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The Essential Checklist for a Successful Shipping Software Integration

Discover the right steps for planning your shipping software integration

Are Disconnected Shipping Systems Slowing You Down?

Disjointed software systems can create a bottleneck in your shipping department. Information gets siloed, slowing down order processing. Comparing rates across carriers is a tedious, manual task, and order fulfillment delays can damage your customer experience (CX).

While software like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, order processing (OMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS) can manage various aspects of your supply chain, they often lack the specialized features required for efficient parcel shipping. This is especially true for your multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS), your source of truth for shipment execution.

Connecting your MCSS to your other key business applications, like OMS or WMS, can revolutionize your shipping operations. This integration allows for a smooth flow of information, saving you valuable time and money. Additionally, you'll gain real-time visibility into your shipments, keeping your customers happy and informed.

The idea of combining all these programs might seem daunting, but ProShip has provided an easier way. This guide provides a step-by-step plan with valuable insights specifically for connecting your shipping software solutions.

Before connecting your MCSS, it's crucial to define your goals. Are you aiming to boost efficiency by streamlining order processing? Perhaps you want to reduce shipping costs by easily comparing rates across different carriers? Maybe your top priority is to improve customer service by eliminating order delays caused by disconnected systems or software updates? [Why Versionless Shipping Software is Key]

Having clear objectives will serve as your roadmap throughout the entire integration process. By identifying your specific goals, you can tailor your approach to achieve the most impactful results for your business.

Here are some additional questions to consider during the planning phase:

1. Which business applications will be connected to your MCSS (e.g., order management system, warehouse management system, enterprise resource planning tools, automated processes like printer applicators)?

2. What are your budgetary constraints for the total project (software, implementation, external resources)?

3. How will utilizing multiple carriers through your MCSS benefit your business (e.g., access to wider coverage areas, lower shipping costs, quicker delivery speeds)?

4. How do you aim to save time by automating tasks and streamlining workflows through a connected MCSS solution?

5. As your business grows, how will a scalable MCSS solution accommodate your increasing shipping volume and evolving needs?

6. Can an MCSS connection provide a competitive advantage by enabling faster deliveries, improved customer satisfaction, and cost optimization?

7. How would ancillary departments be affected by MCSS implementation (higher cart conversion rates for the e-commerce team, decreased dependency on IT teams)?

Pro Tip: By taking the time to plan effectively, you'll set yourself up for success with a shipping solution that delivers measurable benefits, including an enhanced CX through a seamless and reliable shipping process.

A successful multi-carrier shipping software integration requires a well-coordinated team effort. Here's who you'll want on board:

Shipping & Supply Chain Teams:
These are the people who handle the day-to-day operations of your shipping department. Their input is crucial for understanding current workflow challenges and ensuring the new connection integrates seamlessly with their existing processes.

IT Team: They'll be responsible for the technical aspects of the connection, including ensuring compatibility between your shipping software and other business applications. This includes collaborating with representatives from your order management system (OMS), warehouse management system (WMS), automation solutions, or any other software that will be linked to your MCSS. Their insights will be valuable for mapping data flow and ensuring a smooth exchange of information between all connected systems.

Consultant or Project Manager: Many companies underestimate the complexity of implementing new technology and its impact on the business. A consultant or project manager, either internal or external, can play a key role in ensuring the project stays on track, manages resources effectively, and minimizes disruption to your ongoing operations. They will also be responsible for fostering clear communication between all team members and addressing any concerns throughout the connection process.

Pro Tip: Throughout the connection process, fostering clear communication between all team members is essential. Regular meetings to discuss progress, address concerns, and ensure everyone is on the same page will contribute to a successful outcome.

Finding the right vendor is critical for a successful multi-carrier shipping software connection. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating potential partners:

Experience: Look for a vendor with a proven track record in connecting shipping software to various business applications. Ideally, they should have a history of successful projects in your industry, whether that is retail, manufacturing, third-party logistics, healthcare, or something different. They need experience working with the specific supply chain software programs you utilize (e.g., order management system, warehouse management system). Check out their case studies and partner pages to see evidence of similar integration projects.

Compatibility: Ensure the vendor offers solutions that are compatible with your existing enterprise software stack and any other applications you plan to connect. Compatibility issues can lead to significant delays and complications during the connection process. Research the vendor’s compatibility information or request confirmation for your specific supply chain software versions.

