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Fully Connected Shipping

5 Shipping Software Innovations Only the Cloud Delivers

By Ron Lee, Pacejet CTO/CMO, Co-Founder

Pacejet uses a cloud-based architecture that delivers innovations not previously possible with old, installed-on-your-PC shipping software. If your business ships product across town or across the world, consider how these improvements might reduce your costs while helping you deliver better customer service.

More Accurate Shipment Pricing

Pacejet is better and more accurate at shipment pricing because it gets your negotiated rates directly from carriers in real-time instead of trying to do the math with locally installed tables of data and proprietary pricing calculations. Why should you care? All it takes is a change in contract rates, out of date fuel-surcharge record, or a missed accessorial fee setup for your shipping team to short-bill your customers for thousands of dollars in a few days. Unlike legacy shipping software, Pacejet directly transacts with carrier systems and uses their pricing engines to get quotes and process shipments, so the price you see is the price that will be on the invoice.

Lower Cost of Ownership

For a simple cost and complexity comparison, let's say you want to install a new shipping software solution for your midsize company with 3 shipping warehouses, each operating with 2 shipping stations, 4 customer service reps doing freight quotes, and you use UPS, FedEx, and a couple of Freight-LTL carriers. If you choose legacy shipping software, you'll use a project plan that looks something like this:

  • Buy a central server, buy database software, buy shipping software
  • Install and configure everything on the central server
  • Install software on 18 PC's (3 warehouses with 2 shippers and 4 quoters)
  • Configure printing and scales for each of your multiple PC apps
  • Sort out your ERP integration and setup on the server and PC's
  • Plan your weekly updates for new data, versions, backups

Once you buy everything, get everything installed and configured in all locations, train everybody, and have the system operational, you now have 19 new systems to maintain across 3 physical locations. What could possibly go wrong or cost any extra money or time?

The Pacejet cloud architecture is very different, eliminating the on-premise hardware and software infrastructures. With Pacejet, your project plan looks more like this:

  • Activate your Pacejet subscription, no software or hardware to buy
  • Configure your carriers and users accounts in your one Pacejet account
  • Activate your standard ERP integration in your one Pacejet account
  • Activate cloud printing and scale setup for your shipping users
  • Email Pacejet link to 18 users who save it in browser favorites and login

When you see the contrasting details in project plans, it's clearer why the total cost of ownership for Pacejet can be 4-5x less compared to legacy shipping software. Sure, the savings start because there is no hardware or software to buy upfront. But the bigger picture for "total or long-term" cost of ownership is the vastly reduced complexity and ownership burden of managing software on dozens of PC and server systems across multiple locations.

Better Integration with ERP

Shipping software applications must integrate with ERP software to deliver high levels of automation, eliminate duplicate data entry, ensure easy shipment tracking, manage freight billing to customers, and more. Legacy shipping software solutions often rely on very old batch interfaces like ODBC, require complex on-site installs and configuration, and because every customer install has their own ERP integration setup, it's hard for legacy software vendors to continuously improve, evolve, and upgrade their integration over time.

In contrast, Pacejet cloud shipping software uses a single, central integration configuration for popular ERP systems. There is no complex on-site ODBC or other setup to manage and the Pacejet team can continuously introduce newer and deeper integration transactions as users provide feedback for how to improve their shipping workflows. The result is tighter ERP integration, better user experiences, and a cloud-based path for continuous improvement over time that is simply not available to legacy shipping software solutions.

More Carrier Choices

For shipping software users, carrier choice is all about customer service and cost savings --- the more choices you have, the more you can say yes to customers, and the more shipping services you have available to lower your costs. For legacy shipping software vendors, carrier choice is a major integration challenge since they must upgrade their software, test, and release it and then determine how to work with customers one-by-one to manage their software upgrades.

Pacejet offers greater carrier choice to shipping users because the underlying cloud architecture incorporates innovations that make carrier connectivity simple, scalable, upgradable, and accessible. Carrier connections are managed in a single, cloud-based location rather than in many on-premise software installs and use "plug-ins" that can be easily created, certified with carriers, and activated for shippers. When many users request a new carrier, Pacejet adds the carrier once and can activate it for any users that wants to ship via that carrier. If a single user wants a new carrier, Pacejet can even create a custom plug-in for a specific user.

Another way to think of carrier connectivity is that Pacejet operates a growing and expanding carrier network that all users can leverage to maximize results in their business. This "network effect" is a clear-cut example where cloud technology simply provides a better way to architect a shipping software solution, making it easier to deliver continuous improvements to users.

Better Visibility and Tracking

Having easy, pro-active access to regular shipping metrics is an important way to help monitor and improve cost and service levels. Many legacy shipping software solutions spread data across multiple PC software installs or require users to access desktop PC's to run reports or track shipments. The resulting access difficulties and data fragmentation can discourage users from applying metrics because data is hard to reach or difficult to assemble into one picture.

Again the cloud architecture that powers Pacejet makes visibility and tracking services far easier to manage and delivers universal access to users and managers. All shipping history for all carriers is in one, central, web-accessible system that authorized users can easily view anytime, anywhere. This easy access also allows Pacejet to deliver innovations like our "Weekly Shipper Metrics" email that proactively and automatically emails users and managers with a customized shipping scorecard report each week.

Learn More About Pacejet

Interested in learning more about Pacejet Cloud Shipping solutions and how they might help your business? Visit www.pacejet.com, email us at info@pacejet.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Pacejet.

Topics: Articles

Pacejet loves to uncover shipping trends and truths that help us improve customer operations, save money, and move businesses forward. That's why we believe in the science of shipping—because companies are ever-evolving and data, analytics, and flashes of brilliance can help you get where you want to go.

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