It’s all too often that parcel shippers feel their attention needs to be concentrated on daily operations. This is an understandable feeling; moving packages out of the warehouse is important, and sorting through parcel invoice data doesn’t seem like something you can make the time for. A lot of parcel shippers think they can deduce all the shipping data they need after shipments are sent from the warehouse that day, and parcel shipping data is nearly always underutilized.
Parcel shipping isn’t so black and white, however. It’s what happens while the package is out for delivery that can greatly impact parcel shipping costs. That doesn’t mean there is anything to worry about, though, because in today’s industry, actionable shipping data is easily accessible. In fact, it won’t even require all the time and resources most shippers imagine it will.
Parcel Invoice Analysis
Parcel invoices carry vast amounts of useful data, so what’s the problem? The only issue with assuming the invoices tell you all you need to know, is that they weren’t made for easy analysis. They also weren’t designed for making data-driven or on-demand parcel shipping decisions. Parcel carriers don’t generally have any easy to follow formatting, if any at all, and they contain columns and rows of unclear information.
Of course, it is possible for you to solve shipping data analysis issues in-house, but it will require a great deal of time and effort to enact. The other, more viable option, is to enlist the help of a shipping software provider. A transportation management (TMS) provider is the best option available on the market, particularly when the TMS vendor also offers parcel auditing software and services. Using outsourced help for these issues will provide the same (if not better) visibility and expertise, but it won’t be additional work for you company.
Once you have your parcel shipping data, what do you do with it? You still aren’t sure you can find the time to analyze the data just the same as you didn’t have the time to collect it. In truth, it doesn’t take much time. Say you outsourced to a TMS and parcel auditing service provider, they will present your shipping data to you in an easy to understand format so that you can start to make decisions about your shipping quickly. Analyzing the shipping data for just an hour a week could provide a better ROI than you were expecting. Data driven action doesn’t need to be time consuming.
Logistics departments of parcel shipping companies should understand their partnerships. There should be guidelines for service types, which should be regularly monitored to keep track of compliance and make sure the proper party is held accountable. This is important, because service type is a large factor in shipping costs.
Carrier Performance Monitoring
Using an effective TMS and parcel auditing vendor will help to keep track of shipping data related to carrier performance. The carrier is obviously an integral part of any shipping operation, so shipping data on how well they are performing is very valuable. Carriers are guaranteeing the arrival of a package by the date agreed upon. High-volume shippers will have a harder time keeping track of whether not this guarantee is met for every shipment, but it’s important for analysis and shipping spend.
At the end of the day, your company will take the blame for a late package, not the carrier, and it can be the difference between satisfied repeat customers, and a loss of business. TMS and parcel auditing service vendors will check pickup and delivery dates and monitor carrier performance over time to ensure accountability, refunds, and to provide accurate, and actionable shipping data on which carriers should be used.
There is some risk in shipping this way, but it can often be very efficient to ship packages directly to a client from a third-party, like the manufacturer. If you’re going to ship parcel third-party it is imperative you maintain a high-degree of visibility. By doing so you can address any errors as safely, and as informed as possible. Giving out carrier account numbers to third-party shippers is instilling a great deal of trust in them, but you should keep a close eye on it.
Most of the costs in parcel shipping are accumulated during the shipping process. A lot of the parcel shipping spend you pay to carriers is comprised of delivery area surcharges, additional handling, residential surcharges, and a vast array of other accessorials which may inaccurately be attributed to the invoice.
This is where utilizing a transportation management system vendor who also provides parcel auditing services becomes a tremendous help. After all, the goal is to save money shipping. Failing to account for these shipping costs will eat into your company’s profits. Auditing services can help you get back money on inaccurate accessorial charges, and every aspect of your parcel shipping is negotiable with carriers.
The shipping industry has entered the age of big data. The plethora of information made available to parcel shipping companies today can seem like quite a challenge, but it’s the best way to bring your company forward in the market. Actionable shipping data will lead to better decisions, improved parcel shipping speeds, and cheap shipping rates. Find a transportation management system and parcel auditing service vendor who can simplify the confusing mass of shipping data available to your company.