Banking and financial services firms are among the world’s largest shippers of documents and parcels. It’s little wonder, since the parcel shipping industry actually began with the banking industry’s need to ship money and documents across long distances in the American west.

The banking and financial services industry continues to rely heavily on parcel shipping to do business, but until recently has not had access to technology that could accurately account for the cost of those shipments. That is changing with desktop shipping solutions. Desktop shipping solutions allow banks and financial institutions to accurately track shipping related expenditures, manage shipping spend and reduce costs associated with shipping parcels.

Why do banks and financial institutions need better desktop shipping solutions?

Banks are among the world’s largest parcel shippers

In spite of the growth of digital technologies, the need to ship physical documents to banking and finance customers and between institutions has only grown. Although some documents can now be completed using digital signing technology, the law requires that many important credit contracts, loan documents and other critical financial documents must still be signed on paper, with final, physical copies delivered to all the parties. This generates a lot of paper that needs to be moved.

Financial Institutions struggle to control shipping costs

Parcel shipping continues to play a key role in the financial services industry, but it is a cost center that hasn’t been well controlled until recently. Decision making around shipping parcels might go no farther than setting a blanket policy stating, “We use FedEx” or another trusted carrier, with individual employees left to determine how to best balance the need to reduce cost with the need for fast delivery.

Desktop shipping applications streamline and centralize this process and provide better reporting and analytics for managers across the enterprise. At the user level, employees and branches that need to send shipments are able to easily determine which carrier can provide the best rates for each shipment based on where it needs to go, when it needs to arrive and what rate each shipping vendor might charge. This helps reduce shipping costs.

At the management level, desktop shipping solutions also provide tools for better decision making around reliability, vendor selection and routing. These solutions allow managers to see which vendors have the best history of on time delivery, and can identify routes that are most prone to problems like loss or late delivery.

Customers expect low cost, high reliability

One of the biggest challenges for banks when it comes to parcel shipping is that—thanks to the “Amazonification” of online retail—customers expect shipments to arrive quickly, reliably and at no cost to them. At one time, customers understood that if they wanted a shipment to arrive quickly, they might need to pay extra for that. There was an understanding that shippers weren’t always reliable; sometimes packages would arrive late or not at all.

Today’s customers are no longer willing to tolerate low service levels. Now, retailers and other shippers are competing to provide the fastest, cheapest service to customers. It has become an important element of customer satisfaction.   

Banks may not think of themselves as being in competition with online retailers, but in a sense they are, especially as digital payment technology becomes more advanced. As it is, online retailers like Apple are moving into the digital payments realm, and the industry continues to be challenged by digital payment options like Square and Google Wallet. Banks will need to combat this threat by placing emphasis on customer satisfaction, convenience and value if they want to compete.

Desktop shipping solutions allow banks and financial services institutions to compete on this playing field by delivering better insight into which carriers are able to offer the best pricing and reliability, so that banks can deliver to customers on time, every time. This positively impacts customer satisfaction and retention—the hidden costs of unreliable shipping.

Compliance and security are major concerns

Another important area of concern for banks and financial institutions has to do with regulatory compliance and shipment security. Desktop shipping solutions allow institutions to address these concerns through compliance checks that ensure packages aren’t delivered to denied parties or embargoed countries. Firms can also ensure that packages containing sensitive material are delivered to the appropriate recipient.

Desktop shipping solutions also allow banks and financial institutions to create more accurate and complete documentation and reports for each shipment. This helps to ensure that shipments are not held at border crossings, and that the appropriate documentation needed to track shipments while they are in transit is easily accessible and available to those who need it.

Since the earliest days of parcel shipping, banks have been at the leading edge of package delivery technology but they couldn’t always access the information they needed to make sound decisions around desktop shipping. Today, with Desktop shipping solutions, banks and institutions can benefit from improved insight into shipping carriers and rates to develop and implement better policies across the organization, control costs and deliver better service to customers.