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COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Doesn’t End with Carriers

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization approving the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the delivery rollout to administer inoculations has been slower than expected.

According to a recent CBS News poll, most Americans are not satisfied with the coronavirus vaccine distribution in their state, with a majority saying it is going too slowly. The pace of vaccine distribution and fluctuating supply create greater challenges as demand increases. In the same poll, CBS News found that more people are now interested in getting vaccinated, with 41% of people saying they would get a vaccine as soon as possible should one become available to them at no cost, up from just 30% of people last July. Though demand for the vaccines is increasing, steady supply remains uncertain.

While supply chain partners and major carriers like FedEx and UPS boosted flexibility to successfully maintain the cold chain and ship refrigerated vaccines around the U.S. and the world, unfortunately, that chain has wavered in its last mile at the state and local levels. Distribution inconsistencies stem, in part, from allocation of the vaccine in the federal strategic reserve to states each week. Some weeks, certain states receive more vaccine doses than expected, forcing them to scramble to find more people to vaccinate; other weeks, they receive less than expected, forcing them to scramble to find more doses or cancel appointments.

For instance, during the week of January 11, New York state received 300,000 doses, but for the week of January 18, it was only allocated 250,000. In Oregon, the dwindling supply of doses caused Governor Brown to delay allowing residents 65 and older to receive the vaccine. In Florida, more than 40,000 people are overdue for their second shot, in part because of wait times, while thousands of other people can’t get appointments for the first shot.

As Dr. Nagurney, a logistics expert from the University of Massachusetts Amherst points out, some of the inconsistencies and delays at state and local levels “…would seem to be an indication of supply chain problems or systems breakdowns. In fact, it’s more about a shortage of employees to support the supply chains and distributions.”

For vaccine distribution to accelerate and succeed in greater inoculations while avoiding waste, training for administering the vaccine needs to increase, mass vaccination sites need greater coordination, administrators must develop and utilize robust scheduling methods, and IT departments must be capable of supporting larger-scale efforts.

Frustrated business leaders in North Carolina recently came together to form a last-mile plan to speed up the rollout in their state by creating a faster system for vaccinations with a goal to inoculate 10,000 people a day. To achieve that goal, the North Carolina executives examined the complexities involved and developed ways to move dose recipients in and out of facilities faster. If the pilot program running on the new model works, the group hopes it can serve as a template for other cities and states.

As more municipalities and organizations continue to ramp up execution of their COVID-19 vaccine strategy to meet growing demand, remaining agile is critical for effective end-to-end supply chain response. Utilizing the right technology solutions that can balance agility with speed and efficiency will be essential to ensure successful last-mile fulfillment, but it’s important to remember that vaccine delivery doesn’t end with carriers; it requires a dedicated and willing team to truly handle the last mile of inoculation.

At Logistyx, we’re proud to partner with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to help them effectively execute their vaccine delivery and assist in the successful global distribution of these life-saving drugs. We work diligently with leaders in the pharmaceutical space and their carrier services networks to ensure the uninterrupted availability of a quality vaccine by building a custom network of carriers capable of meeting the rigorous standards for vaccine delivery and monitoring shipments from the earliest moments of shipping to last-mile delivery.

Contact us today to learn how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help create supply chain agility.

Outlook: 2021 Parcel Carrier Rates

Surviving 2020 presented a unique challenge, and for many retailers, manufacturers, and 3PLs, the goal was simply to make it to 2021. But the reward for making it to 2021 wasn’t altogether sweet. With the dawn of the new year came parcel carrier rate increases:

And now the question is: how can shippers increase profits per parcel in this shipping landscape?

Parcel Rates Increase as E-Commerce Continues Growing

Normal fluctuations in rates hover around the 4-5% mark for the shipping industry, but 2021 is poised to be anything but an average year, which means monitoring trends in shipping rates will remain a key focus. Summarizes Transportation Insight, “Beyond the average increase on standard services, it is also important to recognize that surcharges, accessorials, new fees, and tweaks to the carriers’ terms and conditions could require you to budget a 2021 cost increase closer to 8.5%. Capacity pressures created by exponential e-commerce growth during the pandemic and uncertainty about mid-year or peak surcharges for 2021 creates an environment of unknowns.”

Shippers Need to Take a Look at Carriers’ Intricate Pricing Strategies

While understanding the impact of carriers’ general rate increases is critical for organizations with any kind of parcel volume, identifying exactly which factors may drive the most significant shipping cost changes is critical for effectively planning budgets for 2021; shippers need to take a comprehensive look at the intricacies of carriers’ pricing strategies.

To optimize parcel shipping costs in the wake of 2021 rate changes, shippers should simulate and analyze various transport factors to identify the potential impacts of rate increases. Doing so supports contract negotiations with parcel carriers, and it gives merchants a chance to prepare by adjusting business rules, repackaging goods, or taking other steps.

To pinpoint cost-effective methods for parcel shipping, shippers can run the following types of simulations:

  • Assuming everything is the same as last year: running re-rate scenarios shows the impact from one year to the next and enables shippers to adjust the current carrier mix to optimize cost savings
  • Changing a business’s inventory footprint: Moving products from distribution centers to brick-and-mortar stores, etc.
  • Carrier network expansion: Adding new carriers to handle parcel deliveries, be it international or local
  • Changing the approach to packaging parcels: Administering simulations based on dimensional weight (size/weight of package)
  • Determining metrics and cost of shipment per SKU (cost per unit): Many organizations run SKU level analytics and business intelligence reports; parcel shipping data can help to illuminate even more impactful insights
  • Comparing last-mile/regional services against those from major carriers: Which carriers are best suited to meet delivery and cost expectations

Carriers run their own simulations to see how they can maximize efficiency and profits; technology can help level the playing field by enabling shippers to efficiently run simulations, analyze potential fees, and determine how to mitigate them, along with monitoring cost impacts that could take them by surprise.

