Logistyx Update and Response to COVID-19 Read the Letter

On the Move – Trends and Innovations in TMS: Ken Fleming Speaks to Manufacturing & Logistics IT

Quick, accurate parcel delivery is the lifeblood of modern commerce.  As customers become more demanding about how, when, and where they want to receive their products, shippers and carriers need to quickly adapt to survive, and they often harness technology to do so.  Manufacturing and Logistics IT recently spoke to leading vendors and analysts in the Transportation Management System (TMS) industry, including Ken Fleming, President & Chief Sales Officer of Logistyx Technologies, to examine current trends and possible future innovations in the sector.

In a wide-ranging report, Ken shared insights on topics including:

Read the full article.

Why a TMS for Parcel Shipping Makes Sense for your Business

Whether you’re in retail or B2B e-commerce, if you’re shipping parcels, you may be wondering whether a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping, also known as multi-carrier shipping software, would make sense for your business. But how exactly can a TMS for parcel shipping benefit your business?  Which solutions are right for you? And how easy is it to upgrade from the system you currently have in place?

These are three important questions, and we’ll address each one in turn.

1. How can a TMS for parcel shipping support your transportation management strategy?

When it comes to order fulfillment, most logistics operations have two major objectives: meet the actual delivery promise made to the customer at the time of the order and minimize the delivery costs. Parcel shipping software addresses the common challenges that arise when meeting these objectives in several ways.

First, you need to select the right carrier mix for your business. A TMS for parcel can help you do this by providing an accurate and precise Business Intelligence dataset that allows you to project and assess the financial impact of new carrier pricing conditions.

Next, the right TMS for parcel can help you make on-the-fly decisions about which carrier service is best for a particular shipment based on your business rules, the service level, and the cost, and it guarantees compliance with carrier requirements from an IT and labeling perspective regardless of which carrier service is selected. The software should also support communications with carriers during the booking and manifesting processes.

Operational visibility can also be enhanced, as an advanced TMS for parcel shipping will feature Control Tower visibility, collecting all tracking information and generating delivery event alerts that feed into the CRM system.  This means customer service teams can proactively trouble-shoot delivery exception events and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time. For example, perhaps the product can be sent from a different distribution center to arrive on time. Or perhaps the customer is willing to retrieve the product from a nearby store or locker. Customers can even track and trace shipments on company websites without the need to visit carrier sites, reducing inbound calls about shipment status to customer service and increasing the customers’ browsing behavior on the shipper’s website – which (fingers crossed!) could lead to additional purchases. Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables shippers to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and better informing carrier contract negotiations.

Finally, a TMS for parcel streamlines the financial management of shipping costs by providing carrier invoice matching tools that identify invoice discrepancies and automate payment when appropriate. Plus, if the system has a deep ERP integration, it will allow for sophisticated account allocation and cost accruals.

2. Which solutions are right for your business?

As you’d expect, there are a variety of different TMS for parcel shipping solutions on the market from a range of providers. To help you decide which is best, it’s essential to analyze the context and objectives within your business – what you actually ship, shipment origins, shipment destinations, your carrier contracts, your business rules, and what you need to achieve.

For example, your shipments might be part of an omnichannel distribution model within a retail or ecommerce business, where multiple delivery locations and stringent delivery times require different carrier services to meet the customer’s required ETA. You’ll require a TMS for parcel shipping with rigorous control over – and visibility into – each delivery movement from the warehouse to the final destination to ensure on-time delivery is achieved.

Next, consider the deployment scope. Very few providers of TMS for parcel shipping technology feature a global carrier services network with Professional Services teams located worldwide. These two elements will be showstoppers for shippers that want to ship globally using a single solution company-wide.

Beyond this, there is a list of solution features that might be “nice to have” for some, and a mandatory requirement for others. These include scalability, cross-border shipping compliance, and integration with other supply chain systems such as e-commerce, ERP, WMS, and OMS technology.

To this last point, for some companies, integration with existing systems may be a priority. And thankfully there are TMS for parcel shipping solutions that have either a public API or pre-configured integrations to leading technology partners such as Manhattan, Blue Yonder, SAP, and Oracle. Having a wide selection of useful integrations can enable shippers to be more responsive to changes in either customer behavior or market requirements, allowing them to rapidly pivot and adopt new partners and technologies as necessary. They future proof the organization, if you will, against additional changes to come.

Another consideration: whether to host the TMS for parcel on premise or in the cloud. And in some scenarios, a hybrid model might be preferred. A word of advice: Businesses with a growth mindset need shipping technology that can support the company as shipping volumes and complexity increase, and a cloud TMS for parcel enables a high-growth business to quickly seize opportunities and react to threats.  Cloud TMS for parcel systems offer scalability, agility, and low total cost of ownership, rescuing companies from large IT overheads and empowering them to handle growth on their own terms by leveraging flexible technology that will scale with them.  Furthermore, by implementing cloud TMS for parcel technology that can operate globally, major obstacles to international market expansion can be eliminated.

3. How do you migrate from a legacy system to an advanced TMS for parcel?

If you’re already using a shipping management system, whether it’s an older TMS or even a legacy carrier management solution that’s part of your WMS, then you may worry about the difficulty of upgrading.

