Parcel Forum ’17 wrapped up this week. I like going to Parcel Forum because it allows us to focus on the issues facing parcel shippers today. For instance, it seems that every year UPS and FedEx are introducing a new pricing rule. This year it’s the peak season surcharge that will start around Thanksgiving and end at Christmas. These rules can potentially cost a shipper a lot of money if they aren’t aware of it, especially during a busy shipping season.

Diagnose the Real Cause of Higher Shipping Rates

We help our customers navigate these types of issues through our collaborative consulting and advanced software like Intelligent Invoice Management’ (IIM). By having IIM collect data from the order, track & trace, shipment and carrier invoice, the shipper no longer needs to guess but can diagnose the real cause for their higher shipping rates. Then using the data and collaborating with RateLinx, the shipper can develop some strategies to overcome the issue. ShipLinx TMS allows the shipper to deploy the strategy very quickly and easily.

Automating the Parcel versus LTL Decision

Another common issue facing parcel shippers is the choice between parcel and LTL. The difference between parcel and LTL is the size and weight of the shipment. Typically, the bigger the shipment, the more likely it will go LTL. While this should be a simple choice when this process is manual there is the potential for mistakes which can be unnecessarily expensive. ShipLinx can help automate this decision based on your real rates.

I was visiting a customer a few weeks ago and we were talking about the banding of packages that they do (taking multiple small packages and banding them together into one larger package) in order to save money on small parcel shipping. They wanted to make sure that it was still cost-effective to do it, so we pulled some invoice history and noticed that they were paying about $10,000 per week in large package charges with their small parcel carrier. The customer thought that they were overpaying by about $500,000 per year by banding packages together and were going to stop the practice. But before they did that, we looked at the total cost of the shipments and found that the total cost was still less than the LTL minimum charge. The customer at first thought that the system was broken because of the $10,000 per week in large package charges, but because of the automation, when we dug into it the system was correct and the lowest cost was being selected for the shipments.

Why Not Automate?

In our conversations with shippers at Parcel Forum and elsewhere, we constantly see the savings from automating tactical shipping decisions. The example above is a perfect example of our ‘why not automate’ philosophy. I always look at the tasks that a user is doing and the decisions they are making repetitively. What I find is that there are very few truly strategic decisions being made; they are mostly tactical. These tasks are perfect for automation, which is why shippers buy software in the first place. ShipLinx can ensure that you don’t need to make gut decisions and inadvertently overpay. Instead, you can make data-informed choices.

We had some very productive conversations with shippers this week about finding shipping solutions for this year’s end and beyond. If you would like to learn how our automation can benefit your freight management, contact me and we can set up a call. We’ll listen carefully and ask the right questions so you can solve your most pressing logistics problems.