Dive into the essential features that your parcel shipping software can’t live without.
Today’s savvy online shoppers are all about ease – after all, it’s easier than ever before to shop online with just a few clicks on your phone. Not only is e-commerce a crowd favorite, but it’s predicted that US e-commerce sales will increase from the current 23% of retail sales to 31% by 2026. While brick and mortar stores are not going anywhere, modern shoppers want an elevated Customer Experience (CX) when shopping online, and that includes delivery. While there are a variety of delivery options that can provide quick, low-cost shipping services, elite retailers, manufacturers, and third-party logistics (3PLs) providers also implement technology that can provide both a positive, seamless experience for the consumer, and maintain a cost and time-efficient supply chain operation.
One of the key technologies in the software stack of top enterprise shippers is multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS). This shipping solution allows access to a variety of shipping carriers by integrating directly with your Order Management System (OMS), Warehouse Management System (WMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), E-commerce Suite, and Automated Processes (such as printer applicators, batch processes, etc.) to deliver on shipment execution needs while reducing costs in the supply chain. Advanced parcel shipping solutions will include the write-back of resultant data so that you can maintain the highest level of control over your operations.
Make sure your parcel shipping software has these 4 features
To help highlight leaders in the shipping software space, we’ve rounded up some of the top features to look for in these parcel shipping solutions.
Shipping Software Feature #1 - Rate Shopping Functionality
Keeping delivery promises is the foundation for executing a positive and memorable CX, which will turn shoppers into loyal long-time buyers. While it may seem difficult to calculate factors that can prevent deliveries from making it to their destinations on time (think UPS not shipping to a PO box, Next Day Air Early AM, etc.), most often they are simply not factored into the multi-carrier shipping solution. A shipping software that includes rate shopping saves both time and money for the customer, and the shipper. The easiest way to ensure you fulfill delivery promises is to use rate shopping functionality to choose a carrier and service from a list or rate shop group that fits within your required variables such as cost and applicable service selections.
ProShip's expert solution for carrier rate shopping:
ProShip owns the most advanced rate shopping functionality on the market, allowing shippers to choose the most effective and time efficient method of transit to get each package onto the truck and out to customers fast.
Shipping Software Feature #2 - Automated Business Rules
Think of business rules like the levers that control your options for automating delivery. While there are 2 types of business rules (algorithmic and prescriptive), collectively, business rules are necessary because of the ever-evolving shipping environment. They help support not only operational decisions but monitor the efficiency of the supply chain functions. As capacity ebbs and flows and innovative fulfillment processes evolve in complexity, brands need to design and set up business rules to be configurable and easy to change by the business as their needs advance. This will require a mix of conditional, functional prescriptive business rules and configurable, fixed algorithmic business rules. [Read more about Business Rules in Complex Business Rules: A House Built for Success]
ProShip's expert solution for automated business rules:
The expert solution: One added benefit that gives ProShip the competitive edge is transactional speed. A proven correlation exists between the number of business rules and the transaction time of the shipping software system. The implementation team at ProShip put great effort into minimizing business rule transaction time using advanced strategies, including running as many rules upstream as possible.
Shipping Software Feature #3 - Advanced Date Shopping
It hasn’t quite been long enough for shippers to forget the shipping pandemonium during the pandemic. Shippers who had access to Advanced Date Shopping, had another tool at their disposal to counteract this mayhem and efficiently manage excess shipping volumes. Advanced Date Shopping is a functional module that extends beyond just shipping cost to include planning for delivery by a target date. The advanced algorithm includes multiple data sets (e.g. the customer’s day/hour of choice, label creation time, trailer pull time, carrier contracted days, etc.) to maximize cost and time while continuing to meet the promised delivery date.