Usually, systems migration will require three key workstreams:

  • Conduct an in-depth analysis of existing, relevant supply workflows and system integrations.
  • Ensure systems integration is implemented and tested, and that carrier contracts are onboarded and commissioned.
  • Build the appropriate business rules in the system.

The biggest challenge we face when migrating from another TMS technology to a Logistyx solution comes when a shipper expects a like-for-like migration, with a similar level of features. In most cases, however, the original design isn’t documented in a reusable way, and upon closer analysis, the shipper doesn’t really need a like-for-like migration, they need to redesign the system to meet current requirements and lay the groundwork to scale.

The important thing to remember is that TMS for parcel systems don’t require large “master data” migration.  Most of the assets lie in carrier connectivity, compliance, and contract data. So, the migration pain is generally limited.

Finally, it’s important to analyze the compelling reason behind implementing a new TMS for parcel. In our experience, it’s very rarely a technology change that triggers an upgrade to our solution, but rather a business reason, such as the need for additional business features, wider carrier integration capabilities, better analytics, improved ability to make strategic decisions, and more. In any of these situations, a redesign is required, and the challenge of migrating systems isn’t critical.

Take the Next Step

To learn more about how a TMS for parcel shipping could make sense for your business, download the e-book: Logistyx Quadrant: Choosing a TMS for Parcel Shipping.

New Parcel Shipping Research: 71% of Shippers Overlook Advantages of TMS

In partnership with Logistics Management, Logistyx recently published “Using TMS to Reimagine Last-Mile Fulfillment,” a research report detailing e-commerce’s significant impact on the supply chain, current parcel shipping trends and how technology is helping companies formulate their last-mile fulfillment strategies.

The online survey of 143 professionals conducted by Peerless Research Group for this report sought to learn more about shippers’ challenges and solutions in relation to their e-commerce strategies. It’s no secret: consumers want their parcels more quickly than ever. As e-commerce continues to grow and parcel shipping expands, our industry is constantly reinventing itself. The research showed that 69% percent of respondents feel e-commerce has had an impact on their organizations and that it’s led to an increase in their parcel shipping.

 

Read on to learn more about the challenges shippers face in the e-commerce era, including some key data points from the report.

Parcel Wins the Race

For shippers seeking a balance between cost and efficiency, parcel shipping by ground is the most popular choice.

 

When shipping priority and expedited parcels, 89% of respondents shipping domestically are using parcel services, while 73% are using air, 75% rely on less-than-truckload (LTL) and 49% utilize truckload (TL).

On-time ≠ Communicative

While 90% of companies rated their on-time delivery rates as excellent, very good or adequate, only 56% of organizations rated their alerts regarding delays or damages for shipments as excellent, very good or adequate. While making deliveries on-time is key, many businesses show room for improvement in tracking and tracing, paperwork practices, end-to-end visibility and more consumer communication initiatives.

Cost Matters

Rising parcel costs continue to pose a significant challenge to shippers. As a result, 52% of respondents are working with fewer carrier partners, 39% are consolidating shipments and 38% are optimizing their internal resources (for example, labor or equipment) or improving their decision-making and planning.

Carrier Reliance High

Of course, it’s key shippers work with carriers on which they rely, but this doesn’t mean they should rely on external data as a substitute for their own tracking system. When managing parcel shipments specifically, 57% of shippers are using their carrier’s solution. This number jumps to 63% for international shippers.

TMS: The Underutilized Secret Weapon

Across both domestic and international shipments, 29% of companies are currently using a transportation management system (TMS). Yet, 60% of companies using a TMS find it to be either

extremely or very effective at helping them streamline their parcel shipping operations.

As the volume of parcel shipments increase and shippers work to meet customer demands, turning to automation and advanced technology like a TMS can help optimize the fulfillment and delivery process while keeping costs in check and providing an enhanced customer experience.

If you’re interested in learning more, download the full report here.

Ready to upgrade your parcel shipping strategy with top-tier technology? Logistyx TME is a cloud-based TMS for global parcel shipping that guarantees carrier compliance, streamlines transportation execution, monitors parcel delivery movements, and identifies ongoing opportunities to increase profits per shipment. Learn more about how TME can help your business here.

3 Signs it’s Time for a Cloud Multi-Carrier Shipping System

Businesses that use a parcel shipping system don’t need to be told how important it is. After all, a parcel shipping system is the gateway to getting products into customers’ hands – managing mission-critical fulfillment processes from carrier selection to label printing.

However, because it’s so vital to a business, sometimes organizations don’t want to consider the possibility that they’ve outgrown their current parcel shipping solution.  It could be the thought of a “rip and replace” seems daunting.  Or perhaps the warehouse staff feels invested in the current solution. Or there could be uncertainty as to whether a new solution is even warranted… and who wants to go through the exercise of building a business case, fighting for IT resources, and risk upsetting the status quo when they’re not 100% sure new technology is necessary?

The truth is, it can be difficult to take a step back and objectively assess whether it’s time for a new system.  Where do you start? How do you determine the functionality your business needs?  To cloud or not to cloud? (To cloud!).

