For many shippers the end of year rush is so filled with activity that it can be hard to find any time at all to do much planning. If that sounds like you, then don’t worry - you are not alone and you we’d suggest you consider doing a quick “five point shipping check-in” to gather some data on last years activities (with a little help from Pacejet) and tee up some actions for the new year. Having some quick numbers on hand will help you field questions from managers and staff and feel a bit readier for planning work when you find the time.
1. Core Shipping Metrics
A quick and easy way to get some basic shipping metrics is to use the Shipping Dashboard in Pacejet. Click the Pacejet icon to reach it, select the “Year” link, and just save a snapshot of what you see. The basic summaries here will give you the overall number of shipments for the year, your distribution by carrier, breakdown between Parcel and LTL, international and domestic, and some basic freight spending numbers.
For more information on the dashboard, you can review the recent Pacejet blog posting and video;
More Visibility and Better Business Decisions with Shipping Dashboards
2. Freight Margin
At some point in planning you’ll want to review your shipping expense details, including cost and price to determine where you may be losing margins based on choices in shipping. As part of a quick check-in, you can run some reports from either your ERP system using data that Pacejet updates with each shipment or Pacejet can assist with some reporting features. If your ERP is NetSuite, then the data provided by Pacejet can be organized into a report as shown below but this is similar with most ERP system reporting functions.
If interested, take a closer look at the earlier Pacejet blog posting and video on the topic of measuring margin and using ERP reporting features with shipping data.
Measure NetSuite Shipping Margins for New Year Planning
3. Carriers and Services
Doing a carrier review is probably not something you can easily find the time for during the busy season or end of year but getting the basics on what carriers, volume, and spending is easy enough that it’s worth having handy. We’d recommend you use the Shipping Dashboard to get the basic volume and price breakdown as a starting point. Next, build out a list of carriers by criteria as a starting point for further due diligence by type, for example:
- Core Carriers = Which carriers are core, must-keep, and why ? (e.g. customer demand)
- Customer Requests = Are we getting pressure to add carriers for certain customers?
- Cost Savers = Are there new parcel or LTL carriers we should consider to reduce costs?
- 3PL Options = Are we at a point where a 3PL option might help us save time or money?
If you’re interested, share your list of priorities with an account manager or services representative at Pacejet and get their opinion on system-actions you might take to turn on new carriers (for example) in the new year. For other information and detail, you can also look over some recent Pacejet postings on a few carrier-related topics:
Time to Re-Energize Your UPS Shipping Services Portfolio
Using Third Party Logistics (3PL) But Retaining ERP-Integrated Control
4. Packing with Dimensions and Weight
The new rules from major parcel carriers around dimensional weight are finally upon us, so you will likely not be able to avoid process changes and reviews for much longer. At a minimum, we’d suggest you build a checklist of questions to review and your current assessment of status along the lines of:
- What impact level do we expect for dim weight pricing ?
- Do we capture actual shipment packaging dimensions and weight ?
- How accurate do we believe our shipment packaging data is today ?
- How do we measure or audit carrier charge-backs for dim weights today?
For more ideas on preparing or the new dimensional weight rules, you can review earlier Pacejet blog postings on a few key topics:
Getting Ready for New Dimensional Weights Rules
Improve How You Pack Shipments in NetSuite to Reduce Surprise Fees and Improve Paperwork
5. Priority Process Review
One of the last areas of a check-in is to build a short list of priority processes that you need to review and why. Keep it focused on the top 3 most important issues as an easy way to start. For example:
- Review packing and containers to respond to new dim weight carrier rules.
- Confirm how we manage freight terms and billing to ensure we’re billing all we can.
- Review freight quoting, how accurate our estimates are, and where it might be costing us.
Having a priority hit list can help focus your reporting and research activities on the items that can have the strongest financial impact on your bottom line. For other ideas on process changes and priorities, take a look at these earlier postings:
Easier Freight Quotes for NetSuite Users Not in the Shipping Department
Easier Bill of Lading Creation for NetSuite Freight Shippers
Other Steps for New Year Planning
If you have more time for additional preparation work, the Pacejet blog has a few additional articles to support planning including:
- Plan Your NetSuite Shipping Tune-Up with Recent Pacejet Updates
- Planning Ahead in Your ERP Implementation for Integrated Shipping
- Managing Six Shipping Fees To Send Profitability in the Right Direction
Contact Pacejet for Help
Contact Pacejet 877-722-3538 or firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help with your end of year reviews and new year planning.