Friday, June 24, 2011
Reason 5 to Use a Multiple Carrier Shipping System - Increase Visibility to Your Customer Service Department
“Where is my package?” That’s something you don’t want to say about a package that you are expecting. And it’s something that you never want to hear from a customer. So let’s look at how you can provide the best package visibility to your customer service department and your customers. If you use multiple carriers with different shipping systems for each, this can become complicated.
Shipping departments report shipping results in different ways. Some will print a package shipping record “document label” and attach it to the paperwork for an order. That works, but it means that finding the answer to “Did the package ship?” means going through paperwork, which can be time consuming even when the paperwork is filed correctly. Maybe the office staff collects the paperwork and then updates each record in the order system. That is better visibility since the shipping status can be found in the order system. But different shipping systems print different labels, and it’s easy to make a mistake when you are looking “here” for the shipping data on this label but “there” for the shipping data from another label. And hand updating tracking numbers? Definitely an area where mistakes can be made. It is so much better if the shipping system sends data directly to the order system. But using different carriers, each with its own shipping system that sends data in different ways, can present substantial challenges when making each system communicate with the order system. There has to be a better way.
This is where a multiple carrier shipping system can really make the entire shipment visibility process smoother and easier for both the company and the customer. Let’s use our CPS shipping software as an example. Whether you ship with FedEx, UPS or the Post Office, CPS provides shipping data in the same way for every carrier. If the shipping system gets data directly from and sends data directly to the order system, it’s a clear advantage when only one shipping system needs to be integrated with the order system - a clear “plus” for a multi-carrier shipping system. Even if you update shipping data manually in your order system, each shipment document label has its data in the same place for each carrier, speeding entry and minimizing mistakes. Another plus for a multi-carrier shipping system. There are other visibility advantages, too. CPS can send an email shipping notification, the CPS SHIP eLERT®, for every package that is shipped. When a company uses different carrier provided shipping systems, each carrier’s shipping email notification looks different from the other’s, and none are clearly from your company. Every CPS SHIP eLERT has the same format, and they are sent from the shipper’s email account, so the customer knows who it’s from. That’s better visibility and customer service.
Finally, with every package you ship in just one system, it’s easy to find and track a package if there is a question. With CPS, you can easily track one package or a group of packages right from the shipping history. You never have to find out which carrier was used, then go to this system or that system to track the package.
Package visibility is a big concern in today’s “I want it NOW!” world. A multiple carrier shipping system offers the smoothest path for the quick, easy shipment visibility that is expected by today’s shippers and customers. For more information about how CPS can help with this and many other aspects of today’s shipping, visit www.HarveySoft.com.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Reason 4 to Use a Multiple Carrier Shipping System - Improve Your Business Processes By Using Just One Shipping System vs. 2 or More
This is part 4 in the series about using a multiple carrier shipping system. If you ship with more than one carrier and use the ‘free’ individual shipping systems from each carrier, you substantially complicate your shipping processes. From the very start, if you use two or more single carrier shipping systems, the initial installation is harder. You have to set up two systems. You need to allocate the physical space to accommodate each separate system. You need double the computer and shipping hardware.
Next, each system will have its own method to connect to your existing data. This means the IT staff needs to learn how to make multiple, outside systems read data from and write data to your existing data tables. Using two or more systems mean training needs increase. More training time is needed for everyone who uses the shipping systems (initial system users and new hires) because there are multiple systems to learn. This includes IT staff, too. When updates occur, each system will be updated on a different schedule, so there is more work needed to keep the systems current.
And that’s just to make the systems ready to ship packages. If you think that sounds hard, wait until you use them. Using separate systems means that it’s just about impossible to efficiently choose shipping by one carrier or another at the point of shipping. If you are looking for the best carrier, best rate, best anything, you have to check out each package in each system. If you shipped a package by one carrier and you need to change the carrier, first you delete the package from one system, then add it to the other system. Unless your order system can accurately predetermine the carrier and service needed every time for every package, choosing the best carrier and service for any package can mean more work for this shipping system operator, which slows down the shipping process.
