E2open Acquires Global Multi-Carrier E-Commerce Shipping Software Platform, Logistyx Technologies. Read More

Anyline Research: Last-Mile is Critical for Customer Retention

StreetFight published a new article highlighting research from Anyline which verifies the importance of last-mile delivery in customer retention. One particularly alarming trend for retailers:

“Younger consumers, in particular, say they have less patience for poor delivery experiences. Seventy-two percent of Baby Boomers say they would reconsider shopping with a company again after a poor delivery experience, compared to 76% of Generation Xers, 81% of millennials, and 86% of consumers in Generation Z.”

Yet the research shows last-mile delivery problems are on the rise:

  • 44% of consumers say delivery timeframes have become slower since the start of the pandemic
  • 68% have encountered delivery delays
  • Anecdotally, consumers report “receiving damaged packages or falling victim to porch piracy”

With e-commerce volumes exploding, cross-border e-commerce on the rise, and companies scrambling to meet customer expectations for same-day delivery, retailers are in a precarious position. They’ve got one chance to ensure a smooth last-mile experience or risk losing their customers to a competitor.

Luckily, Logistyx can help with its cloud-based multi-carrier parcel shipping solution. Here are nine benefits:

  1. Add carriers
  2. Automate rating, rate shopping, and carrier compliance
  3. Consolidate parcel shipments
  4. Integrate enterprise supply chain systems and carriers in the cloud
  5. Manage carrier capacity
  6. Ensure on-time delivery consistency
  7. Execute cross-border shipments
  8. Leverage data analytics and business intelligence
  9. Audit carrier invoices

Each plays a role in the last-mile delivery equation and ensures a positive customer experience. This is why Logistyx has been named  Digital Commerce 360’s #1 Fulfillment Software Provider for the third consecutive year.

eBook - eBook Peak Season Parcel Shipping Thrival Guide

Contact us today to see how we can help put the last mile first and keep your customers happy.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Explains the Necessary Give and Take of Parcel Shipping Tech in Logistics Viewpoints

In his latest article for Logistics Viewpoints, “The Give and Take of Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Technology,” Logistyx President Ken Fleming discussed the role multi-carrier parcel shipping technology plays in informing and optimizing different aspects of entire organizations. One example:

“As growth strategists plan to expand a retail footprint or add a distribution center or two, parcel shipping data can provide valuable insights to either direct or double-check these efforts. What an organization knows about its customers based on troves of parcel shipping and e-commerce fulfillment data can strengthen confidence in these plans and ensure investments pan out by more accurately forecasting the value of new stores, warehouses, and distribution centers.”

Ken also notes the need of those departments to share critically important information with the technology. Another example:

“Procurement teams play an incredibly important role. Problems can arise when procurement teams negotiate carrier rates but fail to share rate updates with fulfillment teams. Everything may seem just fine to the procurement team when the negotiated rate matches the billed rate on a carrier invoice, but if refreshed rates were never input into the multi-carrier shipping technology, then the technology makes decisions based on incorrect information. This can lead to poor carrier service selection and damage the bottom line. Beyond rates, procurement should also be sure to share carrier capacity limits; location variables for warehouses, distribution centers, and stores; and other pricing factors. Keeping this information updated in the multi-carrier parcel shipping technology ensures decisions are made based on correct, up-to-date information for optimal results.”

When an organization both gives to and takes from its multi-carrier parcel shipping technology, it creates a symbiotic relationship. Read Ken’s full article at Logistics Viewpoints for insight into the benefits of such an approach.

Quick Guide - Critical Capabilities of a Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution

To learn how Logistyx can help you make the most of your multi-carrier parcel shipping, contact us today.

99 Percent of Retailers to Offer Same-Day Delivery within Three Years

Bringg recently surveyed 500 retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, and Italy for its 2022 Bringg Barometer: State of Retail Delivery & Fulfillment report assessing their delivery and fulfilment operations.

Among the many findings, one was a particularly eye-opening stat: 99% of respondents say they will be doing same-day delivery within the next three years, compared to 35% who say they are able to do so today.

This is astounding, considering some of the other findings:

  • Many of the current last mile fulfillment models do not support same-day or on-demand delivery, with 36% saying they don’t have the technology, citing real-time order visibility as the main problem, and 24% calling out the sheer distance they need to travel from warehouse to fulfillment as a primary obstacle to delivering on time.
  • Retailers have an urgent need for greater connectivity, but a lack of visibility and outdated technology holds them back. Forty-four percent are managing multiple fulfillment channels with disparate technologies, and 61% cite problems with visibility into the last mile.

Bridging the technological gap to achieve same-day delivery operations is no small feat, even as entrepreneurs tackle supply chain basics and investors pump money into logistics technology. Of course, cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping software can handle the yeoman’s work of ensuring retailers achieve their same-day delivery goals. After all, lack of visibility and changing parcel delivery landscapes are two of the five telltale signs you need a parcel shipping system. Not just any parcel shipping system will do, however. Be sure to select one with a robust partner network for seamless integration with legacy systems and technologies. Also, be sure it’s capable of onboarding gig-economy delivery services to handle rapid, local delivery.