For instance, Logistyx’s cloud transportation management system (TMS) for parcel shipping with Business Intelligence enables shippers to glean insights on their own shipping patterns, usage, and more with the ability to filter and identify specific characteristics to better understand impact. With the ability to analyze real time shipping data, shippers can better understand how factors such as distance, speed to delivery, package size, and density affect spend within their transportation landscape. Shippers can also highlight savings opportunities across attributes such as origin-destination, carrier services, modes, accessories, and more.

Once shippers run simulations to consider potential impacts and how to counter them, they can align strategy and budget to particular scenarios. Accessing and analyzing available data can help shippers truly evaluate carrier performance, ensuring carrier selection is better informed and they’re at an advantage when it comes to carrier negotiations.

Optimize Shipping Costs with the Right Parcel TMS

Surviving 2020 was the end goal for many over the past year, but now the focus is on recovery in 2021. Retailers, manufacturers, and 3PLs need to keep a watchful eye on carrier rates so they can prepare for whatever the new year brings, and a TMS for parcel shipping with advanced Business Intelligence can help. To learn more about how you can leverage Business Intelligence to optimize parcel shipping costs in 2021, watch our webinar: Make your Shipping Data Work for You.


Proper Shipping and Tracking of COVID-19 Vaccines to Prevent Waste

Every year, more than half of vaccines go to waste globally because of temperature control, logistics, and shipment-related issues, according to Reuters. Given the immense scale and magnitude of the global COVID-19 crisis and subsequent vaccine rollout, effectively tracking inoculations throughout the supply chain all the way to the arm of each immunized person is paramount. A failure to accurately track vaccine processes could delay shipments or lead patients to miss vital second doses of the vaccine.

To help aid in the global COVID-19 vaccination effort, everyone from pharmaceutical manufacturers, shipping and logistics professionals, and major carriers have come together to implement an extensive distribution campaign. As countries across the globe continue to build up vaccine capacity, many governments have developed systems to track COVID-19 vaccine delivery to trace every dose shipped to various locales.

In the U.S., for example, the government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) allocates every COVID-19 vaccine dose ordered by states and tracks them through shipping companies  to hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other vaccination sites. Assorted systems then track who gets the vaccine and report back to the federal government where the data is housed in a central software platform called Tiberius that enables public health officials to make sure the limited vaccine supply is rationed carefully and fairly. As USA Today reports, Tiberius monitors details of where the vaccine moves and who has received injections – however, personal identifiers are removed before authorities view the data. OWS and the CDC use Tiberius to calculate weekly allotments to states, territories, and jurisdictions, taking into account inventory, storage capacity, and target populations. Doing so helps keep vaccine doses from piling up or getting wasted between the manufacturer and the vaccination site.

To develop the proper capacity for vaccine distribution and administration, each healthcare site or contingent involved should ensure they meet the following requirements:

  • The readiness of appropriate temperature-controlled facilities and equipment
  • The availability of personnel trained to handle time- and temperature-sensitive vaccines
  • The development of comprehensive monitoring capabilities to maintain the integrity of the vaccines

As more is learned about the vaccines and the initial stages of the vaccination rollout move forward, along with adequately preparing health professionals to administer the vaccine efficiently and equitably, continually working to find ways to optimize vaccine distribution to avoid costly mistakes and prevent waste will be critical.

The massive undertaking of this effort in the U.S. alone – with the attempt to deliver about 500 million doses of the vaccines nationwide – provides plenty of opportunity for something to go wrong, so careful consideration must be given for effective vaccine distribution. While Pfizer has transported its product via dry ice thermal shippers with remote temperature monitoring systems installed, the protocol for Moderna’s vaccine is completely different; it cannot be stored on dry ice at all but can be stored in a freezer or refrigerator. Understanding these nuances and properly moving the vaccines from warehouses to trucks to rural areas, pharmacies, public health clinics, hospitals, and long-term-care facilities creates a substantial operational challenge.

Shipping of temperature-sensitive materials like the COVID-19 vaccine demands keen attention to detail to comply with safety regulations and strict cold chain requirements. Correct labeling and proper storage of pharmaceutical parcels are key, but nothing is more crucial than carrier compliance given the increased training and safety requirements carriers need to move perishable goods effectively and efficiently. Risking error by not automating the compliance process can be both costly and dangerous.

Multi-carrier parcel shipping software such as Logistyx TME helps optimize parcel shipping and mitigate delivery risk by improving the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of the supply chain. Whether shipping domestically or worldwide, TME guarantees carrier compliance, streamlines transportation execution, and monitors parcel delivery movements – all critical factors when shipping life-saving treatments and vaccines.

To learn how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help you effectively plan for and manage complex supply chain events, contact us today.