Luckily, there’s no need to panic.  There are many ways to evaluate the pros and cons of your current shipping landscape and make a decision.  But in case you need a head-start, here are three signs your organization has outgrown its current shipping system and should consider moving to a cloud multi-carrier shipping system:

1. Shipping Delays

Your business can only move at the speed of the slowest-moving piece. And in retail in particular, the slowest piece tends to be operations. If your organization has added products, and marketing is driving sales – perhaps now online – but your shipping teams are caught working overtime to keep up with the growing demand, it may very well be time to implement technology that can adapt more quickly to your business.

And because you can’t hire more humans to work through every problem — especially if you’re expecting to make a profit – scaling your business will likely mean implementing technology with an invest-to-grow mindset.  This means senior management and IT staff have to invest in technology that serves not just the business today, but the business they want to become, and the process will require stakeholders to:

  1. Painstakingly identify disconnected systems, islands of data, and the spreadsheets that inevitably flourish in fast growing companies, and
  2. Create a plan to replace them with a single multi-carrier parcel shipping solution that integrates with other systems and is designed to support high growth.

2. Reporting Headaches

As your company grows, product orders, markets, carrier services – and the data associated with each – also grow, not just in volume but in complexity as well. If your stakeholders are constantly making decisions based on an incomplete picture of your shipping operations, or they lack agility because data gathering and reporting is time consuming, then sub-par supply chain performance (complete with financial repercussions) can occur.

For example, can your shipping system quickly identify an incorrect shipping address?  And how many times do you incur the same “incorrect address” penalty from the carrier while your stakeholders wait on reports to uncover this error?

Another question to ask: do you understand how your minimum revenue per package aligns against zone-based discounting to uncover at what point your discounts apply compared with the minimum?  How many savings opportunities are you missing without this information?

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shipping

And if you really want to up the ante: can your shipping system simulate your transportation spend if you implement ship from store or open a new distribution center?  What is the impact of this change?  How long do you have to wait until you have the answer?  And what are the risks of negotiating with your carriers without this data?

According to the Aberdeen Group, data accuracy and timeliness directly impact decision quality, and therefore thoughtful companies prioritize initiatives that reduce time to information, create a single source of truth, and empower business operations with high-quality data that drives toward KPIs.  Rapidly scaling small and midsize businesses can improve reporting and increase shipping visibility by replacing multiple carrier systems, spreadsheets, and data reconciliation with a cloud, integrated multi-carrier parcel shipping solution that provides real-time access to accurate data and Business Intelligence.

Specifically, a Business Intelligence platform will understand how components such as distance, speed to delivery, density, and package size affect spend within the transportation carrier landscape, visualize how and where changes are planning to (or should) occur, and retain this information as a “profile” that allows you, the shipper, to negotiate with your carriers. For instance, if you are implementing changes in fulfillment to increase ship-from-store or locate a new DC, understanding how these changes impact zone and carrier service-level downgrade options are critical. Additionally, planned shifts towards more frequent, smaller-weight shipments would naturally draw carrier negotiations towards lower weight bands and minimum revenue per package.

3. Integration Hassles

Another sign you’ve outgrown your current shipping system is that your supply chain systems are disconnected, forcing you to align data from multiple sources (see “Reporting Headaches” above). If your company is running different carrier systems in different areas of operation, you may be spending too much time troubleshooting and maintaining integration points – and not enough looking for opportunities to decrease transportation spend and improve customer service. More than one half of the small and midsize companies participating in an independent Forrester Research survey reported the “ability to integrate with other systems” as a very important criterion when evaluating technology.  Forrester also cited “improving integration between applications” as one of the top four business goals of IT departments.

The right multi-carrier shipping system will maintain hundreds, if not thousands, of global carrier service integrations as well as integrate with your business-critical applications, such as an ERP or WMS, to handle all key business activities from labeling, to track-n-trace, to invoicing, and ultimately to data analytics and reporting – eliminating complexity and expense from your shipping ecosystem.  And with fewer integration points, a company can focus on systematic reviews of shipping processes, identifying and prioritizing opportunities to optimize savings.

Cloud-Based Systems Offer Scalability

Businesses with a growth mindset need shipping technology that can support the company as shipping volumes and complexity increase, and a cloud multi-carrier shipping system enables a high-growth business to quickly seize opportunities and react to threats without navigating manual processes or extracting data from clumsy systems.

Cloud multi-carrier shipping systems offer scalability, agility, and low total cost of ownership, rescuing companies from large IT overheads and empowering them to handle growth on their own terms by leveraging flexible technology that will scale with them.

Furthermore, by implementing cloud technology that can operate globally and automate manual, time-consuming processes such as cross-border documentation or parcel delivery track-n-trace, major obstacles to international market expansion can be eliminated.

Leverage your Data for Growth

Investing in  a cloud multi-carrier shipping system and integrating it with your other business-critical applications will make a small business agile enough to compete with larger competitors and achieve continuous growth.

And for small and enterprise shippers alike, a cloud multi-carrier shipping system provides full oversight of shipping operations and delivers 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, robust reporting 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.

Obey the Signs

According to Bryn Heimbeck, cofounder and CEO of Trade Tech, “There is no other industry in the world that will be impacted as much by cloud-based technology as global transportation and distribution.” If you’re seeing one of the telltale signs that you’ve outgrown you’re current shipping system, contact us to learn what a new cloud multi-carrier shipping system can do for your business.