Webinar - How to Drive your Carrier Network to Success

Finally, as more retailers move to same-day delivery, they should ensure they’re taking a sustainable approach and truly consider whether a “Buy Now” button is the best option.

To discuss these challenges and determine the right approach for same-day delivery, contact Logistyx today and find out why we’re Digital Commerce 360’s #1 Fulfillment Software Provider for the third consecutive year.

A Deeper Dive into Logistics Management’s Parcel Shipping Challenges

For its March 2022 issue, Logistics Management spoke with three sources for its “2022 Parcel Express Roundtable: Challenges Persist” article, covering many of the same topics Logistyx has highlighted recently, including carrier capacity crunches, carrier price increases, the growth in e-commerce sales, and the need for multi-carrier shipping. Overall, it’s an insightful article we recommend everyone read, but as is often the case with this type of format, the article didn’t offer much deep analysis of these issues. With that in mind, we thought we’d highlight some of the published comments and offer our expanded take.

Carrier capacity constraints

Rick Watson: Today, the parcel marketplace is looking very similar to where it was in 2021. There are still numerous strains concerning the carrying capacity of networks as volumes continue to climb.

Logistyx’s take: While parcel shipment volume has grown at an unprecedented rate, carriers also enacted caps on the number of shipments they would take, leaving shippers to scramble for alternatives. Those shippers who traditionally relied on one or two carriers had to manually navigate this process and often found smaller regional carriers implementing the same caps, because the trickle-down volume overwhelmed them and exacerbated the problem. Shippers with a multi-carrier shipping solution in place quickly identified, onboarded, and utilized a robust network of carriers large and small to meet their needs and gain a leg up on those reliant on manual processes.

Carrier rate increases

John Haber: All carriers have announced increased 2022 rates. Regional carriers such as OnTrac and LSO each announced an average annual rate hike of 5.9%, while USPS announced increases to its shipping service products such as Priority Mail Service (3.1%) and Priority Mail Express (3.1%). More price increases from the USPS are expected this year. Similar to OnTrac and LSO, Pitney Bowes announced a 5.9% increase for its e-commerce services.

The Parcel rates from FedEx and UPS are among the highest on record. Even though FedEx and UPS announced an average annual rate increase of 5.9% for their services in 2022, the actual rate increase for many shippers is actually higher, around 10% depending on contract.

Logistyx’s take: Rates are rising across the board at an unprecedented rate. With shipping capacity a hot commodity, it’s a carriers’ market. Shippers have little power to influence these increases since they can no longer leverage large shipment volumes to negotiate significantly better rates. The best way to combat these alarming trends is to employ a multi-carrier shipping strategy via parcel shipping software to manage carrier capacity. Moving to a multi-carrier shipping strategy enables shippers to rate shop and select the best carrier and service for each parcel from a network of strategically sourced carriers based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, cost, capacity availability, and shipper-established business rules. Choosing the best rate and service for each parcel can help shippers offset these common surcharges and limit the impact of rising costs on the bottom line.

Webinar - Take Control of Your Parcel Shipping Network

E-commerce sales boom

John Haber: The outbreak of the pandemic brought forth a massive jump in U.S. e-commerce retail as stores temporarily closed and consumers remained hesitant to physically shop in stores once reopened. At its peak, e-commerce represented 16.1% of U.S retail sales in the second quarter of 2020, but it has since leveled off to around 13% as of the third quarter of 2021.

Logistyx’s take: This is clear confirmation of what we’ve come to expect: e-commerce is not only here to stay but is firmly established as a go-to option for consumers. For shippers, dealing with increasing order volumes and rising customer expectations can be a challenge, especially with ongoing supply chain issues, carrier capacity constraints, increasing shipping costs, weather delays, and labor issues complicating everything.

Many Logistyx clients, including Home Depot, Oxford (Owner of Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, and Southern Tide), and Walgreens have capitalized on this trend to drive growth and success. As the top provider of fulfillment software for the third consecutive year in Digital Commerce 360’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report, we’re uniquely positioned to both assist our customers with their e-commerce fulfillment while also examining important questions like whether the “Buy Now” button is actually doing more harm than good.

The need for multi-carrier shipping to overcome parcel shipping challenges

Josh Taylor: … single sourcing with FedEx or UPS is becoming a thing of the past. Carrier diversification is necessary now to ensure companies always have a way to reach their clients.

John Haber: Shippers learned they need to diversify their last-mile carriers – beyond UPS, FedEx and perhaps the USPS. This way, shippers can fill their capacity requirements, gain the types of last-mile services they need, like same-day and two-day, and mitigate shipping costs.

