The Only Shipping Strategy Guide You’ll Need for 2022

by | Jan 29, 2022

7 min read

Winning in the parcel shipping world requires more big-picture thinking than just riding the next hot wave of trends. But when trends are leveraged correctly, they can be turned into ship-saving strategies that help your business win.

To help you get ahead, we’ve compiled some of the top shipping strategies that smart and savvy shippers are using today – for a profitable tomorrow.

 

Risk Analysis and Mitigation

Avoid unwelcome surprises – and be prepared for the worst. If there’s anything that the pandemic has taught shippers, it’s that supply chains were not well equipped for disaster.

Let’s change that.

A proper risk management strategy protects you from more than just a global pandemic, but from:

  • Risk of fines and penalties
  • Cost overruns
  • Loss of company reputation and customer trust
  • Loss of privileges for importing/exporting goods
  • And of course, supply chain disruptions

 

Choose Trusted Suppliers and Manage Relationships Closely

When consumers purchase on your eCommerce website, they aren’t looking up who your suppliers are. You are one and the same. But if one day it was discovered that your suppliers were conducting business that consumers would find off-putting, such as child labor, that’s terrible news for your shipping business.

So while it might be very obvious to ensure that you’re vetting suppliers and choosing relationships that benefit your business and reputation, it’s one of the most critical aspects of your supply chain. And you can’t afford to take it lightly.

 

To avoid any threats to your supply chain, seek full transparency into suppliers:

    • Reliability
    • Reputation
    • Location
    • Value Mutuality
    • Mode of Operation

And have your shipping managers evaluate whether any of these factors pose a risk to your business. If they do, to what extent, and if it’s worth proceeding with the relationship.

To aid shippers with this process, various software platforms are available to take any confusion out of risk management and compliance between you and your suppliers.

Looking for some options? Check out:

Delivery Management

One of the largest shifts in parcel shipping is the growing importance of last mile delivery and parcel tracking. It’s no longer enough that customers have tracking numbers for their packages. Instead, they want live updates and the ability to track their package in real-time – PLUS a projection date of delivery.

This is new territory for shippers, and if you want to keep up with demand it’s time to improve your last mile delivery. But how?

1. Prioritize delivery speed

Delivery speed is becoming the most important aspect of your shipping business. And it’s the main factor that will set you apart from your competition. In fact, over 85% of eCommerce shoppers stated that they would look elsewhere if delivery speeds were not satisfactory.

Fast delivery is no longer about convenience – it’s expected. Here’s what you can do to excel:

  • Utilize your forward and reverse logistics to cut your delivery times in half. Look into your routes to see where you can make subtle changes for pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Plan ahead and use real-time route monitoring to get the most out of your delivery routes and driver efficiency.
  • Optimize your delivery routes to choose the fastest and most cost-efficient routes for your customers. 

2. Embrace GPS or RFID tag tracking technology

Are you looking to boost your reputation amongst customers – and their confidence? Get serious about package tracking. Customers want reassurance and predictability. By giving them access to see delivery projection dates and real time tracking you’ve created a customer experience worth returning to again and again.

3. Expand your distribution network

Your distribution centers are similar to having a warehouse, but the operations vary in that these centers don’t store your products indefinitely and they don’t ship to customers – but instead to fulfillment operations. It’s essentially a hub for your shipments.

But because the amount of time it takes for your customer’s package to go from the warehouse (a storage facility for your operations) to their doorstep can take way too long, a distribution center can help bridge that gap.


This is why distribution centers are replacing warehouse options. It makes more sense for your shipping business to have a distribution center that provides high quality and valued logistics services to meet your rising customer demands as opposed to using a warehouse to store and handle fulfillment. And having more localized distribution centers can aid in faster delivery times and creating happier customers.

4. Look into a fulfillment center (or a 3PL)

Fastly becoming a main player in supply chain’s are fulfillment centers (or 3PL’s) and they do it all. They can receive and store your inventory, fulfill orders for your customers, and pack/ship your goods to their final destinations.

Whether you decide to expand your distribution network or focus on a fulfillment center depends on your shipping business’s specific needs. Fulfillment centers offer a variety of services from processing, packing, and shipping orders to customers. They can also receive inventory shipments to process, pack, and send orders to customers, receive inventory shipments, have people collecting items, pack up boxes, label customer orders, ship out fulfilled orders, and handle returns.

 

Optimized Carrier Mix

Single carrier package delivery is out. And shippers like you may no longer need to give all your shipping to one carrier – we don’t recommend it anyway. You might need variety and options when it comes to your parcel carrier.

Optimizing your carrier mix begins with asking yourself some questions to identify your needs:

  • Does your business have a small area of operation? Or is it largely populated?
  • Does your customer shipping data show that you have clusters within the same area? Or do you have customers from all different regions?
  • Do you have small order volumes that won’t benefit from wholesale discounts from national carriers? Or do you primarily ship in bulk?
  • Is your business seeking next and same-day delivery capabilities over small distances?
  • Does your business have an extended market base that requires complex solutions?
  • Do your required shipping routes cover large spans of the country?

These are just a starting point but will allow shipping companies to reframe the way they look at their carrier mix. Once you narrow down between national or regional carriers (or both) – it’s time to start looking at rates.

 

Data Analysis and Logistics Intelligence

Is your shipping data still living in static spreadsheets? Do you have someone on your shipping team manually going through your data and carrier invoices? Not only does that sound like a massive headache, but it’s just not that efficient or effective.

Enter logistics intelligence (LI).

Logistics intelligence allows you to see things in your data that spreadsheets could never illustrate. Such as:

    1. An overview of your freight costs, carrier charges/errors, expenditures, total landed costs and savings
    2. A 360-degree view of your shipping spend and shipping profile to showcase which areas of your business could be improved and how
    3. Your supply chain’s health (and where it’s headed)
    4. A deeper insight into shipping trends and how you can apply them to your business
    5. And operational modeling to test various scenarios before launch (should I open a new distribution center?)

The thing is, with access to accurate data like this, you’re eliminating the possibility of human error, saving time, and saving loads of money by not scouring manual ledgers.

Ditch your spreadsheets and use technology to your advantage with data analysis and logistics intelligence.

Don’t know where to start?

 

Let Sifted Score Your Ship

Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of these strategies and trends to enhance your shipping business? We don’t blame you. It’s hard to keep up with so much change so fast.

But Sifted is dedicated to making your life as a shipper easier and taking the guesswork out of enhancing your shipping operations. And our Sifted Score does just that.

Think of your credit score, a number based on multiple factors of your credit history and activities. We use the same concept for your shipping profile. Various key metrics score your overall shipping profile from your contract to operationals and everything in between. This in-depth analysis showcases the areas of your ship that could use some improvement as well as how to achieve it.

Ready to start shipping smarter? Check out what else we’re offering shippers.

Topics: Logistics Intelligence, Shipping Trends
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