Logistyx Update and Response to COVID-19 Read the Letter

Retailers: Is your Transportation Strategy Ready for Peak Season?

Peak season is always stressful for the retail industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic could create more issues than usual.  Retailers can no longer rely on their usual playbooks, with planning cycles completely upended.  For example, there is currently as much as an eight-month lead time for goods from China, and most companies haven’t placed orders, waiting to see the extent to which the pandemic will subside and economies will stabilize. And even if businesses place orders today, can suppliers fulfill these orders given the disruptions in their own supply chains?

2020 will yield a very different peak season, with retailers firing marketing engines to promote whatever goods they can get their hands on and even re-marketing unsold spring and summer merchandise as the new “it” items for fall and winter.  And will consumers even be willing to shop in-store during peak? Safety and social distancing protocols will remain for the foreseeable future, likely with limits on the number of customers allowed in a store at a given time. It’s conceivable brands will forego big in-store sales to avoid overcrowding and retailers will reduce changing room capacity to enforce social distancing. These shifts in the in-store experience, when combined with anxiety about the virus’s spread, could mean stores of all sizes will experience substantial reductions in foot traffic–and sustained surges in e-commerce orders as a result.

Retailers will have to do their utmost to attract shoppers during this peak season and provide them with a satisfactory buying experience. A key ingredient will be on-time e-commerce order fulfillment, and smart retailers will make sure e-commerce fulfillment operations are scalable and flexible enough to cost-effectively support different order fulfillment processes and satisfy the customer from product discovery to delight.

Retail Planning for Peak Season 2020

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingNow is the right time for retailers to review their transportation strategy and consider the lessons they’re learning during the coronavirus pandemic.  For example, is the transportation strategy flexible? Is it scalable?  Has it met the demands of this unusual environment? Or are changes necessary?

Here are six opportunities for retailers to optimize their transportation strategy to meet 2020’s peak season challenges.

1. Move from Single Carrier Shipping to Multi-Carrier Shipping

Shipping delays are something of an unwelcome holiday tradition.  A cross between fruitcake (apologies to all fans) and crowded airports (perhaps not this year).  While the end goal of any retailer is to deliver products to customers on time, without damage, at minimal cost, and in the most efficient manner possible, the recent spike in e-commerce has also increased customers’ ability to customize their shipping options, enabling them to specify when, where, and how they want their parcels delivered.

One strategy to simplify this complexity during peak season is to leverage multiple carrier services, including local and regional carriers.  This means for retailers using a single carrier for deliveries and returns, it may be time to look at a cloud multi-carrier shipping solution to quickly onboard new carriers and experiment with new delivery modes.

Cloud multi-carrier shipping software applications enable the retailer to quickly onboard new carriers and meet the customer’s shipping requirements from within the retailer’s system.  Cloud multi-carrier shipping software applications automatically determine the carrier that can provide the best rates to a particular region and according to the retailer’s business rules, ensuring every shipment is in compliance with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations.

Importantly, cloud multi-carrier shipping software also ensures retailers have the right mix of carrier services in their transportation strategy from the onset.  The software aggregates and normalizes shipping data across carriers, so retailers know when deliveries moving to a particular region, customer, or via a particular carrier are not meeting service levels. Retailers can hold carriers accountable for failing to meet expectations and wield hard data to back up rate negotiations, and they can consolidate carriers to ensure they get the best possible price.

2. Optimize Returns

How are returns managed? Is the returns process flexible enough to satisfy customers? How much does return shipping cost? Are protocols in place to discourage returns?

The unfortunate reality is online shoppers return up to forty percent of purchases.  But top retailers no longer accept returns as a simple cost of doing business. Instead, the world’s biggest retailers critically examine their returns processes and unlock myriad insights, including:

  • Cost reduction opportunities: Is carrier service selection for returns following the same careful processes put in place for outbound shipments?
  • Identifying weak links in fulfillment: Are the wrong products being shipped? Can these be traced to certain distribution centers, pickers, or procedural problems?
  • Determining and attaching the cost of returns to outbound shipping costs: Many e-commerce businesses expect every e-commerce delivery to be returned, and they build the cost right into their products and services.
  • Identifying which products are most returned: What can be done about this?  When the lion’s share of a brand’s returns originate from the same product or product category, difficult decisions may be warranted.
  • Assessing the impact of fraudulent returns: Luxury brands in particular need processes in place to ensure they never accept counterfeit products as legitimate returns. Even infrequent instances of fraudulent luxury product returns can wreak havoc on organizations, and every effort should be made to determine how often this happens and deter future instances.