An excellent solution for these issues is using a multiple carrier shipping system. Our CPS shipping software easily ships with the 3 major US package carriers. With CPS, there is just one system to setup, one system to learn and one system to update. Streamlining those processes is a tremendous efficiency gain. In the actual shipping process, the shipping system operator uses one system for everything - no jumping from here to there to there. This is faster with far less chance of errors. Using just one system means more packages can be shipped in a given period of time with fewer shipping mistakes (such as wrong carrier or wrong service) made. These are all clear “wins” in the shipping department.
Put these multiple carrier shipping system advantages together and they add up to more packages out the door, an easier connection between the shipping system and your data, and a smoother way to use and choose the best carrier and service for every package. In fact, the hardest thing about using a multiple carrier system is making sure you put each completed, labeled package in the right pick up stack for its carrier.
There’s more, but let’s keep this blog length, not book length. For more information about CPS, visit http://www.harveysoft.com/.
Friday, June 10, 2011
If you use just one carrier for your shipping, you could be shortchanging your customers AND your company. Today’s shoppers are savvy enough to know that if they are only offered a single carrier as their shipping choice, they could be paying too much for shipping. It’s well established that many shoppers cancel their purchase if they are not satisfied with the shipping options they see. And when orders are cancelled, your company loses out. That’s not all.
Other customers or potential customers may have special accounts with a carrier and require all packages shipped for their orders to be done by a specific carrier on a “bill receiver” or “bill 3rd party” basis. If you use just one carrier and it’s not this potential customer’s carrier, you could miss out on gaining that business.
These are two very different situations that have the same result - lost business if you cannot provide carrier choices. A multiple carrier shipping system can solve these issues forever. When you use a multiple carrier shipping system like our CPS shipping software, you have the freedom to offer your customers the shipping choices they want. This includes being able to ship with multiple carriers, but also goes a lot farther than “Ship by your choice of FedEx/UPS/USPS”.
With the right multiple carrier shipping system, you can offer free shipping or flat-rate shipping offers, which are proven to build sales. Since free shipping or flat-rate shipping offers are not tied to a carrier, the right multiple carrier shipping system can choose the best carrier and service for each package shipped with the “standard shipping” choice. If other shipping options are offered, such as expedited service, one-day delivery, two-day delivery or delivery by a specific carrier, a multiple carrier shipping system lets you control these, too.
Equip your shipping department to be ready when carrier choices are needed, whether it’s to make better shipping offers or be prepared when a customer has a carrier requirement. It could be the advantage that makes the difference in your profits. For more information about CPS, visit www.HarveySoft.com.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
This week, here is reason number two for using a multi-carrier shipping system. The competition between the carriers can be intense. They fight for your business each and every day. When you look at the main players, each offers good, reliable transportation services. So what sets them apart? Obviously, the price you pay for their services. If you use a “free” carrier provided shipping system and it is integrated to your order entry or other back-end system, changing carriers can be difficult, even when another carrier offers better rates.
When the carrier knows their “free” shipping system locks you in to using that carrier, how motivated are they to give you their best rate offer? Use a multi-carrier shipping system and the carriers know you can easily change, giving them substantial incentive to provide their best rate offers when negotiating. There are many so good reasons to use a multi-carrier system versus one that is provided by a carrier at “no direct cost to you.”
If you are using a multi-carrier system like our CPS shipping software, if you negotiate a better rate with a different carrier, it’s a snap to change carriers. Using a multi-carrier system places you in a better negotiating position and that means dollars to your bottom line. Your shipping will never miss a beat!
Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at more ways that multi-carrier shipping systems can bring benefits to your shipping, accounting, customer service, sales and carrier relationship processes. Right now, visit www.HarveySoft.com if you would like to know more about CPS.
Posted by Harvey Software, Inc. at 11:25 PM