Parcel Forum 2023-source1

Key takeaways from Parcel Forum – 2023

Whether you are a novice shipper or a big conglomerate, learning the intricacies of small parcel shipping is essential. Are you interested in gaining insights into various aspects of the small-package supply chain industry? The conferences at Parcel Forum held for the past twenty years provide this opportunity to all. Shippers, carrier representatives, and consultants attend this conference annually. This year, in the home of country music, Nashville, Parcel Forum (PF ’23) was held from September 11-13, 2023.

Parcel Forum ’23 had workshops and keynote addresses from shipping experts. The event was for small parcel professionals from various backgrounds, company sizes, and experiences. The conference agenda included shipping practices, warehousing, packaging, parcel delivery,  etc.

Key takeaways

My business partner, Vikram Malik, and I attended Parcel Forum ’23, an incredible experience. We had the opportunity to connect with our current and prospective clients. We had a chance to network with our clients and learn from our peers. Here are some of the key takeaways from PF’23:

1. The Workshops were on topics like

  • Contract negotiations

There were interactive sessions with the presenters on shipping strategies and tips for negotiating carrier contracts. Examples of negotiations and case studies were a part of this workshop held exclusively for shippers.

  • Automation and digital strategies for seamless operations

The session on inventory strategies and cost-effective automation was helpful for shippers, suppliers, and customers. In addition, it covered digital strategies for seamless operations from warehouse to destination.

  • Managing complex international shipping

Controlling trade compliance risks and volume-based international solutions were discussed. Also, giving correct documents and strategically placed inventory were the highlights of this session.

  • Leveraging data for supply chain efficiency

Using data to optimize order management, inventory management, and purchase were the highlights of this session. Further, the discussion was on data building blocks like Key Performance Indicators, dashboards, and data architecture.

2. Keynote speeches, presentations, and panel discussions were based broadly on the following areas

  • Best shipping practices

Artificial intelligence and predictive technology help implement and predict the estimated delivery time of small parcels. Customer-centric shopping with reduced shipping costs was part of another session at this conference. Robotic solutions for boosting order fulfillment can help shippers. Further, implementing customer-centric returns while decreasing shipping costs was discussed.

In addition, the best practice to unlock parcel savings is by reviewing shipping contracts and invoices. The economics around free shipping and how to design profitable programs were enlightening for the audience. AI and algorithms are helping reduce packaging costs for shippers. Moreover, technology will help shippers control the fulfillment process and maximize customer retention.

3. Carrier diversification

The factors to consider when partnering with a new shipping carrier by reviewing existing carrier activities are necessary. Further, choosing multiple parcel carriers helps in saving costs, carrier efficiency, and shipping volume discounts. The conference focused on a four-step process to maximize carrier benefits. Companies with limited resources can get the best from the national carriers, which was part of the learning objective.

There was a case study session on carrier diversification, its benefits, risks, and practical tips for securing competitive proposals from parcel carriers. Using technology to automate carrier decision-making was insightful for the audience. Shippers understood the impact of dynamic pricing and its effect on businesses.

The keynote address by USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy focused on the Postal Service Management team making significant changes to create an efficient and high-performing organization.

4. Warehousing solutions

The advantages of on-demand warehousing and the latest technologies for the digital transformation of the supply chain industry were on the agenda. Robotics and automation are increasing employee efficiency and customer satisfaction. The speakers shared successful examples of AI implementation in warehouse operations, which was very enlightening.

The best way to do slot assessment of warehouse operations is to increase operation efficiency. Changing customer expectations, advanced technology, and labor shortages transform warehouse management. We liked the panel discussion on choosing the right warehouse management system (WMS) for warehouses to support end-to-end supply chains.

5. Data Analytics

The use of predictive intelligence platforms to monitor and predict timely parcel delivery was a part of the FedEx keynote address. Meanwhile, the attendees learned new ways to reduce shipping costs using data modeling. How analytics and data are helping shippers create reliable and cost-effective supply chains was explored.

The increasing demand for predictive analytics helps shippers make better shipping decisions. Shippers can analyze and optimize their supply chain by leveraging track-and-trace technology. The real-time data is critical in reducing waste, optimizing shipping operations, and reverse logistics control.

6. Shipping forecasts

Online retailers have to adapt to changing online shopper expectations in the future. There was an in-depth analysis and prediction for the 2024 General Rate Increase (GRI) by FedEx and UPS. Valuable insights on 2024 accessorial fees and strategies to leverage data were a part of the discussion.

Further, the audience learned the trends reshaping the 3 PL market in 2024. Experts gave valuable inputs on how to negotiate 2024 contracts. Further, shippers can reduce parcel costs with strategies like zone skipping, inventory management, etc.

