When you think of the benefits of “the cloud,” ease of data storage and access may come to mind. But what about in shipping software? It turns out that “cloud-based” is poised to be the defining strategic feature of shipping software in 2021. In short, cloud-based shipping goes way beyond data storage. It means significant savings in labor and cost — not to mention stress — for businesses looking to fulfill soaring numbers of online orders and quickly ship high volumes through their parcel carrier networks.
Read on to discover the key benefits to consider when switching to an experienced cloud-based shipping software provider to revolutionize operations in 2021 and beyond.
1. Reduced cost & stress on the tech side of business
When thinking of complex shipping workflows, chances are “out of sight out of mind” is something your business needs. In shipping, the cloud-based shipping software providers do the hard work to keep some of the most tedious processes off your plate.
On-premise technology (the opposite of cloud-based) demands people and equipment to keep up with demand. Shippers must have their own physical servers to host the data and IT personnel to troubleshoot and run backups to meet demand and stay secure.
In 2020 and in 2021, your business may have slimmed down IT teams to weather financial shocks. This reality, plus an increase in ecommerce orders may leave you wondering how to ship more with less support.
How the cloud can help
With cloud-based shipping software, your team can simply manage the solution provider, which doesn’t require serious internal resources. The cloud provider companies integrate with your supply chain software and carrier network to do the hard work to host and manage shipping data, execute both outbound and inbound shipping workflows, and track parcel movements. These features keep your day-to-day stress-free knowing customers will get parcels on time without delivery disruptions. A good provider will manage things like:
- Shipping costs, including rating and rate shopping
- Shipping volume, including labeling and documentation
- Shipping communication, including delivery alerts and troubleshooting
- Shipping reports and analytics, including invoice auditing and rate simulations
A cloud model also means growing businesses will spend less money up front to get off the ground, revolutionizing speed to market for both small domestic companies and global e-commerce organizations alike.
2. Scalable, shock-proof capacity
Shipping is a dynamic industry. It needs to weather anticipated and unanticipated shocks — think of peak shipping season around the holidays or global health supply chain challenges during COVID-19.
For on-premise customers running their own servers, there can be serious pressure to stand up new carrier integrations, new shipping workflows, and new distribution centers or warehouses in the face of these shocks or peaks. Beyond IT, it can also be hard to think about the cost, equipment, and personnel necessary to scale an on-premise technology stack to meet rising e-commerce demands.
How the cloud can help
Cloud-based shipping software grants you the magic combination of scale and breadth of capability. The right solution will dynamically manage your growth, so you never feel pain during unexpected events or surges in demand. As you expand into new markets or simply take on peak season, the cloud-based technology can seamlessly scale your volumes from, say, 300,000 to 500,000 parcel shipments per day.
Better cloud-based shipping software means your system doesn’t crash. It also isn’t a partial or seasonal solution designed to only manage peaks or rushes. Its technical capabilities handle parcel shipping from start to finish in any shipping landscape, no matter whether your needs are basic labeling and execution or worldwide omnichannel order fulfillment analytics.
3. Ready for the interconnected future
Another key difficulty of shipping beyond supply chain disruptions? The emphasis on delighting the end customer. Conditioned by large, online providers’ innovative services, modern consumers now have high expectations of their shopping and order fulfillment experience. To meet these expectations, it’s critical for businesses to decrease their lead times by fulfilling orders quickly, working with reliable carriers to maintain on time delivery rates, communicating real time updates on parcel locations, and offering simple returns processes.
How the cloud can help
A better software solution differentiates your business in the market — you can be known for delighting customers by delivering parcels on time and feeding accurate and timely information throughout the delivery journey.
Sophisticated cloud-based systems achieve this via a Control Tower and AI-powered Business Intelligence that empowers you to make better decisions regarding carriers. With a cloud-based Control Tower, you have full visibility into customer deliveries, including a complete picture of what’s happening with each shipment, so you can monitor carrier performance and respond rapidly to any issue or disruption. An advanced Control Tower will even let you create smart exception workflows that enable automatic responses to transportation exception events.
Business Intelligence will then provide trend analysis reports to help with carrier selection and rate negotiations, identifying carrier delivery performance improvements and cost saving opportunities that enable you to gain a competitive advantage.
Take the Next Step
To learn more about the power of cloud-based shipping software, contact us to request a free consultation.