 

How a TMS Future Proofs your Organization: Hugues Bouard Shares Insights on Logistics Manager

Today, logistics operations are undergoing constant transformation, from increasing demands for same-day delivery… to cross-border shipping complications on the heels of Brexit… to sudden inventory movements resulting from the coronavirus outbreakLogistics Manager recently investigated the role a Transportation Management System (TMS) can play in this fluctuating environment, and in particular in supply chains experiencing ongoing growth of e-commerce parcel shipment volumes. In the overview, Hugues Bouard, vice-president of EMEA sales at Logistyx Technologies, provides input on how the integration of a TMS with enterprise applications empowers organizations to deal with these changing demands – both now and in the future – and how an organization can successfully integrate a TMS with enterprise technology applications to scale operations quickly and maintain supply chain performance.

Read the full article on Logistics Manager.

Retailers Vaccinate Supply Chains Against Coronavirus

Parcel shipping technology helping retailers cost-effectively shift supply chain inventory

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, many retailers have closed stores and factories in China, disrupting their supply chains – on top of transportation restrictions already limiting travel to and from the country. Supply Chain Dive details how Gucci’s parent company and Logistyx client Kering recently closed 50 percent of its store network in mainland China and is leveraging Logistyx to reallocate its inventory in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the virus. Other brands like Apple, Ralph Lauren and Starbucks are following suit by closing retail operations in China.

However, as Supply Chain Dive points out, retailers will have to determine the best way(s) to move inventory out of China to stores in other regions, which could prove increasingly difficult as demand for various modes of transportation grow and cargo capacity becomes more limited.

Many retailers’ supply chains are already starting to feel the strain of mandated quarantines and store closings from the coronavirus outbreak. While many brands build a buffer inventory into their supply chains, now’s the time to initiate a contingency plan for redirecting inventory to retail stores in other regions to diminish any further fallout.

So how can brands move inventory quickly at the least expensive cost? By staying nimble, and a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping can help. A TMS for parcel shipping enables retailers to quickly scale their shipping operations while keeping costs in check by automating processes to easily measure actual transportation costs and identify opportunities to deploy optimal parcel delivery strategies.

TMS for parcel shipping solutions offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model and advanced features that enable retailers to be more agile and make rapid, cost-effective inventory shifts. Logistyx’s TMS for parcel shipping empowers retailers to automatically incorporate best practices for parcel transportation management, including:

Parcel consolidation

For retailers needing to shift inventory and ship large amounts of orders to various regions of the world, there’s no need to pay the highest price for every parcel. Parcel consolidation can help keep parcel shipping spend in check. Once retailers move large quantities of product from China to other countries, smaller parcels will ship to different stores to achieve the right inventory mix across the retailer’s global footprint. Retailers utilizing a TMS can save on shipping costs by consolidating parcel shipments and finding the best rate across carriers for any destination.

Mode shopping

With airlines increasingly cancelling flights in and out of China, retailers are left to consider other modes of transport. A TMS for parcel shipping allows retailers to uncover the ideal shipping method to achieve the best value for each shipment and parcel. Leveraging various carrier-compliant routing tools for parcel, less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL) and regional parcel carriers enables retailers to shop for the optimal mode of parcel transportation.

Tapping into a broad network of global carriers

An expanded global carrier network provides scalability with the ability to compare rates between carriers and the individual services they offer, giving retailers the best value for every destination, delivery time and product.

Cross-border compliance

Moving goods from closed stores in China undoubtedly means retailers will be making international shipments in high volumes, so to rapidly make these inventory shifts, they’ll need to ensure they have a solution provider that guarantees cross-border compliance. A TMS for parcel shipping can help retailers automatically generate accurate and complete labeling and documentation for every shipment to avoid lulls in delivery or unexpected delays at customs, saving time and money.

To discover how Logistyx can cost-effectively help brands manage unexpected inventory reallocation and scale shipping volumes, contact us today.

How You Can Use Predictive Analytics to Reduce Parcel Shipping Costs

Predictive analytics has fast become a staple of every industry, and it’s no great surprise. The concept of using data to make better decisions holds water across business types; naturally, it applies to logistics, too. And if done right, your company can use predictive analytics to reduce parcel shipping costs. We’ll examine how, but first, let’s set the stage.

The Necessary Data for Predictive Analytics in Parcel Shipping

If you are beginning your parcel shipping data journey you should consider leveraging what is most readily available. This would include data from three levels of input: shipment level (what was manifested), event/visibility level (track and trace feeds), and invoicing level. More sophisticated organizations will leverage additional data from internal and external sources.

But the truth is, not all data is equally valuable. Therefore, it’s critical organizations understand and add the proper data points into their data structures in order to maximize predictive capabilities around cost savings.

Parcel costs include four key components or variables:

  • Distance
  • Speed to delivery
  • Density
  • Package size

A Business Intelligence platform will understand how these components affect spend within the transportation carrier landscape, visualize how and where changes are planning to (or should) occur, and retain this information as a “profile” that allows you, the shipper, to negotiate with carriers. For instance, if you are implementing changes in fulfillment to increase ship-from-store or locate a new DC, understanding how these changes impact zone and carrier service-level downgrade options are critical. Additionally, planned shifts towards more frequent, smaller-weight shipments would naturally draw negotiations towards lower weight bands and minimum revenue per package.