The Top 5 Parcel Shipping Trends of 2021

On the heels of a global pandemic and an unprecedented peak season, the parcel shipping industry will continue to undergo transformation in 2021. Scarred by shipping capacity strain and carrier surcharges and under pressure to meet changing customer demands, many companies are thinking about how they can better fortify their supply chains to withstand future disruptions. Digital transformation across supply, returns, and cross-border e-commerce will be key to improving the delivery experience while pivoting to new business models that reduce cost and realize growth. Expect the following five parcel shipping trends to emerge in the coming months:

1. Omnichannel distribution will become the new normal.

Predicts Greg Petro, founder of First Insight and Forbes Contributor, “The consumer will not lose interest in online purchasing and will likely maintain the same or perhaps higher levels of online purchasing forevermore. They surely will return to a store on ‘occasion’ to have the in-store experience, but it will be far less than retailers expect. The link (and key) between the two channels (online and in-store) is omnichannel strategies like BOPIS and curbside.”

For many shippers, how rapidly and efficiently omnichannel distribution can be accomplished depends on how well mission-critical fulfillment technologies have been integrated within the supply chain. Shippers using standalone systems in their supply chains will confront more challenges. Without connected systems working as one, shippers incur more costs and require more manual labor to fulfill orders. Lacking the inventory visibility and other controls afforded by integrated systems, these shippers cannot deliver the same level of customer service as their high-functioning, agile competitors.

On the other end of the spectrum, shippers with supply chains that are fully integrated benefit from inventory visibility and controls throughout the organization and can quickly augment omnichannel capabilities with specialty software. These merchants require little or no human involvement to deliver hundreds of thousands of parcels daily from either a single distribution center or by deploying ship-from-store, buy-online-pick-up-in-store, and other innovative fulfillment strategies.

2. Reverse logistics will be in the spotlight.

With e-commerce on the rise, retailers will be forced to focus on reverse logistics strategies. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2020 e-commerce consumer survey, 76 percent of shoppers reported returning up to a quarter of their online purchases, and 56 percent said learning a company didn’t have a free returns policy has prevented them from making an online purchase. But how can parcel shippers manage returns costs while also making returns quick, easy, and hassle-free for customers?

Some companies will avoid returns altogether, including many luxury brands, who will continue to choose to skip the expense and improve customer service in one motion. E-tailers (sellers with no brick-and-mortar stores) are now increasingly following suit, sometimes telling customers to keep incorrect products and avoid the cost of returns.

For those companies committed to handling returns, they will mitigate returns costs by implementing a multi-carrier strategy. Equipping fulfilment teams with multiple carrier services from which to choose and technology that facilitates rate shopping across carrier services will keep costs low and empower teams to work around any carrier service delays or disruptions.

Furthermore, the priority will be convenience and all efforts will be made to breed customer loyalty. Forward-thinking organizations who put the customer experience first will simplify returns, using dual-use labels (labels that serve the purpose of both the outbound shipment and return) or peel-off labels (where the outbound label easily peels off to expose a return label) and accepting returns of online orders in stores. This last approach is popular among omnichannel retailers that have both online and physical stores, but it was also adopted by Amazon, who has partnered with large retail chains to accept, process, and ship returns at no cost to the customer.

3. Business Intelligence will improve parcel shipping execution.

Optimizing the ecommerce delivery experience while controlling transportation costs will be more important than ever for online retailers in 2021, and we’re likely to see increased use of data analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) to address these objectives. One particularly exciting area is the potential for external data feeds to augment BI data within parcel Transportation Management Systems (TMS), which many retailers use to track and provide analytics on the delivery performance of their parcel carriers.

In addition, it will soon be possible to incorporate weather and traffic data feeds into a parcel TMS to provide early notification (and with use of AI to predict the likely impact) of major weather events and road traffic incidents. There is even experimentation under way to see if analyzing unusual social media activity in a location might point to an exceptional disruptive event (a protest march or accident, for example) that could impact parcel deliveries.

4. Shippers will expand their use of cloud technology.

E-commerce growth rates accelerated in 2020, requiring organizations to fulfill unprecedented order volumes. Shippers will turn to cloud-based shipping technology to enhance the speed, scalability, connectivity, and flexibility of their supply chains, empowering fulfillment teams to execute, track, and analyze parcel shipping processes in a single solution and offering them the agility to onboard more carrier services quickly – improving reaction time, collaboration, and decision-making accuracy when the unexpected occurs.

5. Shippers will grow their carrier network.

In 2020, parcel shippers discovered that UPS, FedEx, and DHL, etc. can implement capacity limits and turn away shipments. Companies that already had multiple carrier contracts in place and shipping technology to rate and rate shop across their carrier network, fared better. In 2021, shippers will look to grow their carrier networks to include local and regional carriers to prevent future disruptions. And as companies increasingly ship orders from stores rather than from central distribution centers, there will also be growth in courier services that deliver parcels from stores to local customers.

Leverage 2021 Shipping Trends and Partner with Logistyx

Continuing to take a rigid approach to parcel shipping is no longer effective for most supply chain teams. Supply chain leaders instead need to adopt a more agile approach, one that allows them to anticipate, adapt, and prioritize within shorter time frames in response to everything from changing market dynamics to carrier capacity issues. Companies that were successful in 2020 were those that have been able to optimize order fulfillment strategies on the fly, quickly comparing order fulfillment scenarios and making smart decisions to adapt to ongoing shifts in consumer demand, mitigate on-time delivery risk, and stay ahead of the competition.

There’s no better time for supply chain leaders to prepare to thrive in a new era of strategic supply chain planning. Learn more about how your organization can effectively plan for 2021 in this e-book: React, Recover, Prepare: Future-Proofing Supply Chain Management.