Logistyx’s take: We couldn’t agree more. Multi-carrier parcel shipping technology can simplify many critical tasks for shippers:

  1. Adding Carriers: Given the modern-day complexity of high volume, global parcel shipping, relying on a single carrier is risky. Parcel shipping software helps ship high volumes of parcels while decreasing transportation costs by making it easier to quickly onboard new carrier services, including regional and last-mile providers.
  2. Automating Rating, Rate Shopping, and Carrier Compliance: Parcel shipping systems eliminate the need to navigate multiple carrier systems to determine the ideal carrier service for each parcel based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, cost, and any applicable business rules. The system automatically obtains the rates for each shipment from each carrier, selects the optimal service, and automatically produces the carrier label and necessary documentation.
  3. Consolidating Parcel Shipments: Often, the same customer/recipient places multiple orders in your order management system within minutes of each other. Without adequate planning to take advantage of packing those orders into one container, shippers pay for multiple, individual parcel movements instead of one LTL movement. A parcel shipping solution can perform these
  4. Integrating Enterprise Supply Chain Systems and Carriers in the Cloud: Sophisticated parcel shipping software will be hosted – not managed – in the cloud to easily integrate with specific order fulfillment workflows, whether they include IMS, WMS, TMS, or eCommerce Systems – or any combination thereof.
  5. Managing Carrier Capacity: When parcel shipping software is integrated with a sophisticated WMS, it can measure shipment volumes against carrier capacity thresholds and automatically manage carrier capacity and optimize shipping strategies – essentially maximizing capacity utilization to minimize transportation spend.
  6. Ensuring On-Time Delivery Consistency: The right parcel shipping solution will have a Control Tower that provides customers with visibility into their parcel’s delivery journey, including the last mile. Thanks to alerts about parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” customer service teams can proactively troubleshoot and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time.
  7. Shipping Across Borders: Due to regulations, tariffs, and documentation, cross-border commerce used to be one of the most intimidating aspects of parcel shipping. Parcel shipping technology, with an integrated process for cross-border shipping, automatically identifies and provides the appropriate documentation for any shipment.
  8. Making Sense of Parcel Shipping Data to Boost the Bottom Line: Once the parcel shipping software collects all the shipping origins, carrier data, shipping transactions, and business rules in ONE database, enterprise shipping information can be more readily accessible for Business Intelligence reporting to improve decision-making across the organization, fine tune fulfillment practices and unlock other insights.
  9. Auditing Carrier Invoices: Carriers aren’t always perfect, and neither are the numbers on their invoices. While shippers have grown to expect the inaccurate application of carrier surcharges and other fees, they’re almost impossible to catch through manual invoice auditing. Automatically uncover these discrepancies with carrier invoice audit and analytics tools to tackle parcel shipping challenges.

Contact Logistyx today to see how we can help you navigate 2022’s parcel shipping challenges.

 

Expecting the Expected: Research Confirms E-commerce Here to Stay

New e-commerce research shows it is here to stay and is firmly established as a go-to option for consumers.

Digital Commerce 360 published two articles recently examining the ballooning growth of e-commerce.

A decade in review: Ecommerce sales vs. total retail sales 2012‑2021” analyzes a decade’s worth of data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, finding 10 years after e-commerce accounted for only 8% of total retail purchases, online sales now represent nearly 20%.

Coronavirus pandemic adds $219 billion to US ecommerce sales in 2020-2021” explores the role of the pandemic in accelerating e-commerce well beyond expected growth. According to the article:

“From March 2020 through February 2022, U.S. consumers spent $1.7 trillion online, $609 billion more than the two preceding years combined (2018 and 2019), according to new data from The Adobe Digital Economy Index.”

and:

“Overall, in 2021, consumers spent $870.78 billion online with U.S. merchants, up 14.2% from $762.68 billion in 2020. If the pandemic would not have happened, Digital Commerce 360 estimates ecommerce sales would not have reached $870.78 billion for two more years, until 2023. And online sales would have only reached $754.33 billion in 2021.”

 

Add to those the results from the Logistyx consumer survey in which:

  • 57% of the participants, who were all online shoppers, made a minimum of one online purchase from a company outside their own country between August 2020 and August 2021.
  • 43% of the respondents said that the increase in their online shopping resulting from the pandemic made them more likely to “consider cross-border e-commerce purchases.”

US ecommerce sales as a % of total retail* sales - 19.1% in 2021, 8% in 2012

It’s clear confirmation of what we’ve come to expect: e-commerce is not only here to stay but is firmly established as a go-to option for consumers. For shippers, dealing with increasing order volumes and rising customer expectations can be a challenge, especially with ongoing supply chain issues, carrier capacity constraints, increasing shipping costs, weather delays, and labor issues complicating everything.

 Pandemic adds extra $218.53 billion to US ecommerce sales in 2020-2021

Luckily, there are solutions. As we detailed in our blog post “Why E-Commerce Demands Multi-Carrier Shipping Systems”:

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 parcel 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.

eBook - eBook Peak Season Parcel Shipping Thrival Guide

Contact Logistyx today to see why we’re Digital Commerce 360’s #1 Fulfillment Software Provider for three years running and to discuss how we can help you optimize your e-commerce fulfillment operations.