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shippingWithout predictive analytics, you’re planning under the assumption the past will repeat itself, instead of building a data vision and creating a model for the future. You’re leveraging the “what was” in planning, even though your profile characteristics may have changed slightly. And those slight changes can have huge impacts on spend…

Bottom line: If you’re not using predictive analytics, you’re placing your company at a competitive disadvantage. Let’s take a look at three key areas where you could be losing — or, with a positive spin, three clear ways in which predictive analytics can help reduce parcel shipping costs.

1. Rate Scenario Analyses

As data availability and data usage increases, so too does demand for simulation analysis.

  • What is the impact of a proposed carrier rate change on spend?
  • What are the available transportation savings with newly proposed carrier options?
  • How will ship-from-store or new DC placement affect spend?

With proper BI tools and an accurate shipping model (profile), you can extrapolate transportation spend impacts across significant data sets. And when you rate or cost your plan against the available contract options, your negotiations/budgets begin to take shape. To do so successfully, level of detail is critical. Like many things, the devil is in the details. Consideration towards use of accessories, fuel surcharges, and dimensional and core fees from each origin to destination are required; all must be calculated, normalized, and segregated across various carrier options.

Once the rate simulation is complete, you need to visualize the spend impacts across variables such as weight breaks, zones, regions, service levels, etc. This visualization will allow you to easily identify areas ripe for further negotiation. And if your data profile uses predictive analytics, you can meet the negotiation challenge head on — because most carriers will have this information, too — and you don’t want to start on your back foot when it comes to negotiations. Lastly, simulations with proposed future DC placements or ship-from-store deployment impacts can have huge effects on use of carrier services.  A rate scenario analysis paints the picture and empowers you to make cost-savvy supply chain decisions that align with your business strategy.

2. Real-Time Responses

Failures in the delivery process can be expensive to correct. Customers can be lost forever, if mismanaged. Effective exception management (visibility) with predictive analytics in parcel shipping facilitates a better customer experience and aids in overall supply chain health. But there are hundreds of types of status messages available from carriers, and it can be overwhelming. With a proper system to retrieve, store, interpret, and action the data, you can proactively manage your customer’s delivery experience.

Successful systems will normalize all of the different status messages available across carriers and place them into problem categories (exceptions) that require a call to action. You should be able to visualize and assign the right resources for real-time response and speedy resolution, minimizing customer service failures and reducing overall parcel shipment costs.

Today, customers not only expect a shipper to know when a shipment is held at customs, a delivery attempt is missed, a weather delay occurs, or a shipment is damaged or predicted to arrive late, they also assume the shipper will proactively work to resolve these problems. Aside from managing the problems, your ability to measure carrier impacts and predict the future can allow you to better meet your customer expectations (manpower) and make better carrier network decisions (report cards) that impact exception management, ultimately reducing parcel shipping costs. It also helps in procurement to understand ‘real’ service performance across a multitude of slicers such as carrier service, geography, weight break, and accessory type to create accurate carrier report cards to be used in the next step – procurement activities.

3. Real-Time Procurement

Finally, predictive analytics in logistics can help you reduce costs by making real-time procurement a real-life possibility. Identifying the ideal combination of carriers requires simulation analysis. If all carriers delivered to all regions with all services 100% on time, this would be a simpler exercise. By aligning your customer commitments and carrier performance and rate simulation tools, you can quickly define the best cost options to meet the service-level commitments of your customers.

By understanding where carriers perform well (and not) and leveraging this information within your procurement simulations, you can rapidly evaluate predicted delivery performance and cost impacts, identifying the optimal carrier service combination based on factors such as service, price, capacity, and quality.

Reducing Parcel Shipment Costs with Predictive Analytics: One Simulation at a Time

Predictive analytics isn’t only for the most adept data scientists among us. It’s for every business. But to get to the point where you can capitalize on all of the great data to which you have access, you need a great system, too. If you lack proper insight into your contract history, or struggle with rate simulation and budgeting, then a TMS for parcel shipping with BI and data analytics is right up your supply chain.

Get started with predictive analytics here.

How a Transportation Management System (TMS) for Parcel Shipping Empowers Shippers

A Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping helps manufacturers, retailers, and logistics service providers better manage their parcel shipping execution, uncover inefficiencies, and unlock opportunities to improve customer service.  According to Gartner in the 2019 Market Guide for Multicarrier Parcel Management Solutions (Gartner subscription required) “parcel and last-minute delivery continue to be the fastest-growing shipment segments due to increases in multichannel retail, e-commerce in B2B, and same-day delivery offerings.”  Further, “most companies today operate in reactive execution mode for parcel and are missing great opportunities to optimize and consolidate their parcel shipping as well as shop for more varied rates and/or services.”

As TMS for parcel shipping solutions continue to evolve, offering a SaaS delivery model as well as state-of-the-art features such as Control Tower visibility and Business Intelligence, it stands to reason more shippers will turn to TMS for parcel shipping solutions to quickly scale their shipping operations while keeping costs in check.