4 Indicators You’re Ready for a TMS for Parcel Shipping

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) for parcel shipping have been implemented within the enterprise order fulfillment process for the last 25 years. However, over the last couple of years (and especially over the last couple of months), demand for these systems from mid-size companies, e-commerce retailers, and omnichannel retailers has increased. More than ever, shippers are straining to fulfill orders on time while decreasing costs, and those without a cloud multi-carrier shipping solution are finding themselves behind.

The only way to surmount the situation is to recognize when it’s time to implement a cloud TMS for parcel shipping. Pay attention to these four indicators:

1. Securing Carrier Capacity is Challenging

Right now, difficulty securing carrier capacity is the primary challenge for shippers without a TMS for parcel shipping, and as capacity tightens, organizations are unable to cover basic shipping needs at affordable rates. A TMS for parcel shipping that guarantees compliance with an extensive number of national, regional, and local carrier services can empower you to deploy a flexible transportation strategy worldwide – improving on-time delivery rates and saving money with each parcel journey. Think about it this way: the more carrier services you have in your network, the more choices you have to optimize your parcel delivery and transportation spend.

2. Transportation Spend is Increasing

A good way to spot unfavorable trends in transportation spend is to keep an eye on net landed cost of goods figures. As transportation spend increases, so too does the net landed cost of goods. In addition, increasing transportation spend during supply chain disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic may also coincide with an increase in spot rates, as shippers rush to access available capacity. If either data point surfaces in your reports, it likely makes sense to onboard additional carriers, couriers, or lanes. Growing the carrier network can help any company by introducing more options and capacity into the parcel delivery mix, and companies that want to stay ahead of market dynamics such as delivery capacity shortages or increasing e-commerce volumes have invested in a cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping that creates flexibility and diversity in fulfillment.

3. Teams Use Multiple Systems to Execute Shipments

There’s no question single-carrier systems are well designed for the carrier they represent. However, working across multiple systems adds precious seconds (if not minutes) to the order fulfillment process. Advanced TMS for parcel shipping solutions give shippers access to multiple carriers within one system and integrate with leading business systems to seamlessly execute shipments, automatically identifying the best carrier service and providing a label that complies with the carrier’s requirements in sub-second time – a marked improvement at a key milestone in end-to-end supply chain execution.

4. Shipping System Updates Cause Disruption

Another key indicator you’re ready to implement a cloud TMS for parcel shipping: system maintenance and updates. On-premise solutions typically incur downtime for regularly-scheduled maintenance and updates. In contrast, a cloud TMS for parcel shipping eliminates this issue. The software provider is responsible for solution upgrades and enhancements, including application maintenance, and most application upgrades can be deployed automatically, eliminating the need for internal IT resources.

Build a Business Case for a TMS for Parcel Shipping

Investing in a TMS for parcel shipping may sound overwhelming, but the right solution provider will help you identify the features and functionality you need to manage fulfillment volume today while infusing scalability and flexibility into your supply chain. To start building your business case, watch our video: The Logistyx Shipping Quadrant

4 Reasons Shippers Should Use Multiple Carriers

Using multiple vendors to source commodity products is a recommended business practice for companies looking to mitigate risk, secure optimal pricing, and leverage various vendors’ strengths. Therefore, it stands to reason this rule should also apply to the use of common parcel carriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS, as well as smaller carriers that specialize in regional and international markets. However, shippers are often made to believe they are getting the best deal when using a single carrier.

Growing the carrier network can help any company by introducing more options and capacity into the parcel delivery mix. Therefore, companies that want to stay ahead of market dynamics such as delivery capacity shortages or increasing e-commerce volumes have invested in a cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping that creates flexibility and diversity in fulfillment. Below are four advantages of this multi-carrier solution:

1. Use Multiple Carriers to Eliminate Risk

The old adage of “putting all of your eggs in one basket” proves true in parcel shipping. Using a single carrier will always increase risk, since shippers are unable to change carriers or service levels quickly. Single-carrier relationships may look good at the outset, but over time there is no motivation for the carrier (supplier) to excel in service or pricing because the relationship lacks a competitive impetus.

2. Streamline Multiple Transportation Modes

Most shippers today will have more than one mode of transportation (parcel, LTL, freight, international freight, private fleet, etc.).  Shippers not using a TMS for parcel shipping will, in most cases, use multiple systems or manual systems to tender packages to a carrier. A TMS for parcel shipping will allow the shipper to plan and execute all of these modes from a single system which, in turn, will dramatically increase efficiencies by:

  • Streamlining shipping processes
  • Leveraging a single user interface
  • Automating rating for better carrier selection

3. Rate Shop Different Carriers

Rating shipments and comparing those rates to other carriers for the same weight, destination, and delivery times is a common feature in a TMS for parcel shipping.  Best practice is to shop rates and select the optimal carrier for the shipment at the time the order is received, instead of doing this later in the supply chain, thus alleviating constraints that may occur during the actual shipping process. Again, without multiple carriers competing for your business, these savings opportunities are bypassed. In addition, most systems can shop between the parcel mode and the LTL freight mode for those loads that could use either.

4. Ensure Carrier Compliance

Parcel carriers today have stringent requirements for meeting their compliance programs for all of their service levels (next-day, express, ground, COD, etc.). These compliance programs address facets of the shipping process such as:

  • Rating
  • Creation of proprietary bar coding
  • EDI transmission of shipping manifests
  • Track and trace functionality

Carriers have certification programs, such as FedEx’s “Certified Solution Provider” (CSP). Shippers can find TMS for parcel shipping providers that adhere to the CSP program through FedEx.