McKinsey Report Reimagines the Role of Stores in Parcel Shipping and Distribution

A recent report from McKinsey & Company examines the current role of physical stores in omnichannel distribution and reimagines all they could be. Among the many interesting analyses, McKinsey talks at length about using stores as a hub for last-mile delivery, including:

“Target last-mile delivery speed: Maximum delivery speed depends on the proximity of stores to consumers and the availability of last-mile delivery infrastructure. Consumer expectations of delivery speed may vary by location, which will affect the optimal archetype of any store. In rural areas, for example, consumers may be more accustomed to waiting longer for deliveries and traveling to one central location to fulfill all their shopping needs. In this case, the ideal scenario may be an archetype 2 store in a shopping center with good traffic connections. This location creates a convenient and stress-free journey for consumers who want to shop in store while allowing the retailer to optimize parts of the store layout for order picking. In urban areas, where shoppers may expect delivery in less than 24 hours, it can be beneficial to choose an archetype 3 store optimized for fast order picking and dispatching. Understanding where speed matters will pave the way for a segmented approach regarding delivery-speed promises and solves the speed dilemma of ever-faster omnichannel order fulfillment.

Players can ask themselves the following questions about consumer journey and experience:

  • How can we keep omnichannel processes from disrupting the shopping experience for consumers in the store? Can it be done within the existing layout, or does there need to be a degree of physical separation?
  • What are the priorities of our online and offline consumers? Are they contradictory, or can we cater to both at the same time? How can we make the in-store experience feel like a continuation of online or mobile, and vice versa?
  • What are consumer expectations regarding last-mile delivery speed? Do they expect to receive their products immediately, or might they accept delivery times of more than a day? What role does delivery pricing play here, such as price differentiation between next-day and same-day delivery?”

We encourage you to read the full report to understand the store archetypes mentioned and learn more about the pros and cons of leaning on a retail footprint to improve last mile delivery and enable omnichannel fulfillment for customers. While concerns about the impact on in-store shoppers exist, the ability of retail stores to improve the e-commerce fulfillment process is undeniable. For the purposes of this blog post, let’s consider some of the other points and questions raised in the McKinsey report about last-mile delivery infrastructure and balancing results with consumer expectations.

Webinar - How to Drive your Carrier Network to Success

As the leading provider of cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping software for high-volume parcel shipping, Logistyx is keenly focused on last-mile delivery and omnichannel fulfillment. While there are myriad keys to success for both, putting the last mile first may be the most important. In an article for Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Logistyx President Ken Fleming argued shippers can reduce costs and meet customer expectations by making a few strategic decisions that keep the last mile first:

1. Utilize a cloud multicarrier network for parcel shipping

A cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping system seamlessly integrates with a retailer’s WMS, OMS, e-commerce, and ERP solutions to automate high volume, multi-carrier, omnichannel parcel shipping. Regardless of which delivery option a customer chooses, the system automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Therefore, retailers can satisfy customers’ delivery requirements and drive down the cost of shipping while transforming logistics into a profit center within the business.

2. Reconsider inventory and fulfillment capabilities

Regional and national retailers with physical stores keep inventory on hand, often relying on warehouses to refill inventory at stores. For them, shipping from the store directly to a customer decreases the distance and, thus, shipping time and expense. They can also employ buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) or buy-online-pickup-curbside (BOPC) models, increasing fulfillment flexibility and reducing dependence on carrier services. But they must have a local carrier network for each retail location, increasingly including gig economy fulfillment carriers to meet fulfillment schedules. They must also determine which products need to be on hand at all locations versus which can be housed at specific locations and know which manufacturing location has the capacity to produce each item and quickly restock the relevant stores’ inventory directly.

3. Trust business intelligence and data

Sophisticated business intelligence technology can aggregate, normalize, and analyze all the data generated by a fulfillment operation, helping retailers identify opportunities to gain efficiencies in the fulfillment process. For example, in certain instances, ground shipping often reaches many destinations as quickly as two-day but for significantly less. Insights like this can pay dividends by meeting customer expectations for fast shipping while keeping costs low. Shippers can also use the data to verify carriers meet contracted service levels for each shipment, increasing leverage in rate negotiations and to determine which carriers are best suited for which deliveries based on performance metrics and existing business rules.

Logistyx TME can help retailers learn where they’re spending the most money in the transportation leg of fulfillment and whether it would be cheaper to transport from the store or from a pop-up distribution center. It can automatically select the best carrier and service for each shipment based on contracted rates and other business rules. It can easily integrate with other key retail systems to create a comprehensive fulfillment solution.

In short, Logistyx can help answer the questions raised by McKinsey and Company regarding last-mile delivery as part of omni-channel fulfillment.