Parcel Forum’23 shed light on the labor shortages faced by companies and provided strategies to retain the workforce. Agile supply chains using AI can provide operational visibility to shippers. Industry experts gave their opinions on the growth of transport management systems (TMS) and their role in optimizing shipping strategies.

Conclusion

The conference helped us network with peers and learn more about the supply chain industry. Audintel helps shippers with its automation tools and interactive dashboards. Our clients use real-time shipping data and save shipping expenses. We also provide crucial negotiation strategies when shippers sign carrier contracts. Further, our team helps shippers in receiving refunds from shippers. Schedule a meeting with our team by contacting us at +1 (619) 354 8539. Alternatively, visit our Audintel website for further information.

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How to overcome challenges of small parcel shipping?

Small Parcel shipping is challenging for many shippers. Businesses need strategic solutions with the right software tools to ship small parcels efficiently.

The convenience of ordering online is here to stay. Experts believe there’s been a significant increase in the volume of shipping small parcels to customers directly over the past few years. However, small parcel shipping domestically or internationally requires strategic planning. Inflation, record-high gas prices, supply chain disruptions, and more contribute to various challenges during shipping. Shippers need to automate shipping processes to save time and enhance customer satisfaction. This blog will focus on the challenges shippers face when shipping small parcels.

Small parcel shipping

Packages such as envelopes, posters, small boxes, etc., weighing less than 150 lbs are small parcels. Shipment of small packages requires efficient pickup, transit, and delivery. They do not occupy full truckload capacity like freight or large packages. Each small parcel order is unique and has various requirements. Shippers face challenges when shipping small parcels direct to customers (D2C).

Some of these challenges include:

  • Management of high volumes of small parcels

As customers shifted to e-purchases, there has been a rise in small parcel shipping volumes. Warehouse workers and truckers keep parcel volumes moving to prevent supply chain disruptions. LTL carriers disassemble small parcels or less than pallet load (LPL) shipments to fill their trucks. It may cause damage to the goods during transit.

  • Labor requirements

Processing small parcel shipments requires more labor or workers than bulk shipments. It leads to higher shipping costs for shippers. This cost is either transferred to customers as shipping fees or is a part of the product. Companies hire more people for warehouses and fulfillment centers for shipping small parcels.

  • Overcoming packaging hurdles

Small packages can vary in size, weight, and dimensions. Picking out the ideal packaging material is necessary to prevent shipping delays. Padded mailers and envelopes are appropriate for single items. Fragile items need packing in boxes with proper dimensions to avoid damaging goods in transit. In addition, heavy packages cost more to ship than light ones.

  • Accessorial fees charges

Many transportation service providers charge accessorial fees for small parcel shipping. These fees are residential charges, additional handling, address correction, weekend pickup/delivery, and more.

  • Selection of appropriate parcel carriers and services

Last-mile delivery of small parcels is essential for better customer satisfaction. Choosing the correct local parcel carriers is necessary as inexperienced and untrained courier staff can damage the goods. Hence, selecting the parcel carrier and the appropriate services allows shippers to cater to their customers’ needs.

Retail consumers expect on-time delivery and updated arrival status of packages. And failure to meet customers’ expectations causes loss of repeat business. Providing reliable services with greater visibility gives shippers an advantage over their competitors. Many parcel carriers like UPS and FedEx enhance customer experience with their services.

UPS small parcels

UPS has various options for small parcel delivery that are tailor-made for small businesses. They provide access to Drop Boxes, pickup options, and an-inclusive rate for shipments. They have defined the price range and service level for small parcel deliveries of particular dimensions at specific times. For example, UPS Ground services can provide 1-5 delivery dates for shipping small parcels.

FedEx small parcels

FedEx has different package classifications based on size and weight for delivering small parcels. For instance, FedEx’s Flat packages have short dimensions and a volume of around 400 cubic inches. FedEx has various small parcel limits for domestic Ground services than Express Services.

A third-party (3PL) provider helps shippers in carrier management. They can negotiate better shipping rates for shippers to get better discounts. Further, they can compare carrier performances and suggest services of multiple parcel carriers. With expert knowledge of packaging expertise, they can provide cost-effective solutions.

Audintel- for faster and cheaper small parcel shipping

Our state-of-the-art shipping optimization platform helps manage small parcel delivery. We offer customizable dashboards that continuously monitor shipping status and on-time delivery of packages. Audintel’s automated real-time customer notifications keep our clients abreast of the entire shipping operations of packages. Our expert team can provide shippers with data to compare carrier performance, identify areas of saving money and time, and more.

Companies can streamline their small parcel shipping needs with Audintel’s Transportation Management System (TMS). We provide customized views within our dashboards even for the shipping’s made through small parcels to different destinations. Moreover, our software tools help reduce shipping costs for our clients by providing alternate solutions.   