Shippers Face Challenges Today

Modern shippers face many challenges, including a rapidly changing distribution landscape.  According to Inbound Logistics, while traditional supply chains included master distributors, retailers, and consumers, modern supply chains have evolved to include all parties: consumers, resellers, liquidators, third-party resellers, and more – worldwide.  Unfortunately, in many organizations, logistics processes weren’t designed to handle such a convoluted network – let alone the surge in e-commerce, an increase in globalization, or the growing need for omnichannel distribution.  A TMS for parcel shipping, therefore, proves its value by enabling shippers to navigate these market dynamics successfully.

The Power of Data

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shippingMost shippers realize a TMS for parcel shipping fuels data-driven decision making. What they may not realize is how substantial the benefits of data-driven decisions are. Data is the “holy grail” of modern transportation, and data-driven processes, ranging from delivery exception management and reporting to rate simulation, can quickly elevate parcel shipping related discussions from the warehouse to the C-suite.  Instead of spending countless hours requesting quotes and comparing rates, relying on dozens of carrier portal logins to track delivery movements, and manually reconciling carrier invoices, TMS for parcel shipping solutions automate and inform these routine tasks.  This enables organizations to quickly and cost-effectively scale operations. The system handles the legwork of parcel shipping management, so users can spend more time optimizing carrier service selection and eliminating errors that result in accessorial fees and surcharges – managing toward KPIs and driving cost savings.

Additional Benefits of a TMS for Parcel Shipping

The use of a TMS for parcel shipping offers additional benefits, including:

Scalability. Most TMS for parcel shipping solutions today include rate shopping, label printing, and delivery tracking for high shipment volumes. However, it’s essential to look for solutions that position your organization to really scale – in terms of market access and/or functionality.  As e-commerce continues to increase, consumers’ same-day delivery expectations grow, and omnichannel distribution strategies become the norm, scalability will be crucial to remaining competitive and overcoming obstacles. Also, look for a TMS for parcel shipping solution that provides flexible delivery models, including SaaS.  SaaS TMS solutions are turnkey technology, allowing you to respond immediately when your needs change without incurring additional (and unplanned) IT budget or requisitioning additional personnel.

Carrier network.  Demand for next-day and same-day delivery continues to increase, as does the complexity of last-mile delivery.  This dynamic means new carrier services could be in play before you know it. Seek TMS for parcel shipping solution providers with a breadth and depth of carrier configuration experience so you can quickly on-board new carriers and compare rates between the individual services they offer. An expanded network of contracted carriers means you get the best value for every destination, delivery date, and product.  In addition, working with more carriers can enable scalability within your network.

Cross-border compliance.  If you’re already shipping internationally in high volumes and at high velocity, or if there’s any chance your organization will expand its footprint across borders, you need a solution provider that guarantees cross-border compliance.  Unexpected delays at customs due to incorrect or incomplete labels and documentation will compromise your on-time delivery and perhaps impact your customer retention.  Therefore, you want a TMS for parcel shipping solution that can automatically identify and provide the appropriate documentation for any shipment.

Transportation spend analytics. A modern TMS for parcel shipping also includes an assortment of automated freight auditing capabilities, such as isolating accessorials to keep them under control. Be sure to find a solution provider that allows your finance and management teams to easily measure actual transportation costs against budget and report on spend, as well as to run reports that identify opportunities to deploy different multi-carrier parcel delivery strategies that yield greater returns.

Parcel consolidation. Parcel consolidation is critical to keeping parcel shipping spend in check.  If you’re shipping large amounts of orders to the same corner of the world, there’s no need to pay the highest price for every parcel. You can save on shipping costs by identifying a TMS for parcel shipping solution provider that can execute your consolidated parcel shipments and find the best rate across carriers for any destination.

Seamless integrations. Integration between the TMS for parcel shipping and other supply chain systems, including the ERP, WMS, and OMS, reduces the risk of human error, which naturally increases performance. In addition, responsiveness is a critical ingredient in the recipe for business success.  As industries change, organizations must be able to rapidly pivot – whether it’s a new product on the market or changes in customer behavior.  And let’s face it: when it comes to parcel shipping, changes in customer behavior are occurring daily.  Suddenly, customers want their products next day.  Or same day.  Or delivered to a local retailer.  Or delivered to a local parcel locker.  When your parcel shipping technology is integrated to other systems of record, you enhance the flow of products both within and without your facilities, turning operations toward omnichannel success and future proofing your organization against additional changes to come.

Integrating systems can also help an organization respond to internal changes. When all business functions take a holistic view of data, decision-makers can identify trends and areas for improvement. These can then be addressed proactively, rather than when problems occur.

Put a TMS for Parcel Shipping to Work in your Supply Chain

Without a TMS for parcel shipping, shippers are ill-equipped to handle the changing demands of customers and the expansion of the global supply chain.  To learn more about how a TMS for parcel shipping can empower your organization to scale shipping volumes, enter new markets, and implement new distribution channels, download our e-book:  Do Nothing to Create Shipping Efficiencies, and Cost of Delivery Will Increase.