TMS for parcel shipping providers that have certifications with carriers can assure the shipper of meeting the carriers’ complex standards, and the shipper will have a library of carriers and service levels from which to choose – thereby optimizing each customer shipment.

On Time Delivery at the Lowest Cost

A cloud TMS for parcel shipping simplifies the complexity of logistics from product purchase to carrier payment. Shippers can leverage multiple carriers from a single system, securing the best rate, route, service level, and transit time for each shipment. In addition, the right solution will allow shippers to track any package with any carrier, anywhere. It will also ensure compliance with carrier rules and shipping requirements.

Does this describe your current shipping needs? Contact a Logistyx expert to learn more.

7 Benefits of Integrating your TMS for Parcel Shipping with your Business Systems

At Logistyx, we continuously deepen our ties with complementary solution partners to deliver the flexibility, security, and speed our customers need to accelerate their success. We know from experience that when the shipping execution process is seamlessly integrated with the total fulfillment workflow, new automation opportunities appear that bear substantial cost savings to the shipping function. Here are 7 benefits of integrating your TMS for Parcel Shipping with your business systems:

1. Reduce Handling Costs

Shippers reduce fulfillment costs by reducing the number of times a product is manually handled throughout the fulfillment process.  By integrating a TMS for parcel shipping with other supply chain systems, the final pack, inspection, weigh, and release are accomplished with only one bar code scan.

2. Centralize All Shipping Functions

A TMS for parcel shipping will execute shipments throughout an enterprise regardless of multiple shipping origins and/or multiple modes of transportation.  With a single database and single-user interface, the system enables rating and routing rules to be set for all locations.  In addition, shippers gain efficiencies through managing all transactions in one system.

3. Improve Automation by Using Business Rules

Most shipping systems today have the ability to “filter” requests through business rules of some kind, whether it be a 4GL or an open language like Java.  These rules can be turned on or off with a single click, thus giving the shipper more control over the automated shipping methods for controlling process flow or customer transit preferences – ultimately reducing the cost of the transaction.

4. Instill Multiple Location Control

Even though an enterprise-class TMS for parcel shipping achieves cost savings through centralization, local control must be available to each shipping origin within the enterprise.  Shipping origins affect rating, unique customer preferences, and manifest control.  The TMS for parcel shipping will give the shipper the best of both worlds: centralized control with local personalization.

5. Integrate with Material Handling

One of the more common uses of a TMS for parcel shipping in a high-volume operation is the integration with material-handling servers to automate a “print and apply” operation.  This process utilizes robotics with conveyor sorting functionality, wherein packed containers can be weighed, rated, labeled with a packing list, and automatically affixed with a carrier label.  One of the key advantages of the TMS for parcel shipping in this environment is higher performance.  It is, in some cases, the determining factor between applying 10 labels per minute or 60 labels per minute.

6. Improve Transportation Planning

The particular mix of transportation modes used by the shipper will determine the overall benefit of pre-planning.  If freight loads can be identified or if parcel carriers can be selected based on lowest cost prior to fulfillment, bottlenecks and constraints can be removed at the shipping execution point of the fulfillment process.  Pre-processing of the shipment can also lend itself to printing of the shipping label with the pick ticket before the order is picked, which can replace any in-house LPN labeling, in addition to removing any label printing constraints at the end of the line.

7. Leverage Sophisticated Reporting

Now that the TMS for parcel shipping has collected all of the shipping origins, transportation modes, shipping transactions, and business rules in ONE database, through the use of simple report-writers, 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 and contrast historical information of multiple-mode shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins.

Make Life Easier

Shippers that integrate their business systems with a TMS for parcel shipping like Logistyx TME will rapidly realize time and money savings. To learn more about how the business system integration process with Logistyx is managed, contact one of our experts today.


How to Quantify the Cost Saving Benefits of a TMS for Parcel Shipping

While ROI can be used as a rudimentary gauge of a technology investment’s profitability, it can be a challenge to build a business case and quantify the cost saving benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping without familiarity or experience with the technology. The following is a summary of the benefits, both hard and soft, that would comprise the cost savings portion of a typical ROI analysis.

1. Intelligent Carrier Selection

Using a TMS for parcel shipping to automatically analyze carrier rates within the shipper’s transportation network and select the lowest-cost carrier has shown to reduce overall transportation spend from seven percent to two percent depending on the volume, mode, and service levels used by the shipper. Larger savings are found when the shipper is either shipping heavy products and using more expensive LTL or FT moves or needing to compare LTL to parcel.

2. Automated Business Rules

A TMS for parcel shipping with advanced business logic can “filter” transactions through the shipper’s business rules, attaining even higher levels of automation. For example, if a shipper implements a promotion offering free shipping when the order amount is greater than fifty dollars, the TMS for parcel shipping will execute the shipment according to this rule.  Rules can run exclusive of each other and can be turned on or off in one click.  Cost savings achieved via business rules can be high, driven by labor savings, customer personalization, or customer service.

3. Integration with the Supply Chain

In many cases, the shipping function is a standalone process at the end of the supply chain. But when shippers integrate the TMS for parcel shipping with supply chain systems, shipping is now a seamless process within the business.  The TMS for parcel shipping accepts downloads of expected orders from the ERP or Order Management System and sends back key shipping transaction information for real-time status updates throughout the organization.  Product handling during fulfillment is reduced and customer service is improved.  Cost savings in this sector can be substantial when coupled with multiple modes of transportation that have traditionally been disconnected from the overall process.