3. Increase Visibility

How many customers are lost due to delivery delays?  And what’s the lifetime value of those customers?

A cloud multi-carrier shipping system with Control Tower functionality will sync and normalize all shipment data across carriers and delivery destinations, allowing retailers to manage by exception. Staff are alert to deliveries at risk of delay and as a result, they can proactively resolve issues and communicate with customers if and when a delivery window slips.   If a delay is unavoidable, they can inform the customer and potentially offer to compensate them by dismissing any shipping charges.

Furthermore, with detailed up-to-date visibility into the delivery journey, retailers can also offer customers the flexibility to change their original delivery instructions while the parcel is en route. A customer might be able to delay delivery or re-route the order to a new destination, for example. This flexibility can strengthen the customer relationship and build retailer loyalty.

4. Automate Freight Bill Auditing

Many carrier contracts include a form of financial compensation in case the service level agreement is not met. And yet it’s not uncommon to find discrepancies on carriers’ invoices, especially during the busy holiday season. By closely monitoring the performance of all carriers’ on-time delivery rates and making this data available in one place, a cloud multi-carrier shipping solution with a Control Tower and Business Intelligence allows retailers to easily identify invoice errors and reconcile carrier invoices to control transportation spend.

And the savings don’t stop there.  In addition to the direct cost savings carrier invoice auditing achieves, retailers also benefit from “soft cost” savings, such as the elimination of manual tasks including opening mail, sorting invoices, researching rates, auditing and approving invoices, paying carriers, and assigning a cost accounting code.  By eliminating these soft costs, accounting teams can redirect their resources to more strategic activities.

Furthermore, carrier invoice auditing provides retailers with an overview of invoiced carrier costs versus carrier agreements, enabling them to ensure their carrier procurement is aligned with strategy and verifying they’re receiving the delivery outcomes for which they’ve paid.  The right cloud multi-carrier shipping software will also model and compare selected carrier services against actual carrier performance to find routing alternatives with lower cost implications and/or faster delivery times, and even identify more advanced optimization strategies, such as effective ways to position facilities and inventory around the globe.

5. Consolidate Parcels

Shipping multiple parcels from Chicago to New Orleans? When retailers ship each parcel separately, they incur shipping costs for each. A cloud multi-carrier shipping system will enable “zone skipping” and consolidate parcels, using one carrier to move a consolidated shipment across multiple states, for example, and a local carrier, such as USPS, for the last mile delivery–reducing total shipping spend.  Furthermore, a consolidated cross-border shipment will only require one customs declaration, reducing regulatory hiccups. Final benefit: by using zone skipping, parcels no longer travel to multiple sorting facilities to reach their destination. Instead, shipments to local carriers are faster, which creates quicker deliveries for customers.

6. Improve Cross-Border Shipping

Global shipping is on the up-and-up. The 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper survey reported that while “shop local” is still trending, younger shoppers also buy goods from international sellers, looking to take advantage of price, variety, and the perceived quality of products. Retailers with a domestic-only transportation strategy will have a difficult time quickly expanding their global footprint to take advantage of this market opportunity.

Seamless cross-border shipping starts with the right label.  A cloud multi-carrier shipping solution ensures that every parcel ships with the correct label and documentation, no matter the carrier, destination, or product, making it easier for retailers to expand their global reach.

Find the Right Technology Partner for Retail Peak Season

In times like these, retailers need a partner in the logistics space on whom they can count – one who can help prepare for peak season on a compressed timeframe.  Ready to find that partner? Talk to a Logistyx expert today.