Expertise: The ideal vendor will possess a deep understanding of MCSS functionalities and the intricacies of mapping data between different tech stack software systems. This expertise is essential for ensuring a smooth and efficient integration. Look for vendors who showcase their experience with data mapping challenges, solutions, or even references.

Customer Support: Strong customer support is crucial throughout the connection process and beyond. Look for a vendor who offers readily available support resources, such as online documentation, a ticketing system, chat and more. A dedicated, internal customer support team with knowledgeable representatives to assist you with any questions or troubleshooting needs is equally important.

Pro Tip: Don't hesitate to ask vendors for references or case studies showcasing their successful multi-carrier shipping connection projects. This will give you valuable insights into their experience and approach.

For a successful connection between your multi-carrier shipping software and other business enterprise software stack applications, smooth information flow is essential. This is where data mapping comes in – it's the process of ensuring all your supply chain software programs speak the same language.

Here's a breakdown of the key steps in data mapping for MCSS connections:

Identify the Data: Start by making a list of all the relevant data fields in your shipping software, OMS, WMS, ERP or any other software you're connecting to. This might include things like product SKUs, customer addresses, order weights, and dimension information.

Match the Fields: Once you have your lists, find the corresponding data fields in each program.

Define the Translation: In some cases, data fields might have slightly different names or formats between programs. Here, you'll need to define clear translation rules to ensure accurate data transfer.

Pro Tip: When selecting a vendor for your multi-carrier shipping software integration, consider their data mapping expertise. Look for vendors who offer pre-built connectors for leading supply chain tech solutions, which can save you significant time and effort during the connection process.

Once the mapping is complete, thorough testing is crucial. Run some sample scenarios to see if the data flows smoothly between programs and translates correctly. This helps identify any potential issues before you launch the full connection and experience delays or errors.

Here are some key areas to focus on during testing:

Data Mapping Accuracy: Verify that data is translated correctly between your MCSS and other connected programs. This includes checking things like product information, customer addresses, and shipping costs.

Functionality Testing: Test core functionalities like rate calculations, shipping label generation, and manifesting to ensure they work seamlessly within the connected environment.

Performance Testing: Evaluate how the connection affects overall system performance. Look for any slowdowns or bottlenecks that might impact order processing times. Don't forget to test for high-volume scenarios like the upcoming peak season.

Once testing is complete and any identified issues are resolved, the next step is deployment. This involves migrating the connection from a testing environment to your live production environment. A well-planned deployment strategy minimizes downtime and ensures a smooth transition for all.

Pro Tip: Consider conducting a phased deployment, rolling out the connection to a limited group first before making it available to everyone, e.g. three distribution centers rather than all five. This allows you to identify and address any unforeseen issues with minimal disruption to your overall operations.

Running a successful online business hinges on efficient shipping. Disconnected supply chain software systems can create bottlenecks, slow down workflows, and lead to a poor customer experience. That's why ProShip focuses on helping businesses achieve seamless multi-carrier shipping software connections – as the last shipping software you'll ever need.

Here's how ProShip can be your trusted partner throughout the journey:

Expert Guidance: We’ve been doing parcel shipping software implementations for over 20 years! Our team of specialists possesses in-depth knowledge of shipping software functionalities and the intricacies that go along with it. We'll guide you through the connection process, ensuring a smooth and efficient outcome.

Comprehensive Solutions: ProShip offers a wide range of solutions designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing software stack. Whether you're a high-volume shipper processing millions of packages weekly or a growing small to mid-sized business, ProShip's solutions can adapt and scale with you. Our unwavering focus on parcel shipping allows us to provide automation and optimization specifically tailored to your needs. ProShip's strong partnerships with leading order management systems, warehouse management systems, and other business applications empower us to connect these vital tech stack pieces to your MCSS.

Unwavering Support: We understand that questions and challenges may arise throughout the connection process and beyond. That's why ProShip provides detailed online documentation, exceptional customer support, and a dedicated team to assist you every step of the way.

By leveraging ProShip's expertise and proven solutions, you can achieve a seamless integration that optimizes your shipping processes, reduces costs, and empowers you to provide an exceptional customer experience. Contact ProShip today to learn more about how we can help you navigate your shipping software journey and unlock a world of greater efficiency and growth for your business. Want to learn more? Watch a Deep Dive into Shipping Software Selection.