4. Increased Functionality

Adding new capabilities to the existing shipping workflow will add cost saving benefits.

  • Address Validation: Correct the address to avoid carrier surcharges.
  • Shipment Consolidation: Intelligently group and rate shipments to the same or similar destinations.
  • International Shipments: Automate this complex shipping process to eliminate bottlenecks, reduce errors, meet compliance requirements, and increase efficiencies.
  • Multiple-Mode Shipments: Execute all shipments (parcel, freight, international, etc.) from the same system.
  • Multiple-Location Control: Use the same, centralized system across all shipping locations.
  • Drop Shipping: Outside vendors can use the system to ship to customers, reducing overhead and improving information regarding the shipment.

5. Improved Customer Service

Using a TMS for parcel shipping has been shown to markedly improve communication and better serve the customer. Proactive functions like email notifications and immediate track-and-trace with the carrier significantly decrease calls to customer service.  Ultimately, satisfied customers yield repeat customers and increased business.

6. Carrier Performance Review

With all shipments from all locations in one system, shippers can use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track carrier performance and facilitate better carrier contracts and rates. Specific KPIs such as cost/mile/delivery can be easily calculated through basic reporting.

Reduce Transportation and Fulfillment Costs Today

With more than 1,500 collective years of experience and a strong track record of success in a broad spectrum of industries including consumer products, retail and e-commerce, technology, and manufacturing, Logistyx TME, a state-of-the-art Transportation Management System for parcel shipping, has supported mission critical supply chain execution for more than 1,000 customers worldwide.

Learn how to choose the right TMS for parcel shipping for your unique shipping environment.  Download the e-book: Logistyx Quadrant: Choosing a TMS for Parcel Shipping.

3 Ways a Transportation Management System for Parcel Shipping Reduces Transportation Costs

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) for parcel shipping have been implemented within the enterprise order fulfillment process for the last 25 years.  However, over the last couple of years (and especially over the last couple of months), demand for these systems from mid-size companies, e-commerce retailers, and omnichannel retailers has increased.

With the cost of transportation rising steadily over the years and in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging a TMS for parcel shipping is an excellent way to reduce transportation and fulfillment costs.  Cost savings from a TMS for parcel shipping are realized from the moment the customer order is placed and continue through the pick, pack, and ship processes.

Typical, quantitative ROI calculations demonstrate an investment payback well within 12 months of implementing the system.  Three common factors contributing to the transportation cost savings include:

1. Carrier Costs

Rate shopping across multiple carriers within the enterprise’s transportation network is usually the most pronounced and quickest way to reduce transportation spend. At Logistyx, we have observed that moving from a single carrier to rate shopping across multiple carrier services to optimize spend for each shipment can reduce carrier costs by up to 30%.

2. Shipment Planning and Execution

The cost of the shipment will be directly related to the level of shipping automation in place. A TMS for parcel shipping will increase efficiencies in planning, optimize carrier selection, reduce handling, automatically select transportation mode, integrate the shipping workflow into the fulfillment process, and more.  Leveraging a single system for multiple distribution locations (warehouse, distribution center, store, etc.) will also contribute to cost reductions.

3. Transportation Audit

Incorrect billing or incorrect service level charges by the carrier can amount to as much as three to five percent of total transportation spend. Did the carrier live up to the original agreement by providing the proper service at the correct cost?  The TMS for parcel shipping’s audit functionality finds these mistakes and files claims to reconcile the payment process.  Additionally, audit functionality will effectively run analytics on shipping data and provide business intelligence.  Benefits include finding the true cost of carriers, deciphering trends and uncovering additional savings opportunities, and evaluating carrier performance to assist in rate negotiations.

Streamline Shipping & Integrate Capabilities to Reduce Parcel Transportation Costs

Companies not using a TMS for parcel shipping probably manage “transportation” functions that are distributed between systems, spreadsheets, websites, and manual (read: error-prone) processes.  By streamlining shipping and integrating capabilities, additional benefits can be realized:

1. Improved Performance

Even shipping systems purchased 10 years ago are probably using older technology, which may be slowing the shipping process just by waiting for a label to print or for a manifest to close. With higher processing speeds, wait times have been eliminated and throughput increased.

2. International Shipping Documents

Given significant increases in e-commerce, more companies are expanding their businesses into global markets. However, shipping internationally requires more documentation and greater care when doing final preparations.  A TMS for parcel shipping can automatically provide all of the necessary documentation by carrier, resulting in shipment error reductions.

3. Shipment Consolidations

Often, the same customer can place multiple orders within minutes of each other. Without adequate planning, companies lose the opportunity to pack those orders into the same container to save on shipping costs.  A TMS for parcel shipping can perform these consolidations to reduce transportation cost.

4. Address Validation and Verification

If the address printed on the label isn’t correct, the carrier will re-bill the shipper an address correction charge anywhere from four to six dollars per package. On average, 22% of an average company’s shipments are incorrect.  In addition to the address, certain carriers require a Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI) be used when shipping to a residential address.  If the shipper doesn’t include this information, the carrier will bill the shipper an additional charge.  The TMS for parcel shipping can provide address correction, usually using the USPS CASS database, to assure that the shipper won’t incur unforeseen and expensive charges.