Finally

During the pandemic, there was a drop in sales of brick-and-mortar products. E-commerce sales of small packages have grown exponentially. Smooth, reliable small parcel shipping is vital for shippers to improve their profitability. So, efficient management of high volumes of small parcels with advanced shipping software solutions is the need of the hour. Partnering with Audintel helps shippers overcome these challenges. We address each business’ unique customer preferences to ensure effortless, cost-effective delivery of small parcels.

Along with customized dashboards, Audintel do have 200+ reports available in their portal which are available for live customers which will help in generating and scheduling the reports based on their required criteria.

Wondering how much it will cost for small parcel shipping? Learn more about small parcels by contacting us at +1 (619) 354 8539 or visiting our Audintel website.

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Reduce shipping costs of small parcel shipments seamlessly

“Fast delivery” and “free shipping” are the terms keeping businesses on their toes. Small business owners have to fulfill customers’ expectations while keeping shipping costs down.

It is difficult for small businesses as they know the expenses involved in shipping. In addition, shipping carriers increase shipping rates each year. Here, we will cover the ways to lower shipment costs and make profits for companies.

Factors affecting shipping costs

Reducing shipping costs is vital for increasing profits in businesses. The main factors affecting shipping costs include

  • Speed and service
  • Weight and dimension
  • Shipping destination
  • Shipping volumes

These factors affect the calculation of shipping charges. However, shippers can reduce expenses by making changes in shipping methods.

Ways to reduce shipping costs

69.8% of online shoppers abandon their carts due to extremely high costs (research by Baymard Institute). The rise in shipping costs is due to various reasons.  It could be due to taxes or shipping rates. As shipping companies have no control over taxes, there are some ways to reduce shipping costs. We, at Audintel, advise our customers about ways to save money.  Here are five easy ways to lower shipping costs.

1. Use of modern tracking software

Shipping companies should use tracking software such as transportation management software (TMS). The software help shippers track their shipments. The tracking tools provide an accurate shipment delivery time. TMS gives shippers an edge over shipping carriers when requesting refunds for late deliveries. Audintel screens the packages and files a refund for our customers. Our automated software guides shippers’ insights into real-time shipment processes.

2. Managing shipping rates

Shipping carriers offer different shipping rates and delivery services to customers. Software like TMS gives businesses insights about shipping carriers. Shippers can choose from a list of shipping rates that suits them best. Audintel gives comparison data about the carriers’ rates to shippers. Audintel provides analytics to support shippers in making decisions regarding shipments and save money.

3. Negotiate the best price with shipping carriers

The core of each shipment is a well-negotiated deal. As a result, negotiation with shipping carriers is vital for companies. Shippers negotiate for a flat shipping fee to reduce costs. Shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS offer better rates for packages based on the size, weight, and destination. Audintel aids shipping companies in negotiating the best price with shipping carriers. We negotiate discounts with different shipping carriers for businesses. So shippers benefit from discounts offered by the shipping carriers.

4. Educate shippers on the shipping process

Shippers hate unexpected charges in their invoices during the checkout process. Shipping companies need to understand the complexities of the shipping process. Shippers need to decrease the size of the packages to save money. For instance, use a poly mailer instead of a box. In addition, companies need to reduce the weight of the parcels. For example, use lightweight packaging material. Audintel provides essential services to companies to bring down costs. We do a thorough audit to curb any mistakes caused by shipping carriers. Our checkpoints halt improper invoicing done by shipping carriers.

5. Streamline the entire shipping process

The entire shipping process from end to end needs streamlining. Companies have to optimize the supply chain model to increase profit margins. Alternatively, shippers need to pay attention to customers’ requirements. Shipping companies need to adopt processes with efficient planning. Audintel provides business models to its customers that cut shipping costs. We advise shippers about shipping strategies to increase profit margins. Shipping small parcels can be made seamless with low shipping costs.

These cost-effective ways potentially help shippers to save money and increase profit margins.

Let Audintel audit your shipments to cut undue expenses.

Shipping companies can rest easy by letting Audintel audit and manage their profiles. Our services customize tracking of shipment packages. Audintel’s shipping software provides access to the best shipping rates. It allows shippers to compare rates, pick the best one, and save time. We aid shippers in negotiating good deals. As a result, our customers receive best-in-class services and discounts. In addition, we provide shipping strategies to customers that help in reducing shipping costs.

To sum it up

Shipping is an integral part of all businesses, whether big or small. Hence, managing the shipping costs of shipments becomes crucial. With this in mind, partnering with audit companies is essential. Audintel keeps track of shipments and streamlines the process giving shippers peace of mind. The analytics provided by Audintel helps shippers to save money. If you need help in reducing shipping costs, contact us at [email protected]. To know more about us and our services, visit our Audintel website or call us at +1 (619) 354 8539.