How to know if a Parcel Solution will Scale with Your Company

When selecting a parcel system, many shippers get “tunnel vision” and focus on solving specific pain points they are facing in their business today. Without focusing on the bigger, more holistic picture, companies run the risk of selecting a vendor that solves their immediate problems, but can’t expand with them in the future.

Parcel solutions vary greatly in their depth and breadth so it’s important to understand all the ways your company can benefit from the technology. Here are four benefits of a parcel solution that are commonly overlooked.

 

1. EFFICIENT RETURNS PROCESSING

In the retail environment, for example, it’s not uncommon for a certain percentage of shipments to be returned—for whatever reason. By investing in a robust parcel system that can manage both outbound and inbound shipments, companies can effectively streamline the returns process.

Having a system that can handle multiple returns carriers and services lets companies leverage the service that’s right for their individual businesses. Parcel systems should be able to integrate into a customer’s portal system or provide a graphical user interface where a customer service rep could log in and produce a returns label. This is a point that should be brought up early in the software selection process, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

2. SUPPLIER ACCOUNT CONTROL

When you pass your carrier account number over to a supplier, it’s all about control and who has it. Many shippers provide their carrier account numbers to suppliers to ship their orders on, but this gives the supplier an “open checkbook” to ship parcels on that particular account.

Using an enterprise parcel system gives shippers the ability to directly support supplier shipping and get this control back. This can be as simple as just deciding on the right carrier and service to use, or it can go as far as providing a label that is sent to the supplier. An enterprise parcel system gives you a variety of control options when working with suppliers who are essentially shipping on your dime.

 

3. ORDER ENTRY RATING/E-COMMERCE RATING SUPPORT

Used by shippers that want to allow their customers to have a say in which shipping method is used (by providing carrier, service, and rate information), order entry and e-commerce ratings play an important role in today’s omni-channel shipping environment.

With e-commerce as a key sales driver for both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies, there’s a strong drive to get more accurate shipping rates in real-time. A shipper that has to calculate a shipping cost on the spot for a customer who is placing an online order, for example, can’t afford to either inflate or lowball the displayed rates. Using an enterprise parcel system, companies can leverage their solution’s advanced tools and provide accurate, real-time cost and delivery windows. And even if your firm isn’t currently using order entry ratings/e-commerce ratings, it may want to in the future.

 

4. DETAILED TRACKING CAPABILITIES

While enterprise parcel systems aren’t a replacement for auditing tools, these solutions do provide detailed data to help shippers determine exactly what was delivered and when. This tracking capability lets you get out in front of a potential customer service issue before it occurs—or respond quickly if it does develop. There is nothing like being able to reach out to a customer and let them know that you’ve nipped a potential problem in the bud before they were even aware of it.

Ultimately, you want to be able to leverage all tracking information it into a single system and do things a little better than your competitors—a strategy that can quickly turn into a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

When evaluating and making determinations about the best vendor or solution fit, for example, you might overlook factors that could provide much more value. If you don’t pause and take a step back to assess where your company—and that vendor and its solution— will be in three to five years, you could overlook a viable partner that would have delivered more value in the long run.

Steve Williamson

Director, Solution Consulting