Contact Logistyx today to better understand how stores can best support your last-mile delivery initiatives.

Instant Gratification vs. Sustainability: Logistyx President Ken Fleming Explores the Environmental Impact of E-commerce Parcel Shipping at Forbes

Climate change is harming our planet and our health, and e-commerce parcel shipping is contributing to the problem as retailers and carriers turn orders around fast to please customers. Greater shipment volume and frequency create more carbon emissions and more waste.

In his latest article for Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming argues to fix this problem, retailers, carriers, and consumers all must make meaningful changes. In short:

Retailers must:

  • Offer ecologically friendly packaging
  • Present eco-friendly shipping options

Carriers must:

  • Continue to invest in alternative fuel vehicles to reduce emissions
  • Emphasize alternatives to daily at-home delivery
  • Expand eco-options globally

Shoppers must:

  • Prioritize sustainability over immediate gratification

“The fundamental shift in mindset about how we shop is likely to have the greatest effect of all. When we prioritize sustainability over instant gratification, shop with companies that prioritize sustainability, and demand more sustainable options from shippers and carriers, then we’ll see a dramatic shift in our impact on the environment.”

Read Ken’s full article, “Sustainability Vs. Instant Gratification: Shopping And Shipping In 2022,” for the dirty details on the impact of consumerism superseding concern for the environment and how we must all play a role in changing the equation.

While visiting Forbes, be sure to read Ken’s other articles.

The “Buy Now” Button: Good for Sales; Bad for Parcel Shipping and Logistics?

The simple, ubiquitous “Buy Now” button on retail websites around the globe has made a significant impact on e-commerce sales by simplifying the purchase process for online shoppers with an existing account. One click, and the sale is complete. That’s great for the sales team but puts considerable strain on fulfillment operations. According to DC Velocity:

“For users who are already logged into a site, that simple button allows them to set the entire fulfillment chain in motion with just the tap of a finger. While that might sound great to sales executives, it can be a headache for logistics professionals, since the button encourages shoppers to order a single item at a time, instead of bundling multiple products into a larger order that can be transported more efficiently.

‘The buy-now button has led fulfillment centers that process e-commerce orders to throw more orders into smaller boxes and get them out the door as quickly as possible to meet their shipping and delivery promises,’ Huckeba says. “Carriers want to work with shippers who can be as efficient as possible—the more packages they can get on a truck, the more revenue they’ll make—but it’s not efficient to fill a truck by weight with large numbers of small order parcels.’”

The suggested solutions? Order consolidation, flexible packaging, no packaging, and dedicated delivery days. But don’t stop at fulfillment, also consider returns processes.

Adding to this list, Logistyx recommends carrier capacity management via multi-carrier parcel shipping software to lessen the impact of the “Buy Now” button on a shipper’s bottom line. As capacity crunches continue and annual rate increases rise, the need for these strategies and technologies only grow.

Of course, the most impactful solution might be reconsidering whether a “Buy Now” button is truly the best way for shoppers to complete their purchases. After all, a single click to purchase only encourages the behaviors exacerbating the issues in the first place.

Contact us today to learn how advanced multi-carrier parcel shipping can help you optimize your fulfillment operations.

Parcel Shipping Surcharges: What Hidden Fees Can Mean for your Overhead Costs

While individual parcel shipping surcharges may seem small, they can easily add up and have a large impact on your bottom line.

More goes into the number on your shipping invoice than just the cost of freight, handling, and gas. Often, there’s an extra fee added to the shipment cost, known as a surcharge. These surcharges account for a wide array of shipment services and scenarios, such as shipping during peak season, shipping above volume thresholds, rush shipping, an immediate shipment pickup, or shipping an oversized package. These surcharges change every year, and sometimes even multiple times per year, depending on peak season.

While individual surcharges may seem small, they can easily add up and have a large impact on your bottom line. And due to the fluctuating nature of the carrier market, it can be difficult to appropriately budget for these surcharges.

The Parcel Shipping Market is Volatile

In November of 2021, we saw a hike in surcharges from major carriers. For example, UPS raised its fuel surcharge by 1% on all U.S. air and ground services.

While this sounds like a simple update, there was also a general rate increase of 5.9% in 2022 for any UPS and/or FedEx shipment, a reaction to the impact of peak season, during which the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a large wave of e-commerce purchases amidst unprecedented supply chain disruptions. Sure, these rate hikes are implemented to help carriers protect their bottom lines by managing capacity and keeping deliveries on time in a period of growing demand, but they also put a strain on your budget, especially when occurring in tandem with surcharges.

Typical surcharges fall into categories such as:

  • Transportation – Because of rising fuel costs and the surge of e-commerce orders, surcharges may apply to certain ground deliveries.
  • Global shipping – Delays due to COVID-19 impacted many global carriers, making high-turnaround deliveries more expensive.
  • Bulky, odd-sized items – Additional handling costs for oversized or bulky packages can incur a surcharge.
  • Peak seasonCarriers usually announce new peak season surcharges to ensure they have enough capacity to deliver their orders.

