Choosing the Right Shipping Solution

Moving packages efficiently has always been a high priority for banks and financial services firms, which have a mission-critical need to move contracts, agreements and other documents between branches, to customers and to third parties. For a large financial services firm, these types of shipments might cost millions of dollars over the course of a year.  Yet, until recently these firms lacked technology to accurately track, control and manage their parcel shipping requirements.

Parcel shipping software addresses this by providing the tools needed to gather data, and improve how banks move their parcels around the country and around the world. What software selection process should banks and financial institutions follow, and what should they look for in their parcel shipping software?

A Process for Selecting Parcel Shipping Software

Selecting parcel shipping software is like using a map: you need to know where you are starting from and where you want to go; then you can plan the route that will get you where you want to be. It’s the same when you’re selecting software to transform a business process. You need to have a solid understanding of current processes as well as a clear picture of what you want those processes to be in the future, in order to select the right software to enable those processes.

There is a lot to consider when selecting any software that is intended to transform a complex business process like parcel shipping. To deliver the best results, the process for selecting parcel shipping software should include:

Review Current Process – Start with a review of current processes to identify what your organization does well when it comes to parcel shipping, and where there is room for improvement. The larger your organization is, the more likely it is that there isn’t a single clear-cut process for parcel shipping. Some locations may rely mainly on DHL, while others prefer FedEx. Some may overnight shipments while others send mainly by ground. You’ll need to try to get a handle on all of this so that you can determine where you have room to streamline and improve with your parcel shipping software. You may find that you’re spending more on parcel shipping than you first thought, and that the processes are often out of compliance with organizational and regulatory policy.

Determine Desired End State – Now that you know what is happening with your shipping operations, you’ll need to determine what you’d like those processes to look like in the future. What’s the goals for implementing parcel shipping software? What problems do you need to address? Are you looking to reduce costs? Streamline operations? Do you need to get a better handle on your international shipping and bring your organization into compliance with Federal and international regulations?  

Evaluate Your Infrastructure – Implementing any type of software requires infrastructure to support that software, and parcel shipping software is no different. If you’re implementing cloud-based software, you’ll need to ensure you have the bandwidth and connectivity to deliver the solution to all those who will be using it, and you’ll need to determine the number of seats you’re likely to need. Does the software need to be integrated with other systems? How will upgrades and maintenance be handled? One advantage of implementing cloud-based parcel shipping solutions is that the overall technical footprint of the implementation itself is much smaller, and ongoing maintenance is much easier because the vendor manages updates and pushes them out to the users.

Consider Project Planning and Change Management – Any software implementation requires a significant planning effort and parcel shipping is no different. You should develop a rough estimate of the human effort and cost required to implement before making a decision in order to reduce surprises. The preliminary project plan will depend on what type of implementation you’re doing, whether cloud-based or in-house. A cloud-based implementation is usually fairly straightforward, with limited integrations, so that you can have your parcel shipping software ready for roll-out very quickly. A bigger challenge typically exists around change management. The fewer policies and processes you had prior to implementing parcel shipping, the more you’ll need to educate and inform your users about the new system and the benefits it will bring. You should consider these during the selection process, as they may impact your decision.

Identify and Track KPI’s – The success of any software project depends on delivering the business results that were identified for improvement during the selection process. As part of the selection process, you’ll want to develop a matrix of the hoped-for business improvements and use that to compare your options across all the selection criteria. After implementation, these hoped-for improvements can be tracked using KPI’s to demonstrate how well your organization is meeting some of the key business objectives you’ve laid out. These can be used internally to ensure employees are adhering to policies and to demonstrate project success, as well as externally to identify carrier compliance and to demonstrate regulatory compliance.

What to Look For in Parcel Shipping Software

Parcel shipping software can provide many business benefits, but some of the most compelling include:

Transport and Logistics Visibility – Parcel shipping software provides visibility into the cost and efficiency of your parcel shipping operations. For banks and financial institutions, this allows you to control spending and improve performance of shipping operations. Users can easily determine which carriers can move a parcel or batch of parcels to a particular destination at the lowest cost. Managers can determine which carrier offers the best pricing for each shipment or the best on-time delivery performance, or lowest risk of loss or theft, and develop policies that will lower transportation and logistics costs at the branch, corporate and global level.  

Denied Parties Screening – Banks and financial institutions must demonstrate that they aren’t doing business with governments, organizations and individuals that are under US or international  sanctions. This includes those who are connected with terrorism or drug trafficking, and sanctioned governments such as Iran, Syria and many others. Denied Parties Screening ensures that parcels and packages aren’t delivered to anyone whose name appears on these lists.

Trade Compliance and Import Regulations – Every nation has its own import and export requirements; for global banks and financial institutions working internationally, it can be challenging to ensure that every shipment that crosses borders is in compliance with these regulations. Parcel shipping software for banks and financial institutions should help to enable these cross border shipments and reduce the likelihood of loss or delays by monitoring changes to these regulations and lists to ensure that each shipment meets requirements, screening recipients and trading partners to avoid doing business with embargoed entities.

Trade License Compliance – In many countries that are under sanctions, a license is required to do business or engage in trade. Parcel shipping software should help with identifying licensed individuals to ensure that licenses are up to date in those countries where licenses or permits are required.

Documentation and Audit Trail – Parcel shipping software should also help to ensure that products or documents being shipped are in compliance with import regulations for each country, track the shipment to ensure compliance checks are performed, and create a permanent audit trail to demonstrate to Federal and international authorities that the institution has complied with regulations on every transaction.
Selecting a parcel shipping software application is challenging, but worth it when you consider the benefits it can deliver in terms of cost reduction, visibility and regulatory compliance and many others. Banks and financial institutions should consider their current processes, business objectives, and desired results to ensure that they make the right choice.