 

How a Cloud TMS for Parcel Shipping Increases Agility

When supply chain disruptions such as the COVID-19 outbreak occur, a cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping is a lifeline to shippers and logistics service providers seeking to rapidly increase their available shipping options. A cloud TMS for parcel shipping provides shippers and logistics service providers with the ability to quickly onboard, leverage, and optimize multiple carrier services–critical functionality when suddenly pivoting to a ship-from-store model, for example, or when pulling local courier services into the transportation mix to maintain on-time delivery rates.  Furthermore, it can provide the data and analytics necessary to understand where logistics performance is sub-par and uncover opportunities to increase performance and savings.  Therefore, it’s paramount supply chain professionals understand the consequences of poor agility in parcel shipping, and the importance of putting the right TMS for parcel shipping in place.

The Costs of Sub-Par Agility in Parcel Shipping

Total supply chain costs are among the most important metrics to track in business. According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, top 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 extra supply chain costs per year.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel Shipping

One of the contributors to a higher spend may be the cost of extinguishing fires that occur within parcel shipping as a result of inefficient and uninformed processes. For example, organizations may have limited capabilities to plan for unforeseen events, poor responsiveness, lackluster visibility into day-to-day operations, and a finite pool of carriers.  Ironically, bottom performers are more likely to have foregone a cloud TMS for parcel shipping in favor of spending money to address these problems. Top performers, on the other hand, recognize that using a cloud TMS for parcel shipping in advance of a supply chain disruption adds value and can increase profits per parcel, regardless of adverse circumstances.

Best Practices to Maximize Agility and Value in a Cloud TMS for Parcel

A cloud TMS for parcel shipping adds value to a supply chain in several ways.  It automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to carrier contracts and business rules; creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents;  monitors delivery events and automates event exception workflows; manages the manifest and end-of-day processes; and analyzes carrier performance.

Shippers and logistics service providers wishing to maximize the value of their TMS for parcel shipping investment should follow these three best practices:

1. Create a large carrier services network.

Comparing carrier service rates can help shippers and logistics service providers achieve fast, cost-effective shipping. The right TMS for parcel solution will enable the shipper or logistics service provider to meet the customer’s shipping requirements from within the TMS for parcel system, and there should be no limit to how many carrier service integrations the system can manage.  The system will automatically determine the carrier that can provide the best rates to a particular region and according to the shipper’s business rules, ensuring every shipment is in compliance with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations. This provides shippers and logistics service providers with the agility to quickly onboard new carriers or carrier services in the event of a supply chain disruption and provide them with the agility they need to accommodate increasing shipping volumes, manage new or unexpected shipment origins and destinations, and meet customer delivery expectations.

2. Leverage a Control Tower.

A Control Tower will provide full visibility into customer deliveries, including a complete picture of what’s happening with each shipment, so shippers and logistics service providers can monitor carrier performance and respond rapidly to any issue or disruption. The system will send early warning signs when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” giving customer service teams the necessary agility to proactively trouble-shoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time.

3. Collect parcel shipping execution data around the clock and automate reporting, information sharing, and performance visualization.

Shipping data accuracy and timeliness directly impact decision quality. Therefore, thoughtful shippers and logistics service providers prioritize initiatives that reduce time to information, create a single source of truth, and empower business operations with high-quality data that increases agility and drives toward KPIs.

Specifically, a Business Intelligence platform in a cloud TMS for parcel 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 the shipper or logistics service provider to negotiate with carriers. For instance, if a shipper is implementing changes in fulfillment to increase ship-from-store, or as many retailers have done during the COVID-19 outbreak, locate a new temporary DC, understanding how these changes impact zone and carrier service-level downgrade options are critical.

Increase Supply Chain Agility with the Right TMS for Parcel Shipping

A TMS for parcel shipping will enable long-term scalability, profitability, and efficiency. And the use of an advanced TMS for parcel shipping will increase agility and transcend supply chain boundaries during a supply chain disruption, providing an additional return on investment.  To learn more about how a TMS for parcel shipping can meet your shipping needs regardless of your shipping environment, watch our expert video.

The Benefits of Moving to a Multi-Carrier Shipping Strategy

E-commerce is enjoying its moment in the sales channel spotlight as a result of COVID-19 and shippers are seeking solutions that enable them to meet customer demand for both essential and non-essential goods. Unfortunately, with Amazon delaying shipments of non-essential goods and limiting the quantity of goods shippers can ship, the task of meeting e-commerce demand and getting products to end-users has never seemed more difficult.