Logistyx Recognized as Representative Vendor by Gartner

Logistyx Technologies was recognized for the second time by Gartner in the 2019 Market Guide for Multicarrier Parcel Management Solutions (Gartner subscription required). We believe this serves as a validation of our SaaS-based Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping and our highly valued global carrier services network and Business Intelligence capabilities.

According to the report, “although multicarrier parcel management is mature in some retail and distribution environments, many companies have large parcel operations in other areas of their businesses, or they are not traditional shippers but have a large parcel shipping need.”

In addition, “parcel and last-minute delivery continue to be the fastest-growing shipment segments due to increases in multichannel retail, e-commerce in B2B, and same-day delivery offerings.” Further, “most companies today operate in reactive execution mode for parcel and are missing great opportunities to optimize and consolidate their parcel shipping as well as shop for more varied rates and/or services.”

Translation: the debut of our innovative TMS for parcel shipping, TME, is intersecting with a significant need in the marketplace.

get the checklist: choose the right tms for parcel shippingWith Logistyx TME, shippers  leverage a SaaS-based solution to achieve on-time delivery while significantly reducing transportation costs.  Our expertise includes 8,500 carrier service configurations, thereby equipping Logistyx customers to leverage rate shopping and simulation tools across their contracted carrier network – no matter how vast or global in nature – to determine the ideal combination of carrier services in real time, based on factors such as price, capacity, service requirements, and performance.  Control tower visibility and dashboard reporting enable proactive delivery event management and carrier performance monitoring, and advanced freight audit capabilities allow companies to verify invoice accuracy before issuing payment and find potential savings.

Logistyx customers report an average 25% savings on parcel shipping spend while successfully meeting delivery commitments, and time to value on the parcel shipping system itself is often six months or less.

Discover how you can leverage these services and ship around the world – faster, smarter, and for less.

 

Gartner “Market Guide for Multicarrier Parcel Management Solutions,” Bart De Muynck, et al, 25 July 2019

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

Aimee Tierney Shares Holiday Fulfillment Tips for Retailers with EPSNews

As sales (and shipping) volume rise within the peak holiday shopping season, so do the stakes. Retailers need to be attentive to the potentially heightened expectations and challenges that come with transporting high-value products this time of year. Deliveries need to be on-time to keep customers happy, particularly as consumers increasingly demand same-day or next day delivery and expectations include special holiday offers and discounts.

headshot of Aimee Tierney VP Sales Logistyx
Aimee Tierney, Vice President of Sales, Logistyx Technologies

For those fulfillment teams shipping next-day deliveries via overnight carrier services, they’re almost certainly overpaying and adding to their cost of distribution. This is especially true during the holidays when consumers’ love of buying electronics and other tech products goes into hyperdrive.

In a recent article for EPSNews, Logistyx Technologies Vice President of Sales Aimee Tierney shares some essential holiday fulfillment tips to help retailers boost service and cut costs – no magic sleigh required! Aimee provides insights on selecting the most appropriate carrier for each order, addressing the impact of accessorial charges, and making parcel delivery more transparent.

Read Aimee’s full article on EPSNews: “Fulfillment Tips for the Holidays – Boost Service & Cut Costs

SaaS vs. Hosted vs. Hybrid: Which TMS for Parcel Shipping is Right for You?

Not every TMS for parcel shipping out there, several of which are objectively great, is ideal for your company.  After all, your business has a strategy, infrastructure, and budget specific to you, and this landscape might be very different than even your best competitors.  Finding the best solution – and the best delivery model for it – comes down to clarifying your needs and articulating what you’re looking to achieve with a TMS for parcel shipping.  Only then will you be able to determine which TMS – and which delivery model, SaaS, hosted, or hybrid – can improve your specific shipping environment.

Three Basic TMS Delivery Models

There are a few different delivery models for TMS for parcel shipping solutions: software as a service (SaaS), hosted, and hybrid. Each delivery model has its advantages and disadvantages, and the ideal delivery model for your shipping environment depends on a variety of factors.

Software as a Service (SaaS) TMS for Parcel Shipping

A SaaS, or cloud-based TMS, is a parcel shipping solution that is accessible to users via the internet and is managed by a third-party vendor. Rather than installing and hosting the software locally on your servers, you basically “lease” it on a fee basis.

A SaaS delivery model improves scalability, accessibility, and security – seamlessly connecting people, processes, and third parties to your 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 in a single solution – improving reaction time, collaboration, and decision-making accuracy.

And since the solution provider hosts and maintains the SaaS TMS solution, the software doesn’t monopolize space on your servers or consume your IT resources. The solution provider is responsible for all upgrades, repairs, and support, which means the solution deploys faster and enables you to realize a return on investment quickly — without the hit of an initial investment and with the benefit of accelerated implementation and integration processes.

Also important to note: an additional benefit of a SaaS model is security. A reputable SaaS TMS for parcel shipping vendor will potentially provide more robust data security than you could yourself – particularly if you lack deep IT resources, staff, controls, or expertise.

All told, however, this does mean the solution provider ultimately “holds the reigns” for the tools, technology, and user experience.  As you evaluate solution providers, make sure they’re transparent about their product roadmap (and willing to seek client input into it) and/or are willing to customize the solution for clients with unique features and functionality needs.