Staying up to date with surcharge announcements and communicating with your carriers is the best way to monitor any changes that may affect your shipping operations.

Webinar - Take Control of Your Parcel Shipping Network

Manage your Parcel Shipping Costs

While carrier surcharges are often a cost of doing business, you’re not entirely at the mercy of the market. There are steps you can take to fortify your bottom line against any rate changes and/or surcharges that may occur.

  • Consolidate your parcels – Often, the same customer/recipient places multiple orders in your order management system within minutes of each other. Without adequate planning to take advantage of packing those orders into one container, you’re paying for multiple, individual parcel movements when perhaps you could pay for one LTL movement. Using a cloud multi-carrier shipping solution to automatically consolidate parcel shipments can help you save, especially on international shipping costs. A parcel shipping solution can perform these consolidations either at the time of order or at the end of the day to reduce your transportation costs.
  • Establish an invoice audit process – Auditing your carrier invoices is crucial to ensure the service levels for which you’re paying are being delivered. Invoice errors can add up quickly and have a major impact on your bottom line. Multi-carrier shipping software can automate these audits, flagging discrepancies between expected costs and carrier invoices to give you greater control over your transportation spend.
  • Invest in Business Intelligence – The right multi-carrier shipping software will include Business Intelligence (BI) to help you extrapolate the impact of various transportation scenarios across significant data sets. These analyses will enable your carrier negotiations and transportation budgets to take shape, empowering you to make cost-savvy supply chain decisions that align with your business strategy.
  • Plan now – Waiting to adjust your shipping operations after a surcharge is announced will only hurt your organization. Make sure you’re partnering with a parcel shipping system provider that has an expansive library of carrier integrations. This will automatically enable you to deploy a multi-carrier shipping strategy and offset surcharges. Furthermore, it will help you manage your contracted capacity so that you don’t exceed your volume thresholds and incur unwanted surcharges. For example, good warehouse management software, integrated with multi-carrier parcel shipping software, will measure shipment volumes against carrier capacity thresholds automatically to help you optimize your 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, you can also communicate accurate lead times and manage shipping expectations with your customers.

Find your Remedy to Parcel Shipping Surcharges with Logistyx

Logistyx’s expert parcel shipping solutions can help your organization manage any surcharge fluctuations and audit your carrier invoices to keep overhead costs low. Reach out to us today to learn more about our latest parcel shipping tools and technology.

 

5 Telltale Signs You Need a Parcel Shipping System

Deciding to invest in a parcel shipping system is a big decision. If you’re running single-carrier operations and a carrier-provided workstation does the trick, that may be a cost-effective way to go. But as your organization and shipping needs evolve, you’ll likely need a more robust solution. So, how do you know when it’s time for a parcel shipping system? While the answer is different for every organization, here are a few telltale signs.

1. Your shipping costs have skyrocketed.

High transportation costs have become routine in the modern supply chain. As customers increasingly demand free and same-day/next-day shipping, supply chains must respond with faster, more dependable services – which don’t come cheap. To combat the stress on their networks, carriers are increasing rates and introducing surcharges.  Rate shopping for the lowest cost carrier service therefore becomes critical, but businesses soon discover rating shipments and comparing rates using individual carrier workstations can be labor intensive.

Therefore, businesses are turning to parcel shipping software and integrating it with their Order Management Systems (OMS) to automatically import real-time order data, compare rates from their contracted network of carriers, and determine the ideal carrier service for each parcel based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery speed, cost, and any custom business rules. The software then automatically produces the carrier label and any necessary documentation, so every parcel shipped from the warehouse, distribution center, or store is in compliance with carrier requirements.

2. You don’t have the carrier capacity you need.

Given the incredible surge in e-commerce, carriers’ shipping quotas are higher than ever, and they therefore tighten capacity limits. Acquiring more carrier capacity during high-demand periods requires you to pay higher rates, usually in the form of surcharges. And if you’re shipping across borders or shipping same-day, the price increases further. Perhaps even worse, parcel shippers learned in 2021 that even the biggest carriers including FedEx, UPS, and DHL can reach capacity thresholds and turn business away altogether.

Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent these obstacles. A parcel shipping system automatically enables you to ship parcels with more than one carrier and manage capacity, regardless of whether you’re shipping globally or domestically. Good warehouse management software, integrated with multi-carrier parcel shipping software, will measure shipment volumes against carrier capacity thresholds automatically to help you optimize your 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, you can also communicate accurate lead times and manage shipping expectations with your customers.