As a result, shippers are looking into new fulfillment methods which can provide flexible and cost-effective solutions to the issue at hand.  One of their key considerations: moving to a multi-carrier distribution strategy to reduce transportation costs, provide a consistent level of service to customers, and meet customer-mandated shipping requirements.

Moving Away from Carrier-Supplied Platforms

In order to begin a multi-carrier strategy, shippers need to move away from carrier-supplied platforms.  There’s no question single-carrier systems are well designed for the carrier they represent.  For example, each carrier insists on applying rigorous, and unique, labeling and electronic communication requirements which make it possible for the carrier to move parcels through its network. Shippers who prefer to ship their parcels with a specific carrier have to meet the carrier’s requirements or suffer the consequences of delivery delays, lost packages, or unexpected surcharges and fees–and the carrier-supplied platform makes this compliance possible.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingBut carrier-supplied platforms make switching between carriers difficult or prohibitive— either because of the contracted volumes to which they’re tied or because of the unwieldiness of managing separate systems for different carriers.  For example, at the employee level, employees have to have the insight to make the best choice about how to get an order to a customer and use the appropriate carrier platform.  Comparing rates and routes is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and shippers using carrier-supplied platforms are likely missing out on the pricing and delivery advantages available with multiple national, regional, and local carrier services, as well as with the USPS.  Furthermore, when dealing with different sets of requirements and multiple staff members using separate terminals, it’s easy for keystroke and human errors to occur, resulting in delivery delays, lost packages, extra costs, or the inability to use particular services.

Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Streamlines Shipping Processes

While the end goal of any shipper is to deliver products to customers on time, without damage, at minimal cost, and in the most efficient manner possible, the recent spike in e-commerce has also increased customers’ ability to customize their shipping options, and businesses must be able to accommodate this delivery personalization.

Multi-carrier shipping software applications like Logistyx enable the shipper to meet the customer’s shipping requirements from within the shipper’s system.  They automatically determine the carrier that can provide the best rates to a particular region and according to the shipper’s business rules, ensuring every shipment is in compliance with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations.

In addition, multi-carrier shipping software enables shippers to easily use “zone skipping” (also known as “hub induction” or “direct injection”) to improve customer service and decrease transportation costs. Zone skipping occurs when multiple customers’ orders are consolidated for the first leg of the delivery journey and then inserted into a parcel carrier network for the last-mile delivery. This is especially beneficial for cross-border shipping because it significantly simplifies end-to-end logistics and decreases customs clearance costs.  The approach also provides greater flexibility since shippers can select local carriers in different countries and regions that have optimal delivery networks for serving their customers.

Importantly, multi-carrier shipping software also ensures shippers have the right mix of carrier services in their transportation strategy from the onset.  The software aggregates and normalizes shipping data across carriers, so shippers know when deliveries moving to a particular region, customer, or via a particular carrier are not meeting service levels. Shippers can hold carriers accountable for failing to meet expectations and wield hard data to back up rate negotiations,  and they can consolidate carriers to ensure they get the best possible price.

On Time Delivery at the Lowest Cost

Multi-carrier shipping solutions simplify 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 environment?  Contact a Logistyx expert to learn more.

Consumers’ Shipping Preferences – Whether Free or Fast, Retailers Must Remain Flexible

As e-commerce grows, consumers’ preferences continue to expand and evolve. The prevalence of online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba have raised the bar on shipping options, with many consumers increasingly expecting free shipping and faster shipping.

In the wake of the COVID-19 global health crisis and subsequent stay-at-home mandates, many consumers have turned to online shopping to buy necessities, creating even greater demand. This unprecedented uptick in online orders even impacted e-commerce giant Amazon, with many deliveries delayed as long as a month on some items.

Flexibility is Key

New call-to-actionWhether during a pandemic or when assessing everyday e-commerce shipping strategies, to help effectively address these challenges, retailers need to offer flexible shipping options to cater to a wide array of online shopping preferences.

