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.
But 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.