Hosted TMS for Parcel Shipping

get the ebook: critical capabilities of a tms for parcel shippingA hosted, or on-premise, TMS delivery model is exactly that – the solution is hosted on your premises (aka your servers). This means the system is reliant on your network and your IT resources. While this can mean faster LAN speed and file access, it also means you need the right infrastructure in place to manage your system’s security, maintenance, IT, upgrades, and support.  Many companies find that as they scale (think e-commerce), they quickly become underwater.

For those businesses in highly regulated industries, however, the decision might already be made for them as to whether to house their applications on premise.  And in general, on-premise systems are much easier to modify.  As a result, many organizations, especially in niche industries with unique shipping processes, prioritize the ability to customize the solution to their specific needs and requirements and implement an on-premise solution.

Hybrid TMS for Parcel Shipping

A hybrid TMS for parcel shipping combines both SaaS and hosted solutions. From the user’s perspective, there’s only one TMS for parcel shipping system in place, but a peek at “the plumbing” will reveal both cloud-based and on-premise servers at work.

A hybrid TMS for parcel shipping solution is ideal for organizations that want control over where their data is stored but realize the benefits of global accessibility. For example, you might store sensitive customer data on your private cloud and use a public cloud to manage the rest of your shipping operations.

Why a SaaS-Based TMS for Parcel Shipping Solution May Be Best 

Today, most organizations prefer a SaaS-based TMS for parcel shipping solution over their hosted or hybrid counterparts.  In fact, according to Gartner, global SaaS revenues could hit $113.1 billion by 2021, a 30% increase from 2019. The reason for SaaS’s rise in popularity? Companies are attracted to SaaS’s fast implementation times, minimal support requirements, accessibility, scalability, and cost.

Implementation Time

A SaaS TMS for parcel shipping solution enjoys a significantly faster implementation time than that of a hosted or hybrid solution.  Essentially, it’s ready from the moment the contract is signed.  SaaS solutions can be deployed in as little as a few weeks, whereas a hosted or hybrid solution can take months. And because SaaS TMS solutions are cloud based, they’re more time-efficient when it comes to sharing and managing shipping data on an ongoing basis.  This means you receive a double benefit: time savings upfront and time savings over the long-term.

Support

If you don’t implement a SaaS TMS for parcel shipping, your IT team will be responsible for fixing bugs, deploying upgrades, and identifying ways to optimize your technology. This is expensive, and it will consume a significant amount of resources in the form of time and labor. In addition, your needs will compete for IT resources against other priorities within your organization, and if you’re on the losing end of that battle, your performance will be sub-optimal – perhaps for lengthy periods of time.  Alternately, a SaaS TMS for parcel shipping will have a Professional Services team in place to maintain and optimize your system and help your business evolve.

Accessibility

A SaaS-based TMS for parcel shipping only requires internet access.  There’s no need for users to use a VPN or to be on the office network. This kind of flexibility enables everyone from shipping teams to customer service representatives worldwide to have 24/7 access to your shipping operations. And in a dynamic shipping environment, access results in on-time deliveries.

Scalability

Before implementing a TMS for parcel shipping solution, you need to think long-term and consider how it will scale as your organization grows. If you anticipate that shipping volumes will increase, for example, or that the number of carriers in your network will grow, you need to understand how your solution – and your resources – will manage.  SaaS TMS solutions are turnkey technology, allowing you to respond immediately when your needs change without incurring additional (and unplanned) IT budget or requisitioning additional personnel.

Cost

One of the main advantages offered by SaaS is the financial savings companies can realize.  In fact, for many organizations, a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) is the primary and most attractive benefit of a SaaS-based TMS for parcel shipping, since companies save on human resources to service the application and on overall operating expenses (OPEX).

See Whether a SaaS TMS for Parcel Shipping is Right for You

Your unique business needs will determine whether a SaaS, hosted, or hybrid TMS for parcel shipping solution is right for you. If implementation time, support, accessibility, scalability, and cost are priorities for your organization, a SaaS TMS might be the ticket to improving your parcel shipping operations and generating a quick ROI on the solution.

To learn how to choose the right TMS for parcel solution to meet your business needs, download this checklist.

New Case Study: Master Lock and Open Sky Deploy Logistyx with Blue Yonder

Cost savings. More efficient WMS upgrades. Improved decision-making and customer service. These are just a few of the benefits Open Sky helped Master Lock realize, choosing Logistyx Technologies’ Transportation Management Execution (TME) multi-carrier parcel shipping solution and retrofitting Blue Yonder’s parcel-handling integrator to work with Master Lock’s version of JDA Warehouse Management.

The custom integration allows Master Lock to ship to Canada without using a separate system and prepares the company for its future WMS upgrade. The solution went live smoothly and handles volume very well.

With Open Sky and Logistyx, Master Lock disproved the notion that major WMS upgrades must precede the shift to efficient, automated parcel shipments. With rate shopping and other sophisticated parcel shipping capabilities, Open Sky’s custom integration helps Master Lock enjoy the benefits of Logistyx Technologies’ TME right away, while setting the stage for smooth and uninterrupted WMS upgrades going forward.

Read more about this custom integration and the results of the effort in our latest case study: Master Lock Cracks the Code with the Logistyx TME Parcel Shipping System Integrated with Blue Yonder Warehouse Management.