Quick Guide - Critical Capabilities of a Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution

3. Your shipping volumes have become unmanageable.

If you’re manually booking transport on carrier-specific workstation(s), then you’ll need more staff to handle increasing shipment volumes. However, with a multi-carrier parcel shipping system, all carriers are managed in a single platform and shipments are automatically booked with the “best fit” carrier service according to your unique business rules – reducing (and even eliminating) carrier stations on your warehouse floor and allowing you to easily scale shipment volumes without additional resources. The right multi-carrier parcel shipping system will also integrate with your existing enterprise systems (ERP, WMS, and OMS), enabling your team to fine-tune your transportation strategy based on “big picture” data.

4. Your on-time delivery rates are declining.

If your customer service team is fielding a high number of customer inquiries regarding late and/or inaccurate shipments, it’s time to evaluate a multi-carrier parcel shipping system. With a multi-carrier parcel shipping system, your customer service representatives have easy access to parcel delivery information in a single platform, which naturally improves the customer experience. Gone are the days of accessing multiple carrier websites to retrieve shipment data. Instead, your customer service representatives can quickly pull necessary information from a single dashboard, resulting in quick problem resolution and accurate customer communication. Even better: you can put your customer service team on offense. Rather than react to a customer complaint regarding a late or inaccurate shipment, with a sophisticated multi-carrier parcel shipping system that includes a Control Tower, your team can easily flag delivery “exceptions” and proactively resolve shipment errors and delays before they occur. You can even create smart exception workflows to enable automatic responses to “exception” events, reducing the need for customer service intervention altogether.

5. Your parcel delivery landscape has changed.

Let’s face it. It’s really the customer, not your friendly UPS/FedEx/USPS driver behind the wheel when it comes to parcel delivery. Your customers want their purchases when they want them and where they want them, and this may not be on their doorstep. Some may want to pick their parcels up in the store closest to their home or office, and others – especially in Europe and Asia – may prefer to pick them up from a locker. This means you need flexible order fulfillment workflows. To this end, parcel shipping software 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.

Ready to take a new approach to parcel shipping?

If these telltale signs sound familiar to you, it may be time to consider investing in a parcel shipping solution. Resources like our Quick Guide: Critical Capabilities of a Multi-Carrier Shipping Solution will give you tips to guide you through your unique parcel shipping system selection process. And if you’re interested in exploring how Logistyx’s functionality maps to your order fulfillment workflows, request a demo today to learn more!

9 Parcel Shipping Software Benefits in 2022

Providing your customers with a high-quality delivery experience is a powerful market differentiator. It can strengthen your brand perception and drive repeat revenue. Therefore, it’s no surprise demand for parcel shipping software with sophisticated functionality is at an all-time high. Parcel shipping software can help you bring velocity to your order fulfillment workflows and improve on-time delivery rates. It integrates with your other enterprise supply chain systems to automate and streamline shipment execution, monitor parcel delivery movements, and provide you with powerful data analytics to manage carrier capacity and optimize transportation strategies.

The benefits of parcel shipping technology can differ based on the use case, and you can read about how some of Logistyx’s customers use our parcel shipping system in our case studies. But across the broad spectrum of parcel shipping system implementations, we’ve found these nine benefits to be universal.

Nine Universal Benefits of Parcel Shipping Systems

1. Add Carriers

Given the modern-day complexity of high volume, global parcel shipping, relying on a single carrier is risky. During the 2020 and 2021 peak season, many single-carrier shippers had to rely on the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a backup plan to deliver their products on time, and retailers and manufacturers alike are now scrambling to build a diverse network of carriers to maximize their capacity and avoid future disruptions. Fortunately, parcel shipping software easily executes this goal, helping you ship high volumes of parcels while decreasing transportation costs by making it easy to quickly onboard new carrier services, including regional and last-mile providers.

2. Automate Rating, Rate Shopping, and Carrier Compliance

Parcel shipping systems eliminate the need to navigate through multiple carrier systems to determine the ideal carrier service for each parcel based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, cost, and any applicable business rules. The system automatically obtains the rates for each shipment from each carrier and selects the optimal service. It then automatically produces the carrier label and any necessary documentation so every parcel leaving your warehouse, distribution center, or store complies with the carrier’s requirements.

3. Consolidate Parcel Shipments

Often, the same customer/recipient places multiple orders in your order management system within minutes of each other. Without adequate planning to take advantage of packing those orders into one container, you’re paying for multiple, individual parcel movements when perhaps you could pay for one LTL movement. A parcel shipping solution can perform these consolidations either at the time of order or at the end of the day to reduce your transportation costs.

Webinar - Take Control of Your Parcel Shipping Network

4. Integrate Enterprise Supply Chain Systems and Carriers in the Cloud

Sophisticated parcel shipping software will be hosted – not managed – in the cloud and easily integrate with your specific order fulfillment workflows, whether they include Inventory Management Systems (IMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), or eCommerce Systems – and any combination thereof.

Furthermore, the system will be solution provider agnostic, which means the integrations will still be seamless regardless of whether you partner with SAP, Oracle, BlueYonder, Manhattan, and/or other solutions providers.

