Stake as Peak Season Approaches

Regardless of preparedness, most retailers should brace for significant challenges this peak season. Atop the explosive growth of e-commerce in 2020, experts are calling for additional growth this year. The National Retail Federation revised its annual forecast in June 2021, projecting 2021 non-store and online sales to grow another 18-23 percent to $1.09-1.13 trillion, and many retailers should expect significantly more e-commerce order volume.

Merchants and other shippers also face lingering supply chain difficulties across a wide range of industries and products, as well as widespread shipping capacity limitations imposed by carriers. Some carriers have stopped accepting new peak season business completely, including some regional carriers. OnTrac, for example, stopped accepting new peak business on September 1.

Capacity limitations, of course, only represent part of the carrier-related peak season challenges shippers must overcome. Following suit with other major carriers like FedEx and UPS, even the USPS announced peak season surcharges for 2021, and if not properly managed, the additional fees and rate increases imposed by FedEx and other carriers can prove to be even more costly.

Alternative means of fulfilling orders can take pressure off some shippers; it can also help them attract new customers who prefer to shop online but pick up at the store or require faster delivery from a local distribution point. This is particularly true for retailers who can leverage a footprint of physical stores or tap into a new breed of gig economy carriers.

Free White Paper - Simplifying Multi-Carrier Parcel Management for Peak Season and Beyond

While all these solutions have the potential to help shippers improve performance and please customers during peak season, implementing them disrupts the workflows of unprepared distribution centers and stores, especially when done so haphazardly. A failed implementation can be more costly than no implementation at all in many of these cases.

With peak season here, shippers that have yet to come to terms with these challenges should honestly assess how bad things could get and consider what options may still be available to them to mitigate some of the problems. For most shippers, this means determining the right solution and the right now solution.

The Right Now Solution

It’s too late for unprepared shippers to properly address the problem this year. Band-Aid solutions will fill the gap for partially or totally unprepared shippers. Many unprepared U.S. shippers will rely more than ever on the USPS, for example.

Those who have diversified their carrier network to at least include multiple carriers will direct parcel volume to different partners, and multi-carrier parcel shipping technology can help them do this in a strategic and cost-effective manner. Those with business intelligence at their fingertips can consider more than cost to manage the entirety of their parcel shipping needs as effectively as possible.

Previous Fulfillment Investments Now Easing the Crunch for Some

Navigating peak season is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Even partially prepared shippers will lean on their strengths to ease the crunch.

Omnichannel retailers facing major carrier-related challenges may, for example, want to determine the value of each order that can be fulfilled without the use of a national carrier. Those who determine this to be a valuable outcome can stock locally popular products in nearby stores for quicker shipments with alternate carriers. Others will provide compelling incentives to customers, encouraging them to buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) or accept slower shipping. All these efforts can reduce fulfillment pressure on the organization.

Omnichannel retailers like Walgreens, which implemented same-day delivery in under two hours for more than 24,000 retail products, will be tapping into gig economy carriers for additional capacity. This can help to offset need for national carrier capacity and drive more sales to existing and new customers.

Shippers of all types who have taken the time to onboard additional carriers will have multiple pools of carrier capacity available to them. For some, this might only consist of two national carriers; others may have onboarded multiple major carriers, the USPS, and regional carriers where they fit nicely. Multi-carrier parcel shipping technology not only helps shippers deploy carriers more strategically, but it can also help them prioritize efforts to secure the right carrier mix in the first place to best meet customer expectations. With the right carriers in place, this technology empowers shippers to optimize carrier deployment for on-time delivery, cost saving, performance, and more.

The Right Solution

On January 2, while navigating returns season, tear off the Band-Aid measures put in place this year as the right now solution and begin to heal your fulfillment processes. Do not make the same mistake again; start planning for peak season right away in 2022. Shippers should secure executive support for the changes that need to be made to implement the right solution and invest in fulfillment processes so they can be readier than ever for Peak 2022. Addressing the need for carrier capacity and cost containment early in the year can free teams up to focus on growing sales and pleasing customers with far fewer fulfillment worries.

Unprepared shippers have very few fulfillment options available to them for 2021 Peak at this point, but whether there’s a need for last-minute guidance and recommendations or it’s time to start getting strategic with 2022 in your sights, Logistyx can help. To learn more, watch our webinar, Embrace the Unprecedented Pace and Scale of Parcel Shipping Technology.

Coming to Grips with the Gig Economy for Last Mile Delivery: Ken Fleming Shares his Thoughts with Retail Logistics International

The gig economy has become familiar to us over the last decade or so, with on-demand drivers delivering meals, groceries, and people.  In an article for Retail Logistics International, Logistyx President, Ken Fleming, looks at how UK retailers are getting in on the act and delivering products directly from the store to the consumer, often within just a couple of hours of order placement.

“During the pandemic lockdowns, ship-from-store deliveries were fast-tracked, and non-essential retailers kept stores closed but allowed a skeleton workforce to process online orders for parcel deliveries, placing shipments for carrier or courier pick-up at the back door. As we move out of the pandemic, the appetite for using stores to ship local orders is continuing, creating ongoing demand for last mile delivery and growth opportunities for a new breed of gig economy on-demand services.”

Early adopting retailers can embrace gig economy fulfilment to get a leg up on the competition, offering more options to customers and minimizing the impact of capacity limitations and other disruptions among traditional carriers.

Read the full article and learn the key questions retailers should ask when considering gig economy fulfillment on Retail Logistics International.