ProShip's expert solution: ProShip Advanced Date Shopping (ADS)
ProShip’s patent-pending Advanced Date Shopping Feature includes planning for delivery by a target date. This algorithm includes 9 data sets to ensure your shipment will be delivered by the promised date and have a positive CX. [See all 9 data sets and learn more in Carrier Rate Shopping Explained]
Shipping Software Feature #4 - Omnichannel, E-Commerce, and Direct-to-Consumer Strategies
Another gap the pandemic exposed was those who weren’t prepared to pivot to omnichannel fulfillment strategies. Shippers who utilized one interface (often a WMS integrated to multi-carrier shipping software and other ancillary systems) found success in times of stress and could meet the growing demand. Others didn’t implement such tactics and suffered for it. In addition, when combining a multi-carrier system and a seamlessly integrated OMS, shippers can easily find the best delivery method at the lowest cost and print a compliant carrier label from any location. Multi-carrier shipping software also complements an OMS by providing customers with inventory visibility – no matter the inventory source (DC, 3PL, Store, Manufacturer) – and the shipment information and delivery options they want.
ProShip's expert solution:
ProShip uses advanced shipping logic to reduce transit times and curb transportation spend, utilizing the best source for inventory fulfillment to meet customer needs and offer a seamless shopping experience. This applies to not only retailers, but 3PLs gain a competitive edge during the RFP process when armed with the knowledge and technology tools to accelerate the e-commerce initiatives of retail and manufacturing customers. And for manufacturers, with the added complexity that comes from direct-to-consumer selling, ProShip maintains compliance while enhancing the CX by providing them with multiple shipping options to choose from.
Other Notable Shipping Software Features
While your unique business might not have every shipping complexity, several other common shipping complications affect enterprise brands. Many shippers are looking for a parcel shipping solution that can help manage their dangerous good shipping program, LTL operations, and help expand their shipping carrier library.
Hazardous material shipments are some of the most complex, expensive, and heavily regulated packages to ship. Since they are dangerous in nature, to both the environment and those handling the package, many rules and regulations exist to properly execute shipments. Companies that ship these packages face a major risk for non-compliance, including stopped shipments, supply chain delays, fines and more. [Learn more about how much can an improper hazmat shipment can really cost.]
ProShip's expert solution for hazmat/dangerous goods shipments:
ProShip’s shipping solution has the strength and reliability to manage advanced functionalities, like the Integrated Labelmaster Add-On. ProShip validates the shipment data against internal business rules that are compliantly managed and revised with updates. Backed by ProShip’s robust, in-house carrier engines, this compliance process is expedited to just seconds for each shipment.
Less than Truckload (LTL)
As shipment needs evolve, shipper strategies must evolve with them to stay innovative. Advanced shippers are now utilizing intentional mode flexibility, facilitated by their technology, to mix shipment modes and leverage a variety of regional, LTL, and last mile carriers.
ProShip's expert solution for LTL shipments:
ProShip recently introduced the LTL Config App to support customers with their need to manage their LTL carrier services from a simple browser-based app without the help of IT resources or numerous hours of ProShip Professional Services work.
The pandemic helped shippers realize the importance of a diversified carrier mix – capacity from carriers could disappear with just a phone call. Although capacity may no longer be constrained this peak season, with the uncertainty shippers are still facing, the flexibility to utilize these carriers is still necessary. As mature shippers take the next step in their carrier strategy, they will rationalize which carriers are needed in their mix based on an audit of their portfolio. This carrier rationalization strategy utilizes carrier selections based on your needs when you aren’t in a time of scarcity and stress and allows shippers to tailor their carrier portfolio based on what their unique customer base is requesting whether that is faster shipments, more visibility, different transit times or delivery windows, etc.
ProShip's expert solution for diversifying your carrier portfolio:
With ProShip’s multi-carrier shipping solution, most carrier onboarding takes days or, in extreme cases, a month. Adding new carriers won’t affect the complexity of your supply chain if you are utilizing a flexible and advanced multi-carrier shipping software. Once an agreement is in place with a carrier, the ProShip solution takes the work out of onboarding. Reviewing business rules and ensuring you have the physical capacity to transfer the custody of the package, whether that is a new door or a staging location, should be the most complex steps in a warehouse or store during the addition of a new carrier. [Explore Carrier Diversification Myths.]
Discover how ProShip can transform your parcel shipping strategy today
With all this in mind, it isn’t hard to differentiate the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to multi-carrier shipping software. Schedule a demo with one of our shipping experts today to see how ProShip multi-carrier shipping software can unlock parcel revenue potential and provide an enriched customer delivery experience.