And finally, the integrations will be straightforward no matter whether you have two or 20 carriers in your transportation network, and irrespective of which carriers those are.

Essentially, the software enables you to create an order fulfillment and shipping ecosystem that is unique to you, where all technology syncs, all data is connected, and there is one source of “truth.”  You’ll immediately decrease fulfillment costs by reducing the number of times a product is manually handled, as the final pack, inspection, weigh, and release are accomplished with only one bar code scan. And an integrated order fulfillment and shipping ecosystem means shipments can be executed throughout an enterprise regardless of multiple shipping origins. With a single database and single-user interface, the system enables rating and routing rules to be set for all locations.

One last selling point: with a cloud-based order fulfillment and shipping ecosystem in place, you can increase the speed of information flows within the organization, making it easy to set and measure corporate KPIs, compare historical information of multi-carrier shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins, and identify efficiencies and opportunities to optimize order fulfillment and transportation strategies.

5. Manage Carrier Capacity

When parcel shipping software is integrated with a sophisticated WMS, it can measure shipment volumes against carrier capacity thresholds and automatically manage your carrier capacity and optimize your shipping strategies – essentially maximizing capacity utilization to minimize transportation spend. Furthermore, with insight into how much product can ship with each contracted carrier at one time, you can communicate accurate shipping lead times and manage expectations with your customers.

6. Ensure On-Time Delivery Consistency

The right parcel shipping solution will have a Control Tower that enables you to provide your customers with visibility into their parcel’s delivery journey, including in the last mile. The system will send alerts when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” empowering your 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 re-routed and sent to a work address instead of a home address, or perhaps the customer is willing to retrieve the product from a nearby store.

And when the parcel shipping system is integrated with your e-commerce system, a Control Tower makes it possible for you to provide customers with the ability to track and trace shipments on your own (not the carrier’s) website – reducing inbound calls about delivery status to customer service and potentially increasing the customers’ browsing behavior while on your website.

7. 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 you 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.

8. Access Business Intelligence

Once the parcel shipping software has collected all the shipping origins, carrier data, shipping transactions, and business rules in ONE database, your enterprise shipping information can be more readily accessible for Business Intelligence reporting.

9. Audit Carrier Invoices

Carriers aren’t always perfect, and neither are the numbers on their invoices. While shippers have grown to expect the inaccurate application of carrier surcharges and other fees, they’re almost impossible to catch through manual invoice auditing. However, you can easily uncover these discrepancies when you implement a parcel shipping solution with carrier invoice audit and analytics tools. Carrier invoice audit and analytics tools streamline the financial management of shipping costs by automating carrier invoice matching to identify invoice discrepancies. Plus, if the system has a deep ERP integration, it will enable advanced account allocation and cost accruals.​

Find the Best Parcel Shipping Software for your Organization

At Logistyx, we call these benefits desired customer outcomes. And by selecting the ones that align with your business needs, you can better define your business case — and the return on your parcel shipping technology investment.

If you’re just starting to explore solutions on the market, we know there can be a lot to consider.  Download this checklist for tips to consider during your selection process.

And when you’re ready, we’ll be here for you. Request a demo of Logistyx’s parcel shipping solutions to learn how we can support your unique business needs.

Higher Annual Carrier Rate Increases Tighten the Squeeze on Parcel Shipping

Supply Chain Dive recently published an article examining the effects of higher-than-normal annual rate increases from major parcel carriers. Among the key points:

  • The published 5.9% general rate increases common to the major carriers could be closer to 9% when accounting for adjustments to common surcharges (fuel, oversized packages, etc.)
  • Surcharges could account for up to 40% of transportation costs compared to 10%-15% in recent years
  • Carriers are prioritizing more profitable deliveries from small and medium-sized businesses by leveraging the capacity crunch
  • Ground parcel rates are expected to be more than 25% higher in Q1 2022 than Q1 2018

The best way to combat these alarming trends is to employ a multi-carrier shipping strategy and leverage parcel shipping software to manage carrier capacity. Moving to a multi-carrier shipping strategy enables shippers to rate shop and select the best carrier and service for each parcel based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, cost, capacity availability, and shipper-established business rules. Choosing the best rate and service for each parcel can help shippers offset these common surcharges as well as limit the impact of rate increases on the bottom line.

Webinar - How to Drive your Carrier Network to Success

From Supply Chain Dive:

“Additionally, FedEx and UPS aren’t the only game in town, and more shippers are diversifying their mix of carriers to include regional players.

‘Regionals are finally getting their due because of what’s happened in the marketplace, with UPS and FedEx having peak restrictions, because of the massive amounts of volume that have come through, especially on e-commerce,’ said Melissa Priest, founder and CEO of Alexandretta Transportation Consulting. ‘Shippers haven’t had much choice but to really examine and make use of the regionals when they can.’”

Contact us today to learn how advanced multi-carrier parcel shipping technology can help you save on shipping costs with multi-carrier shipping strategies and carrier capacity management.