When I was implementing freight and transportation management systems myself, I remember, on a few occasions, having to set up the UPS, FedEx or DHL expedited service to work with our TMS. Typically, it was for a laboratory or chemical company that had to send supplies to a local hospital or university. The same-day need was due to a scientist or lab running out of something that they needed to continue with their tests or experiments. Now, I’ll hear folks in the office complaining about having to wait until tomorrow to receive a product that they ordered or a gift that they forgot to buy last week. The experience shippers are having in their personal lives is influencing their expectations at work. This is causing more of the shipper’s customers to want their products faster and the cost of this expedited service is typically absorbed by the shipper.

Expedited or same-day small parcel shipping has been around for years, and offered by most major delivery services. There are many ways to expedite a shipment and for shippers the choices can be overwhelming. UPS (Express Critical), FedEx (SameDay), and DHL (Same Day) have had their same-day delivery services for years. Now you have the U.S. Postal Service version (Metro) and Amazon’s Flex and Prime Now services to meet consumer expectations.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Expedited Freight Systems in 2016

Almost all carriers offer a guaranteed service or an expedited service. This is a great revenue stream for the carriers. I talked with a company that makes specialized medical devices and I was told that it didn’t matter that the freight cost $1,000 to move from Dallas to Houston in less than a day, because the item being shipped was worth over $200,000. What we’ll see is companies beginning to weed out carriers who demonstrate substandard performance. When shipping high-value items that are urgently needed, it isn’t the cost that will make a shipper replace a carrier, it will be the missed delivery date. Only carriers that can deliver this service reliably will thrive in offering the expedited freight option.

To be successful in expedited shipping, carriers have to have visibility to the freight they have to deliver as soon as possible in order to accurately manage their transit time. Due to the amount of automation that these companies have built around knowing what they have to pick-up and deliver each day, it’s not a coincidence that UPS and FedEx have the most reliable transit times. This is why, when you get away from small parcel where 99% of the shipments are tendered electronically, reliability in delivery times drops off significantly. In other modes of freight, less than 20% of shipments are tendered electronically and for some modes that percentage is nearly zero.

ShipLinx Helps You Manage Small Parcel and Expedited Shipping Freight

There are so many factors, companies and services to consider when managing small parcel or expediting shipping, it can be overwhelming. That’s why we offer our ShipLinx TMS, an integrated, intelligent transportation management system that can help you get the most out of your supply chain.

ShipLinx TMS can help shippers manage the different service requirements that their customers have. ShipLinx TMS is one of the only TMS packages that supports small parcel natively. This allows the shipper to use any of the expedited services offered in the market today. The integration capabilities of ShipLinx TMS allows the shipper to electronically transmit the bill of lading information to a non-small parcel carrier. This not only lowers the carrier’s cost, but it also ensures the on-time delivery of their shipment by providing the shipment data as soon as possible to the carrier.

This multi-carrier and multi-modal support allows a shipper to utilize a world-class system for all of its freight. Then, by leveraging the Intelligent Invoice Management service which is part of the RateLinx Enterprise Suite, the freight invoice data is combined with the ShipLinx TMS data to provide visibility through the Dashboard to any exceptions to the on-time delivery that may occur. This combined dataset can also be used by the RateLinx Modeling environment to help shippers find the most optimal way to transport their freight while providing the customer experience that they need.

Shipping and logistics is becoming more complex and demanding each year. That’s why you need an integrated software solution that can give you real-time data on every aspect of your freight. If you’d like to know how RateLinx can help you manage your expedited shipping needs, please contact me.