A few weeks ago, PARCEL Forum brought logistics professionals from around the industry to Nashville. They discussed trends and challenges in parcel shipping, networked with peers, and forged new partnerships. Sifted was well-represented, both through our booth and speaking at the event.
Our attendees included:
- Ami Bensman – Chief Marketing Officer/Chief Experience Officer
- Heather Guerry – SVP of Client Success & Operations
- Kevin Miller – VP of Data Insights
- Tarnu Mulbah – VP of Sales
- Caleb Nelson – Chief Growth Officer
- Roy Schmeidler – Account Executive
Here’s a summary of what we learned about the industry from the conversations at the show:
1. Carrier Diversification is a Top Priority
One recurring theme that emerged from PARCEL Forum was the importance of carrier diversification. The events of the past few years – mainly COVID capacity constraints and labor disputes – have made this a significant focus for shippers, particularly larger ones.
Moving away from single-sourcing a carrier reduces risks. Segmenting shipments between carriers, and taking specific segments to new carriers to bid on, can significantly reduce costs. Introducing a regional carrier can even lower a business’ carbon footprint. Shippers are constantly optimizing, so this trend is expected to gain even more momentum in the next 12 months.
Sifted contributed to these discussions through our speaking session, titled “Beyond a Single Carrier: Building a Shipping Network that Works for You.” Caleb Nelson and Kevin Miller explored how to:
- Critically review your existing carrier mix
- Navigate the cost implications of switching or adding carriers
- Maximize efficiency and volume discounts with multiple carriers
The session was well-received. It was moved to a larger room due to the overwhelming amount of pre-registrations and was still standing-room only. Attendees rated it 4.8/5 for “Overall Session Rating,” and 4.8/5 for “Speaker’s Knowledge.”
Want to see what all the hype is about? View the presentation on-demand on YouTube.
2. Trust and Carrier Issues
Carriers haven’t had a great year in the eyes of a lot of shippers. Many feel their carriers used the pandemic’s eCommerce boom to squeeze every available dollar out of them. Now that volumes are normalizing and negotiating power swings back to shippers, the carriers have given them something else to keep an eye on – labor disputes.
The UPS/Teamsters negotiations and strike threats were among the most publicized labor issues in recent memory. In the past year, FedEx has had their own struggles with strike threats from their network of contractors for FedEx Ground and a rejected labor deal with Express pilots.
Fears of service stoppages, never-ending rate increases, and complicated contracts all combine to make shippers very frustrated with their carriers.
This is one of the greatest opportunities for improvement in the industry today. Data analytics can give shippers the insights they need to be better partners to their carriers, while holding the carriers accountable for mistakes.
3. Pressure to Quantify Improvements
Logistics professionals are feeling more pressure from executives and upper management to quantify improvements being made in shipping. Meanwhile, they have access to an abundance of data, but don’t know what to do with it.
These trends are driving the growth in data visibility tools tailored for logistics. Shippers understand that Logistics Intelligence tools can give them the insights they need to prove that their operational adjustments are paying off, or see where improvements can still be made.
Other companies that showcased their data-driven solutions at PARCEL Forum include:
4. An Ever-Shifting Landscape
From our conversations with shippers, another common theme emerged: they’re encouraged – and a bit overwhelmed – by the rapidly advancing technology landscape. Many wear multiple hats within their organization, and while there are certainly areas they could use help with, it’s also a challenge to keep up with all the new solutions available to them.
Ultimately, this is what makes a show like PARCEL Forum so valuable. Shippers can have face-to-face conversations with solutions providers that can help transform how they perform their day-to-day jobs. These partnerships can then ensure their business is confident in the shipping decisions that will shape their future.