5. Omnichannel and E-Commerce Value

E-commerce shippers are always looking for a marketing edge to keep their customers and acquire new ones. A TMS for parcel shipping can provide “what if” shipping scenarios to shoppers prior to their final purchase.  In most cases, the retailer using this approach will consistently present a lower shipping cost than its competitors and ultimately attract more business.

Best-in-Class Shippers Use a TMS for Parcel Shipping to Reduce Parcel Transportation Costs

A TMS for parcel shipping enables companies to execute shipments in the most cost-effective manner possible.  To learn more about how you can decrease transportation spend with a TMS for parcel shipping, download our Quick Guide: Critical Capabilities of a TMS for Parcel Shipping.

Parcel Shipping: How to Strategize for 2021

Supply chain leaders should be looking toward 2021, and in a normal year, parcel shipping plans would be well underway. But 2020 has been anything but normal, and in an environment where every week introduces a new challenge, it can be difficult to anticipate next Monday, let alone next year.

So what’s a supply chain leader to do?

Navigating Uncertainty Requires Agile Parcel Shipping

Continuing to take a rigid approach to parcel shipping is no longer effective for most supply chain teams. Supply chain leaders instead need to adopt a more agile approach, one that allows them to anticipate, adapt, and prioritize within shorter time frames in response to everything from changing market dynamics to carrier capacity issues.

Companies that have been successful in 2020 are those that have been able to optimize order fulfillment strategies on the fly. They are quickly comparing order fulfillment scenarios and making smart decisions to adapt to ongoing shifts in consumer demand, mitigate on-time delivery risk, and stay ahead of the competition.

One key area where these supply chain leaders have recalibrated their approach to parcel shipping in today’s unpredictable environment: digitizing and integrating the supply chain technology stack.

Improve Supply Chain Agility for Parcel Shipping in 2021

In the 2019 Third Party Logistics Study, 42% of survey respondents said they had not made necessary changes to improve their agility over the past five years. This lack of agility was further underscored by 38% of shippers admitting they were inconsistent at executing in an omni-channel environment (seamlessly serving customers both online and in stores), and 36% admitted they have no capability in this area.  Introduce a global pandemic into this equation, and it’s easy to see why some shippers are suffering.

Adding insult to injury: this lack of agility comes at a cost. According to Supply & Demand Chain Executivetop supply chains perform at one-fourth of the costs per $1,000 in revenue.  This difference means a bottom performer with $5 billion in annual revenue could incur $403.9 million in additional supply chain costs per year.

Despite these grim statistics, there are countless examples of shippers that are not only surviving but thriving in today’s environment. Consider the pandemic-induced pivot from in-store shopping to online—a big change that came with great opportunities, such as reaching more consumers in geographically dispersed locations. Shippers that had integrated inventory, order management, warehouse management, and parcel shipping systems were able to make this pivot seamlessly and ship goods from any point of origin (store, distribution center, warehouse) to any destination.

bullet points for supply chain agile companies based on blog text

In addition, these organizations embraced the cloud to decrease supply chain risks. A digitized supply chain, most easily established via cloud solutions, can help organizations predict and anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the supply chain. Digitized supply chains are faster, more accurate, and more flexible than other supply chains, and each is anchored by a single system of record or source of truth for the organization, often a warehouse management system.

With an eye on how quickly the world in which we operate can change, more organizations have also come to realize the benefits of integrating a cloud, multi-carrier parcel management system with their supply chain technology stack to expand their transportation network beyond the “big three” and leverage multiple carriers, including regional carriers and couriers, for cost-effective order fulfillment and parcel shipping. Carrier rate shopping, for example, has become more important than ever as surcharges increase.

Sophisticated multi-carrier parcel management solutions will also yield analytics and reporting to improve the process for critical decision making. Some shippers who have not prioritized the use of real-time analytics in the past have now opened their eyes to the benefits as of late. Having the ability to analyze e-commerce fulfillment data and unlock insights can transform fulfillment and slash costs by identifying problems, their root causes, and opportunities to improve.

Logistyx enables supply chain teams to anticipate, pivot, and win.

To achieve omnichannel fulfillment, supply chain teams need to be able to share data seamlessly, pandemic or no pandemic. And this is where multi-carrier parcel management systems come in. A multi-carrier parcel management system like Logistyx TME enables shippers to adjust and respond to any reality to successfully meet order fulfillment KPIs.

As a leader in the parcel shipping technology industry, Logistyx solutions integrate with the entire supply chain technology stack, giving everyone across the business visibility into order fulfillment. And with Logistyx TME, supply chain leaders can quickly and accurately create and compare different scenarios to support decision-making. They can swiftly weigh the impact of, for example, a carrier surcharge, before executing a transportation strategy, eliminating guesswork and instilling confidence their decisions will yield the right outcomes.

Despite current challenges, there’s no better time for supply chain leaders to empower the enterprise to thrive in a new era of strategic supply chain planning.  Learn more about how your organization can effectively plan for 2021 in this e-book: React, Recover, Prepare: Future-Proofing Supply Chain Management.

How a Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System Benefits Small to Medium-Size Businesses

A multi-carrier parcel management system helps companies streamline their parcel shipping processes to achieve on time delivery at the lowest possible cost. Rather than use one or two carrier-supplied systems to prepare a parcel for shipment, a multi-carrier parcel management system enables a shipper to rate shop across multiple carriers within a single system, automatically identifying the carrier that can provide the best rates to a particular region according to the shipper’s business rules, and ensuring every shipment is in compliance with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations.  This enables companies to quickly onboard new carriers or carrier services in the event of a supply chain disruption and provides them with the agility they need to accommodate increasing shipping volumes, manage new or unexpected shipment origins and destinations, and meet customer delivery expectations.

