The Pacejet Smart Shipper 2022 Virtual Roundtable Roadshow series is off to a great start, with a special focus on the Chicago regional market. Roundtable guests include shipping experts Shawn McCarthy of UPS, Ruth Rosenstock of RF-Smart, and Amanda Armendariz of PARCEL Industry.
The event is designed to give attendees valuable takeaways that they can apply to their shipping practices. Shipping technology is discussed with an emphasis on creating advantages in the retail supply chain. Attendees learn about actionable strategies that can improve their shipping and fulfillment operations at a time when inflation is rising, and the future is unknown.
The panel explores a broad range of topics—from opportunities and problem-solving, to leveraging technology to scale your business, to integrating shipping services into systems such as WMS, ERP, EDI, and e-commerce platforms that are facilitating the industry’s technology transformation.
The discussion is framed as a long-answer Q&A where the experts respond to questions that are on the minds of retail shippers today. For example, below is a summary of answers given to the question:
How are shippers responding to the current macroeconomic situation? What can they do to improve business right now?
- Go Back to Basics – Shippers can’t control the rate of inflation, price increases on raw materials, or market volatility. They need to focus on what they can control and start by going back to basics. Think in terms of dollars in and dollars out, just as a new business owner might. Areas in need of improvement will begin to emerge.
- Increase Efficiencies – Take a long, hard look at processes and explore any that are slowing business down or wasting resources. Look at manual processes still being used. There may be readily available automated solutions that would pay for themselves in short order. Also look for bottlenecks. Get creative and try various ways to break up the bottleneck.
- Cut Out Waste – Over time, waste tends to creep into shipping processes. Teams may not recognize the problem or see the inherent opportunity because the process probably hasn’t changed in years. Break the process into steps and look for ways to cut out the waste—be it time, money, labor, or materials.
- Consolidate – There may be ways to consolidate shipping that haven’t been investigated yet. If products are available in-store, online customers can be given the option to pick up their item in-store rather than having it shipped home. Some prefer this lower-cost (or free) option. Plus, a store pick-up creates an opportunity to generate add-on sales.
- Analyze Packaging – Look closely at packaging. If a small item ships in a mid-size box, unused box space is being wasted along with space on the trucks, planes, and railroad cars that transport the product. At the same time, excess cardboard and packing supplies are also wasted, which can turn off environmentally-conscience customers.
- Diversify Carriers - Lastly, spend time looking into diversifying carriers. There may be a small, regional carrier that can reliably cover a route for less money and do it more efficiently. Some carriers might offer new programs and technologies that could increase the value they provide.
These were some of the insights shared in response to just one question. Roundtable experts also provided a wealth of additional insights around the following:
- With the peak season just around the corner, what should shippers worry about right now?
- What shipping processes should retailers do on their own versus pulling in a business partner?
- How is the transformation to cloud technology changing shipping?
- How can shipping play into and improve the customer experience?
- What can retail shippers do to be ready for fast changes?
Hear the entire Smart Shippers 2022 Chicago roundtable session by accessing the on-demand recording here.
Or check our schedule here for additional upcoming virtual roundtables in major metro areas across the U.S. We look forward to meeting you at an upcoming event!