Friday, September 2, 2011

Multi-Carrier Shipping System Helps Your Business Avoid Weather Delays

Multi-Carrier Shipping System Helps Your Business Avoid Weather Delays

As some of us prepare for a holiday weekend, much of the East Coast is recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Irene. We are reminded too often of the threat of severe weather with our headquarters in southern Florida, and our deepest sympathy goes out to those who lost loved ones in the storm. We also hope that all of those people impacted by the storm can get back to their lives as quickly as possible.

The reality of a large storm brings back to mind how unknown weather factors can disrupt business and shipping. The aftermath of hurricane Irene is typical of what those large storms do to any area: some areas are without electricity for an extended period, roads may still be underwater or closed days later, and flight schedules have to take into account several days’ worth of cancelled or postponed flights. For this particular storm, some airports and mass transit were closed for an entire weekend to ensure the safety of passengers, and we still hear of towns that are completely cut off from transportation networks. There will be similar closures for winter storms as well in the coming months, plus other factors may cause disruptions. An earthquake in Virginia was certainly not on many people’s radar.

Any transportation closures stop shipping services as well. The carriers take precautions for their employees who deliver packages and comply with government ordered evacuation plans. We advise all businesses to have contingency plans for any potential disruptions to their operations. Harvey Software has prepared for any weather threats by backing up all necessary data in multiple states as well as having staff located around the country.

While some storms are so large that they affect multi-state regions, others might be powerful, small storms that affect a smaller area. Package carriers have hubs in different locations just like passenger airlines, and increasingly the carriers are consolidating their operations into larger and larger shipping hubs. For example, one carrier has a large distribution center near an airport that covers the size of 80 football fields. This concentration of packages in one facility increases the chance that any weather events that impact the hub could cause delays far past the area of the actual storm. If you are shipping with only one carrier, disruptions at a major hub could delay shipping packages to your customers and definitely impact your business.

The carriers prepare for these contingencies as you would expect them to and do everything in their power to deliver your packages in the time promised. However, there are circumstances outside of their control. As a business that depends on carriers to deliver your products, you deserve some control concerning your own packages too. A multiple-carrier shipping system, such as Harvey Software’s CPS Shipping Software, offers you the flexibility to choose the carrier for each package, regardless of whether the choice is based on simple cost comparisons or a more complex anticipation of potential weather disruptions.

Online sales volume has grown every year since the concept was introduced, and we have every reason to expect this trend to continue. This interconnected, national commerce is less forgiving of regionally disruptive events. Customers on the west coast, who are used to earthquakes, are not going to understand delays due to a 5.8 magnitude quake on the east coast. Likewise, winter storms in the Midwest shouldn’t necessarily delay your package getting to your customer in Arizona.

Protect your business with a multi-carrier shipping solution, and you gain some control over these situations. We can’t predict the weather, but we can give you a choice of carriers for every shipment and the opportunity to save money and time as well. To learn more about how Harvey Software’s CPS shipping software can help you save, visit

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