Consumers are often willing to compromise on delivery time in exchange for free shipping, for example. According to a global consumer insights study from Radial, only 24% of U.S. shoppers would be willing to pay up to $10 for delivery, while 64% expect free delivery for all their online purchases. Deloitte also found that 85% of shoppers prefer free shipping over fast shipping and, among those consumers, 80% are willing to wait three days or more.

Ultimately, offering fast and flexible shipping services will help retailers maximize the customer experience, foster brand loyalty, and remain competitive.

Defining Fast Shipping

Fast shipping doesn’t always mean deliveries need to arrive next day. Undoubtedly, Amazon has changed the game and shaped consumers’ higher expectations by offering two-day, then next day, and sometimes even same-day shipping. In the last year, big box retailers like Target and Walmart upped the ante by matching one-day shipping capabilities. Still, Radial found that only 35% percent of Americans expect their goods to arrive in two days or less.

While customers want fast deliveries, their expectations are more reasonable when certain orders may take longer than others if they’re offered alternative shipping choices. Considering the general needs of their own customers and catering to the unique needs, location, and preferences of each customer can help retailers ensure success by offering customers the right shipping rates and options.

Carrier Considerations

One of the most effective ways to meet customers’ shipping needs is to explore various carrier service options to determine the best value for each parcel shipment. Comparing carrier rates and services can help retailers provide fast and cost-effective shipping.

In some regions, local delivery companies and couriers may deliver more quickly to customers than the big carriers at very competitive rates. In many cases, the best delivery option is the United States Postal Service (USPS), and retailers should be sure to consider it. USPS is, after all, often the least expensive service for last-mile delivery. Its Priority Mail service delivers most domestic packages in under two days with no hidden fees or surcharges and includes tracking capabilities.

Yet, just when USPS has proven itself essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, its future seems especially tenuous. As Intelligent Audit states, USPS remains an important partner for many e-commerce businesses; if it were to fold, the effects would mean greater strain on other carriers like UPS and FedEx.

Stay Agile to Serve Customer Needs

A Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping empowers retailers to remain flexible to adjust to consumers’ unique shipping preferences while achieving on-time delivery at the optimal cost. Logistyx optimizes carrier service selection – whether shipping domestically using one carrier or shipping worldwide using 100, the right parcel shipping strategy can help retailers excel at providing customers with a quality delivery experience.

Retailers can utilize Logistyx to better understand customers’ delivery preferences by leveraging data to analyze, optimize, and inform shipping strategies. They can also tap into an unmatched multi-carrier network and automatically select carriers to provide fast and affordable deliveries.

As e-commerce continues its rapid growth and platforms like Amazon keep raising shipping expectations, a TMS for parcel shipping can equip retailers with the advanced tools required to compete and effectively fulfill consumers’ evolving shipping preferences.

Learn more about how the Logistyx Parcel TMS can help you achieve efficiencies in e-commerce shipping.

Precious Parcels: Smarter Shipping Preserves Health and Safety Around the Globe

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on people and businesses worldwide, Logistyx remains committed to serving as a trusted advisor to our customers as they adjust their parcel shipping strategies to sustain the health and safety of the global populations they serve. In awe of what’s being done, we think this great work deserves some recognition.

Investigational Coronavirus Treatment Reaches Patients Faster

Leading biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences, has been contributing towards the global effort to fight the pandemic with its investigational drug which is currently being trialed against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingWhat better way to ship a medicine quickly than using Logistyx’s technology? To more promptly move shipments of this investigational medicine past holding at points of entry, Gilead called on Logistyx to add a new medically approved carrier service to its network to fast track the process. After reconfiguring codes within the Logistyx system to print carrier-compliant service labels, Gilead was able to quickly test print and integrate the labels to rapidly increase delivery speed of this medicine from its manufacturing location to medical facilities in need around the globe.

We commend Gilead for shipping swiftly to positively contribute to the fight against COVID-19. While this pandemic is grueling for all businesses, those that successfully reorganize to evolve along with the marketplace can help customers persevere, adapt and ultimately thrive.

To see how your company can efficiently modify shipping strategies to manage the impact of COVID-19 and prepare for its future effects, contact us today.

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.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingOperational 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.