Discover why a MCSS upgrade should be in your plans for next year and what to look for.
Are you getting your money’s worth? When it comes to supply chain technology, some executives are saying (shouting!) a resounding, “No!”. In fact, according to a 2023 Supply Chain Survey, 83% of executives say their supply chain technology investments haven’t fully delivered expected results. When we consider the fast-paced world of supply chain and logistics, we cannot overstate the significance of supply chain technology and its success.
For many in our audience, this is a familiar landscape – a terrain where efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction are vital. However, as you approach the new year and budget planning takes center stage, it's time to consider an essential question: Is your current multi-carrier shipping software living up to its full potential?
The Significance of Upgrading Your Multi-Carrier Shipping Software
Before diving into the finer details of choosing the right multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS), we should address the elephant in the room. Many of you are already well acquainted with multi-carrier shipping software and may already have a solution in place. The question isn't whether you should have it or not; it's whether your current solution is equipped to meet the evolving needs of the modern supply chain, including its challenges and complexity.
The supply chain and shipping industry is in a state of constant transformation. What was cutting-edge a few years ago might now be considered outdated – think of the pre-pandemic “just in time” warehousing practice that has now transitioned to a firm “just in case” because of the disruptions and uncertainty in the supply chain. Moreover, if your current MCSS has been in place for a while, it might be time to reevaluate its capabilities.
One of those initial evaluations might be to consider the potential limitations of older or outdated shipping software systems. They may lack the scalability and flexibility needed to accommodate your brand's growth, whether that be physically with more distribution locations, or volume-based with additional orders needing to be fulfilled. Their carrier integrations (and carrier library) might be outdated and not include prominent, regional/same-day up-and-comers, leading to cost concerns. They might not offer the automation capabilities (and technology partners) required to maintain a competitive advantage.
Upgrading to a more advanced multi-carrier shipping software solution can yield substantial benefits – from increased cost savings and improved operational efficiency to an enhanced customer experience (CX). In an environment where every second (and even every millisecond!) counts and customer expectations continue to rise, an upgrade can be a strategic investment that pays dividends.
As you plan your budget for the year ahead, don't consider just the cost of upgrading your shipping software. Think about the long-term advantages and the potential for significant ROI. Your choice of shipping software is not just a budgetary line item; it's a crucial component of your company's success in the years to come.
Key Factors in Choosing Multi-Carrier Shipping Software
Now that we have established the importance of considering an upgrade, let's dive into the key factors to keep in mind when evaluating multi-carrier shipping software. Choosing the right software is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. Your decision should align with your specific needs, pain points, and objectives. After all, this choice will not only impact your current shipping operations but also influence your ability to adapt and grow in the future.
Cost-effectiveness vs. ROI
While the initial cost of your shipping software is an important consideration, it's equally important to assess the total cost of ownership – including implementation, training, and ongoing maintenance. It’s key to look beyond the initial price tag and consider the long-term return on investment and how the software can help you achieve cost savings and operational efficiencies over time. For instance, a MCSS that streamlines order processing and minimizes shipping errors with a seamless connection to the Enterprise Software Stack can lead to substantial savings in shipping costs. When it comes to cost, remember: the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. Peek at this expert article on balancing the price vs. value of shipping software.
The past few years – whether the impact on your business was good or bad – have reminded us that the supply chain is not static; it evolves and grows. The same can be said for your MCSS; it should be able to scale with your business as it evolves and grows. A shipping solution that can barely accommodate your current shipping volumes will become a bottleneck when your brand expands. Ensure that the MCSS can seamlessly handle increased order volumes, additional fulfillment locations, and new or expanding market opportunities.
As mentioned above, your MCSS can’t work alone – it must seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack. Evaluate how well the shipping software can integrate with your Warehouse Management System (WMS), Order Management System (OMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, and other critical components of your supply chain technology. A smooth and seamless integration reduces data silos, enhances data accuracy, and streamlines operations.
The depth of the shipping software's carrier network can significantly impact your shipping flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Ensure that the MCSS offers a broad library of carrier and service options that match your shipping needs. A diverse carrier network enables you to choose the most cost-effective and efficient shipping options for each order.
Ease of use is a key determining factor of a shipping solution’s success within an organization. A user-friendly interface simplifies the learning curve and ensures that any member of your team, no matter their supply chain knowledge, can leverage the MCSS quickly. Consider shipping software that offers intuitive navigation, streamlined deployment, and seamless device configuration to minimize training and workstation burdens and maximize efficiency.
Customer Support and Training
Explore the level of customer support provided by the shipping software vendor, especially during the implementation phase and beyond. Responsive customer support ensures prompt resolution of issues and provides assistance to your team when needed. Comprehensive training resources, including documentation, help your team understand the features and capabilities of the MCSS.
Every company has unique shipping requirements and branding considerations. Look for an MCSS that allows you to customize shipping labels to align with your brand identity. Customizable labels enable you to maintain a consistent look and feel across all shipments, enhancing brand recognition and customer experience – without sacrificing compliance. Interested in learning more? Check out our recent blog – Custom Shipping Labels: Maximizing Branding While Minimizing Risk.
Security and Compliance
In the data-driven world of today, data security and compliance are essential. Ensure that the multi-carrier shipping software adheres to industry-standard security protocols and meets regulatory requirements (like SOC 2), especially if you handle sensitive customer information. Robust security measures and advanced certifications protect your data from breaches and cyber threats.
In addition, it’s crucial that your MCSS maintains compliance with carrier requirements. Failure to do so can result in costly and frustrating delays for your shipping operations. An advanced shipping solution brings both automation and accuracy, helping shippers maintain complete compliance and streamline shipping operations for maximum efficiency.
Actionable Steps for Next Year's Budget
As you prepare your supply chain budget for next year, remember that your choice of multi-carrier shipping software should not be just a budgetary decision, it should be a strategic investment in the efficiency, accuracy and CX that your shipping operation provides. Evaluate your current shipping solution against the considerations mentioned above, ensuring that your decision aligns with your current needs and plans for the future. By choosing the right shipping software, you will set the stage for a successful and cost-effective shipping strategy next year and beyond.
Here are some additional tools to use in order to backup your case for upgrading your shipping software within the next year:
We have two recommendations for additional tools (1 blog and 1 eBook) that will back your case for upgrading your shipping software within the next year:
Want to learn more about how ProShip multi-carrier shipping software can simplify your brand’s complex parcel shipping challenges? Talk with our shipping experts and schedule a demo to discover how the ProShip solution enables our customers to lower transportation spend, automate complex supply chain operations, and exceed customer shipping expectations.