Cloud Systems Democratize Multi-Carrier Parcel Management Technology

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shippingMany small and medium-size organizations incorrectly believe multi-carrier parcel management systems are only for large, enterprise organizations. While this notion may have been true when systems were installed on-premise and at great expense, the technology has now moved to the cloud and companies like Logistyx can bring the benefits of a multi-carrier parcel management system to any size company.  Because of the cloud, these systems offer a much lower total cost of ownership, are simpler to implement, and require no internal IT support.  Furthermore, a cloud-based solution easily scales to support a company as shipping volumes and complexity increase, enabling high-growth businesses to seize opportunities and react to threats without navigating manual processes or extracting data from clumsy systems.

Now is the Right Time for Small and Medium-Size Businesses to Invest in a Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System

Investing in new technology might seem unreasonable given today’s climate, but small- to medium-size companies with a growth mindset are actually moving forward with new technology implementations, and in particular with cloud multi-carrier parcel management systems to ensure that when the economy rebounds, they have the competitive edge.  Rather than plan for a return to “normal,” these businesses are instead using this time to redefine “normal” and prepare their supply chains to withstand increases in e-commerce and execute omnichannel order fulfillment.  They recognize a multi-carrier parcel management system will enable them to succeed in this new “normal” and give them the ability to:

  • Optimize and consolidate parcel shipments
  • Improve on-time delivery rates
  • Decrease parcel shipping spend
  • Reduce parcel shipping errors
  • Access a large carrier pool
  • Monitor shipments in real-time
  • Quickly evaluate carrier performance
  • Communicate shipment status to customers

Small and Medium-Size Shippers Need Data Too

For small and enterprise shippers alike, a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system will provide full oversight of shipping operations and deliver easy access to real-time data, allowing stakeholders to make insight-driven decisions on how and where to make changes that yield incremental increases in profits per parcel that add up to substantial bottom line savings.

For instance, the robust reporting in a cloud multi-carrier parcel management system enables businesses to regularly compare transportation spend by carrier, and across different zones, to identify trends that may impact financial growth.  And aggregating and analyzing data from business-critical applications such as an ERP in conjunction with a multi-carrier shipping system can help identify actionable opportunities, such as improving inventory availability to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

Small and medium-size businesses looking to make a level jump will need the help of a best-of-breed system such as Logistyx TME.  Check out the Logistyx quadrant to learn more about how an organization of any size can benefit from our cloud multi-carrier parcel management system.


Guidelines for Purchasing a Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System

For companies shipping parcels, managing every stage of the delivery from the distribution center to the doorstep is complicated.  Even the most sophisticated shippers struggle to overcome distribution challenges and control transportation spend.

As a result, shippers often implement multi-carrier parcel management systems to cost-effectively deliver their products to their customers on time.  And because many solution providers are continuously innovating system features and functionality to support parcel shipping challenges of increasing complexity and scope, these shippers are yielding a quick ROI on the technology and finding a competitive edge.

However, not every multi-carrier parcel management system provider can support highly complex, global scenarios with a complete set of features and functionality and a worldwide network of carrier services integrations.  Therefore, to help shipping stakeholders make the right multi-carrier parcel management system purchase, Logistyx created a shipping quadrant. The quadrant helps companies quickly ascertain how their current shipping operations compare to their long-term product distribution vision and then determine which shipping technology they need to execute their distribution strategy, both today and tomorrow.

The quadrant accounts for functional areas such as:

  • Parcel Contract Management
  • Carrier Compliance
  • Parcel Consolidation
  • Label and Document Creation
  • Parcel Execution
  • Real-Time Parcel Visibility
  • Reporting/Analytics

Logistyx Shipping Quadrant for Blogs

Companies can fall into any of the four quadrants.  One might be in the lower left, only requiring shipping technology with basic labeling and execution functionality to match its business model, and that’s okay.  Others might be on their way to a worldwide omnichannel strategy and need functionality such as a Contol Tower and Business Intelligence – and on a global basis to boot.  Many are likely somewhere in between; possibly on the way to an omnichannel strategy, but currently only shipping domestically, or shipping globally, but volumes are low.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingUsing the Logistyx Quadrant, companies can ensure they’re leveraging the right technology for their unique distribution strategy and goals.  In line with Gartner recommendations,  Logistyx advises companies researching multi-carrier parcel management systems to first identify their most challenging issues and then opt for a solution that can handle the issues at the most sophisticated level.

The Benefits of a Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System

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

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

Popular benefits include:

  • Quickly and seamlessly integrating with other supply chain technology to create a global supply chain ecosystem.
  • Syncing data across all supply chain functions, making it decision-grade and providing a single source of truth for all parties.
  • Easily scaling to support the company as shipping volumes and complexity increase, enabling high-growth businesses to seize opportunities and react to threats without navigating manual processes or extracting data from clumsy systems.

Choose the Right Multi-Carrier Parcel Management System for your Business

You can simplify the complexity of parcel shipping by implementing technology that best meets the needs of your unique shipping environment.  To learn more about the Logistyx quadrant and how to purchase the right multi-carrier parcel management system for your business, contact a Logistyx expert today.