Choosing a parcel shipping solution requires careful consideration of today’s needs and tomorrow’s goals. In this 3 Minute Explainer we look at the questions to ask when evaluating parcel shipping solutions for enterprises.
Parcel shipping is growing at an exponential rate. More than 100 billion parcels were shipped in 2019, but Forecasts suggest that more than 200 billion parcels will be shipped by 2026.
E-commerce has dramatically changed a variety of industries. These days, it is not just consumers buying retail goods online, but businesses too. More companies are sending more small packages, to more destinations, than ever before.
There are a number of different technological solutions that can help businesses simplify and streamline their parcel shipping operations. However, choosing the right solution is critical.
To the average person, parcel shipping means printing shipping labels, sticking them on boxes, and sending the boxes out the door. Logistics managers know that it is significantly more complicated than that.
In order to optimize parcel shipping, companies must research carrier rates, routes, and service levels. They need real-time data to track shipments and alerts if a package is likely to miss its delivery deadline.
It is possible to use manual processes or carrier-provided systems to handle parcel shipping. However, rate shopping and carrier selection is time-consuming and labor-intensive. As parcel volumes grow, this can quickly become unmanageable.
In order to evaluate parcel shipping solutions, ask yourself the following questions:
What kind of carrier network is available?
Will you need shipping options such as specialist or regional carriers?
Does the solution support consolidations?
Can the solution support automated, multi carrier parcel routing?
Is there a way of identifying delivery problems so that logistic staff can take proactive measures to resolve this?
What kind of tracking and chain of custody controls are available?
It is not practical for high volume shippers to manually research carrier rates for every parcel. As a result, many organizations use a single carrier to handle all of their shipments. This has the benefit of allowing enterprises to negotiate volume discounts.
However, using a single carrier does not mean that your company is getting the absolute best rate for every shipment. Multi carrier parcel shipping solutions help reduce costs. The solution routes your parcels to the lowest cost carrier and service level that can meet the promised delivery date.
You’ll need the answer to these questions:
What carriers and services are available?
What modes of transportation are supported?
Does the solution support both outbound and inbound logistics?
Does the solution automate carrier invoice auditing?
You could purchase a solution that suits your needs today. But how will those needs change in three, five or ten years? If your growth plans include expansion into new markets, your shipping solution must be able to support that.
Cross-border shipments are more complex than domestic ones, by orders of magnitude. Shippers will need to prepare customs documentation, understand tariffs, screen shipments and customers against government lists, and ensure all required licenses and permits are in place.
These are the key questions to ask:
Do we need access to new carriers in new markets?
What kind of export management tools are available for international shipping?
Will you have access to accurate trade compliance content, including government denied party lists, tariff books and so forth?
Will the solution be able to handle very high volumes?
Can the solution support multiple languages and currencies?
How will the solution support international returns and customer service?
Will we need 24/7, follow-the-sun support?
When choosing a solution you should not only consider your current requirements, but consider future needs as much as is possible. The best parcel shipping solution will offer scalability and flexibility that aligns with your own business goals.
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