This time of year shippers in many businesses will start dealing with an end of year rush in shipments. Many consumer product companies are getting ready to handle Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the "normal chaos" of the holiday buying season. Other businesses will start managing volume surges for retail seasonal "restocks" which often require heavier use of expensive LTL shipping. Still others find that holiday vacation schedules create staffing gaps that make it tough to keep shipments moving quickly and efficiently out the door. Whatever the reason for your end of year shipping rush, we'd recommend these five ways to make managing the flood a little easier.
Refine Your Shipping Workflows for Better Efficiency
When new users setup Pacejet they often pick a shipping workflow, verify it works for their needs, and then get very comfortable and fast at it. Before the next rush happens, consider how you might refine your shipping workflow to automate steps, simplify data entry, or make other improvements. Maybe using a scan-and-ship process driven off the Pacejet Shipping Workbench would be more efficient than one-by-one order processing activated directly from your ERP. Perhaps your users haven't noticed the global hotkey that can be used to quickly scan-in and process any staged shipment. When you run the same workflow hundreds or thousands of times per day, even small tweaks can make the process faster and easier. See the post and video demo The MOST Efficient Shipping Workflow for some ideas to get started.
Tune-Up The Integration of Shipping With Your ERP
Nearly every Pacejet user implements with one of our standard ERP integration solutions to send data electronically from an ERP out to carriers and back without duplicate data entry. After you've used Pacejet for awhile it can often be very effective to step back, look over your integration setup, and consider some improvements. Are you constantly entering the same types of package details and could benefit from an auto packing setup? Are you always setting a pre-determined or default carrier in orders when you could sometimes use a "Best Way" option that lets your shipping team reduce costs with rate shopping? Are there errors or missing data in your weights, item dimensions, commodity and other setup data that are forcing shippers to manually enter data hundreds of times per day? Making just a few simple integration refinements could help shippers move more quickly, eliminate common errors, and reduce your costs.
Reduce Expensive Shipping Fees and Surcharges
If you look closely at your shipping invoices you'll probably notice that they look a lot like your cell phone bills with lots of extra fees and "little" surcharges that all add up to a surprisingly bigger total cost. The good news is that many shippers find an 80-20 rule applies where a few surcharges like dimensional weights, extended delivery zone, residential delivery, or expedited services are causing most of your "excess costs". Extra shipping fees and surcharges are a huge money-maker for carriers and these fees are often overlooked if your accounting and shipping teams don't "compare notes" often; taking a closer look at surcharges can substantially reduce your shipping costs. For tips on improved reporting see the post and video demo Manage Carriers and Costs with Better Shipping Data.
Consider Carriers With Lower Costs or Faster Service
Many shippers work with the same set of carriers year after year, often because there is a synergistic relationship built on trust and proven service to customers, but sometimes because of simple momentum. If cost or service is becoming a concern to you or if you haven't re-negotiated your contracts in awhile, give some thought to new carrier choices. Although you can easily export shipping history from Pacejet to support a "bid process" with carriers, another alternative you might consider is to just "activate" a new carrier with a new account in Pacejet and "pilot test" them in your quoting or shipping activities. Give the "new guys" a shot, see if their prices really are better, try them out on a few shipments, and let them progressively earn more of your business over time. Read about one example of a cost-saving carrier strategy in the post The Competitive Advantage of Regional Carriers.
Improve Accuracy in Quotes, Shipments, and Billing
Another important way to better manage your end of year shipping rush is to take a fresh look at the accuracy of your quoting, shipping, and billing processes. Are you using real-time Pacejet freight quotes and/or rate-shipping in Orders, Quotes, E-Commerce, Purchasing to accurately quote shipping costs? Are users appropriately including services for lift gate, residential, appointments, or other services so the costs for those services are included in costs AND in billing to customers? Does your shipping process accurately capture the dimensions of physical shipping containers so customers are fully paying for dimensional weights where they apply? Are Freight Terms such as Prepaid, Prepaid and Charge, Third Party Billing, etc... consistently and accurately being used with valid carrier accounts so you aren't absorbing excess charge-backs? A few quick changes to improve accuracy now can result in significant savings as your end of year volume builds.
Contact Us If We Can Help
Need more help with these or other options? Please give our team a call and we'd be happy to discuss some of the latest shipping features in Pacejet, explore workflow alternatives with you, make suggestions on feature use, or just review and discuss your concerns.