Friday, January 27, 2012
A batch of orders arrives, and employees work quickly to get those packages out the door. Other tasks are moved to the back burner until these orders are shipped. Those customers will be happy customers when they receive their packages on time and (hopefully!) this process is repeated regularly. When you ship enough, it’s easy to see that the only items changing on each package are the name, address, and weight. Multi-carrier shipping software helps organize this repetitive process plus offer the BEST rate for each package that goes out. This allows carrier competition to work for shippers.
There are three goals of all business software:
1. Increase Productivity
2. Reduce Costs
3. Simplify Organizational Processes
All three of these goals are achieved in the shipping department by using multi carrier shipping software. Increased productivity comes from reducing the workload required for each package. Reduced costs come from rate shopping between parcel carriers for every package. Simplified organizational processes are realized when you connect the shipping system with other business applications, making data portable and easily available to all functions of the organization.
Using dedicated shipping software will achieve these goals for all types and sizes of companies. For a small online vendor or local crafter, every employee wears multiple hats. You want the shipping process to be quick for each package so that you can spend your time on other work. For a large online vendor, you want to be able to utilize barcode order entry and ship each package with one or two keystrokes or mouse clicks. For a food vendor, you want to be able to choose from multiple express services at a glance to get the products from “fresh” to table as quickly as possible. For a fulfillment company, you want to be able to ship using multiple customer account numbers with multiple carriers and lower the charge per package to the minimal amount necessary. All of these specific needs relate directly to the three main goals above. Every feature of a shipping system should reach back to those goals and make work easier for the company using the system.
All of the above company profiles have differing volumes and shipping needs, but believe it or not, all can benefit by using the right shipping system. Harvey Software’s CPS shipping software is the versatile solution that covers all of the bases. CPS features are customizable to allow a shipper to create the order entry process they need, increasing the productivity of every employee involved in shipping. Rate optimization features and up to date carrier communication allows carrier competition to keep shipping costs as low as possible. Customer data can be read from and completed information written to any ODBC compliant accounting or order management system, allowing customer service to have visibility into shipping services used, tracking numbers, and shipping costs.
Over the next ten weeks, we’re going to profile different types of businesses that can take advantage of a multi-carrier shipping system. As we highlight each of those shipping profiles, you will learn why a multi-carrier shipping system can improve the shipping process in almost any type or size of business. Look for specific ways that shipping software like Harvey Software’s CPS can accomplish those three goals that every business desires. To see more information now, visit our website at www.HarveySoft.com or call us at 1-800-231-0296.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Who Works for Who? Is Your Shipping System Working for You, or Are You Working For Your Shipping System?
In the movie Cast Away, the opening sequence times a package from Seattle, WA. to St. Petersburg, Russia. Tom Hanks’ character Chuck travels to Russia to analyze the package in which he placed a stopwatch before sending it to himself. He shows the FedEx employees in Russia the timer. Thirty-two hours from Seattle to St. Petersburg – 9000 miles. Forty-one hours from the warehouse to the destination – 4 miles. He certainly found the source of the problem. And then he begins working every job in the facility in order to improve efficiency. Though the audience never sees the results of his efforts, it’s easy to assume that things got better soon after Chuck’s visit.
How many shipping systems out there are “good enough?” How many employees are doing what’s basically a workaround solution but needs improving? Make sure that your shipping software is not a bottleneck to your shipping process. If it takes more than a minute to go from reference number to label printing, there are likely ways to improve upon that process. Make sure that data entry and write-backs are happening automatically. Make sure that your employees are aware of procedures for international packages, packages that need insurance, and packages that require return labels. And definitely make sure that you are getting the best rates possible from the carriers, for every package you send.
I spoke with one of our current customers who recently switched over to using our CPS multi-carrier shipping software, and I was surprised to hear that he was doing his own rate shopping between carriers before he began using our software. He did have shipping software hooked up to his order management system to pull data from, but that shipping system only showed rates for one carrier. He is smart enough to know that the carriers were already competing with one another, and he would systematically check another carrier’s website for their rates, for each package he sent. His determination to save money for his business is admirable. At the same time, he was spending an incredible amount of time looking up rates by hand, a process that can be completely automated. We were able to set him up with a shipping system to compare FedEx, UPS, and USPS rates simultaneously, and he was even able to set up custom business rules that allowed the system to select the lowest rate automatically for the services he prefers.
Harvey Software’s CPS shipping software can do all that’s spoken about above and more. With the flexibility of this multi-carrier shipping software, the application possibilities are endless. Contact us today at 1-800-231-0296 or visit www.HarveySoft.com for more information.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Happy New Year from all of us at Harvey Software! We would like to congratulate all on a successful holiday shopping season. Online sales from November 1st through December 18th were over $35 billion, the equivalent of every American spending more than $100 online. This represents 15% growth from 2010 figures, compared to 4% or less among brick and mortar stores. This year’s growth outpaced last year’s growth by a full percentage point and online shopping continues to be the highest growth sector in the retail economy.
Now that the New Year has begun, it’s important to know the changes passed along by the carriers. If you are a CPS shipping software customer, you have likely updated your software already and see the 2012 shipping rates for each shipment. If the rates look slightly higher, it’s because they are. Both FedEx and UPS raised rates for most services, with the average increase hovering around 5-6%. This, however, comes with a January DECREASE in the fuel surcharge. Although predicting oil prices is a speculator’s business, recent unrest in the Middle East has caused oil prices to creep up past $100 per barrel again. Since this is 5-10% higher than it was in mid-December, you can expect to see the fuel surcharge rise in the coming months.
Major changes are coming to the United States Postal Service regarding international shipments. New federal laws are tentatively scheduled to take effect on January 22nd, 2012 requiring electronic submission of customs documents PRIOR to shipping Express Mail and Priority Mail International (EMI and PMI). Right now it appears this will impact international shippers who print their own international customs documents. We are currently working with the Post Office on this issue since it directly affects shippers who use CPS shipping software for international mail manifesting. We will provide updated information about this as we work with the Post Office on this issue. For companies using international USPS services but do not use a manifest, CPS allows the use of an Internet postage service such as Endicia, which will correctly handle international shipping documents. A major advantage of CPS vs. carrier shipping systems is the versatility that allows CPS users to change shipping methods without an overhaul of an entire shipping system.
We continue to stay in contact with the USPS regarding changes to their services. They have many potential changes in the upcoming year. Watch for new updates that will be announced through this blog as well as through our other communication channels.
With so many carrier changes, CPS shipping software customers continue to be able to select competing carrier services for each and every package. We look forward to providing our customers with our software services and unparalleled customer support. For more information, please visit www.HarveySoft.com.