A package shipper’s work does not consist solely of selecting a parcel carrier such as UPS, FedEx or DHL and leaving their goods in the carrier’s hands. Here are nine things the parcel shipper can do in order to optimize parcel shipping logistics, reduce costs and ensure the growth of their business.

Deploy shipping technology solutions or shipping software to precisely predict costs ahead of time to make changes to save money shipping. Guesswork can mean the incorrect allocation of valuable resources and inefficient logistics management.

Make sure to ship with the correct packaging. This is called package optimization. Parcel carriers work with a dimensional model, so the parcel shipper should make sure to balance size with ease of handling when deciding how much packaging should go around every product. Sometimes, the carrier can be relied upon to design a product-specific package that can optimize space to get cheap shipping rates and boost logistics and supply chain management. The shipper should also consider whether the most appropriate material is being used. Sustainability in packaging materials is an important though fairly new consideration, and many customers will find a shipper who ships  in an ecologically conscientious way more appealing than competitors who do not. The parcel shipper should also question whether there exist cheaper materials that work just as well as and require less manual labor than what they are currently using.

Check over the company’s returns policy for clarity, and envision possible scenarios in which a customer may end up unhappy. Even having an unclear or abbreviated return policy may scare away customers. As a general rule, it is best to have returns all go to a centralized location.

Automate whatever can be automated via reliable software and logistics management solutions. This is crucial for reducing human error. The newest ecommerce shipping software and parcel shipping software automate many processes and allow for multi-carrier shipments, multi-modal logistics and seamless coordination of various components of a parcel’s journey. This latest generation of cloud-based parcel shipping and receiving software and auditing software platforms integrates transportation management systems (TMS) with warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Have realistic and reasonably flexible delivery windows as the basis of delivery guarantees. In order to meet customer expectations, identify and partner with the best carrier for the product, or adopt a multi-carrier mode of transport.

Give customers visibility and choices concerning delivery. Doorstep delivery may not work for everyone. Some carriers, such as the USPS, give customers a certain amount of control over when and how they receive their parcels.

Collect, aggregate and analyze data, taking advantage of Big Data techniques. Shipping analytics is a burgeoning field that affords shippers opportunities to take a bird’s-eye view over their operations to identify patterns in efficiency and inefficiency. Parcel shippers can use this information to adjust their procedures for future shipments.

Consider whether drop shipping is a good fit for the commodity. Some drop shippers charge five or ten dollars per item to ship, so it may not be economical for every product. In many cases, however, using a drop shipping partner means the shipper does not have to pay for warehouse space, can hand off the risk of over-stocks, and can experiment with offering new items or a broader range of items for sale.

Rather than doing everything in-house, use a small parcel auditing company partner and/or third party logistics provider (3pl). In fact, a small parcel auditing partner or 3pl can work with the parcel shipper to handle nearly every item on this checklist. Bringing with them considerable industry experience, they can assist clients in implementing shipping and receiving software and small parcel auditing software solutions (such as TMS platforms) to eliminate waste and mitigate problems with parcel shipper’s supply chain management.

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